Monday, July 21, 2014

Charley's Garden

This summer Matt and I planted our first ever vegetable garden. A very limited amount of planning went into our little plot…yet for some reason I still had grand visions of a bountiful harvest and opening our own roadside produce stand. The reality? My largest radish was the size of my thumb nail. Our green peppers are the exact same size that they were when we planted them 2 months ago. Our carrots are pencil thin (if that) and have only the faintest tint of orange. The lettuce was laughable. The strawberries have be snacked on by what I’m guessing are birds. The peas and beans have looked promising…but only at a volume suitable for snacking.  One might look at our harvest thus far and assume that Matt and I have 4 pretty “black thumbs” – but the truth is, our true gardening pride and joy won’t ever produce vegetables.  Instead of carrots, beans and peppers, our garden is filled with bright, beautiful flowers - each one known to be irresistible to butterflies, each one planted with insane amounts of love into a place that we like to call Charley's Garden.
We got the idea for Charley's Garden just shortly after we had to say good-bye to our little girl, but we put our plans on hold knowing that there was an imminent move in our future.  Two years, 2 states and 2 rentals later, we finally had a home again in 2013 and were finally able to start laying the ground work for this very special space.  With the much anticipated arrival of spring, our first spring in our new home, we set ourselves to work.  We fertilized.  We mulched.  We even sprinkled the area with the sand from our oceanfront wedding ceremony...sand used to illustrate our separate lives, friends, and family becoming one. 

After lots of preparation, it was time to plant.

Sigh....those first few plants were emotional.  
A few weeks after those first plants went into the ground, Matt and I went on a plant shopping spree.  In addition to our purchased plants, we also asked each of Charlotte's grandparents (and great grandparents) to divide a plant from their homes to add to our happy little space.   We invited them all out to the farm one spring afternoon for some planting, dinner, and most importantly, to celebrate the inspiration behind our new garden.  Aside from the gail-force winds, it was a perfect afternoon.
Our kiddos are the luckiest kiddos ever.
When it was all said and done, we stood back, admired our new memorial, and smiled.  Charley's Garden, once just a vision, was now full of new, green life.  
It's only appropriate that our little path leads to two beautiful bleeding hearts.
Charley's Garden is a happy space filled with gorgeous blooms, bright colors, and hopefully with time, lots of butterflies.  It is a space for us to reflect.  A space to remember.  A space for us to tend to and to watch grow into something beautiful beyond our wildest imaginations - much like we had hoped to do with our sweet Charlotte.  There is so much beauty in this little garden.

Your lives will begin to glow in the darkness, your shadowed lives will be filled with sunlight. I will always show you where to go. I will give you a full life in the emptiest of places – firm muscles, strong bones. You will be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You will use the old rubble of past lives to build a new, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. ~Isaiah 58:12


  1. Aww Kristen it turned out beatiful! I so love what you have done with Charley's Garden. I so hope that you will post photosd next summer when everything will be fuller and in full bloom. {{{{{HUG}}}}

  2. A beautiful place.. where love<3 will always grow....

  3. Hello! I can't believe I just barely found your blog--you had commented on Cheri's post from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar over a year ago and I just read it! You were sending love to my family as my little one underwent open heart surgery for TOF. Your garden is so beautiful. Charley was such a beautiful baby. Thank you for sharing her story. Many heart hugs to you momma!