February 13, 2012

Every Story Has a Story

Just nine days ago, on February 4, I was sitting in an auditorium listening to Tony Avent talk to us (the Connecticut Hort Society) about planting in drifts of one. He was as funny and irreverent as his Plant Delights catalog is, but his garden design examples and advice were sophisticated and professional.  He's not just a comic speaker, he is a well grounded plantsman with an eye for designing with form and texture.

To start, he shared photos from his first gardens when he was a newly wed, newly minted horticulture graduate, clueless about garden design at that time. 

We, the audience, did not know his wife was terminally ill as he told us amusing stories about creating those first gardens in his first tiny home in the city.  We did not know.

There is a story behind every story.

A week after his talk with us, his wife and partner of many years died.  You can read the moving obituary here.


  1. So very sad. How brave of him to keep his obligations at such a difficult time. I have always loved reading the Plant Delights catalogue, and would have loved to hear Tony speak. He seems like such a witty person.

  2. Oh how sad. I have read a lot about him. He is very brave to be carrying on at such a time.

  3. I saw the obit in the newsletter. Horrible... My parents died in their 50's from cancer. Such a wicked disease. I wish him strength.

  4. Oh how terrible. I had no idea she was ill. We visit the nursery on some of their open house days as it's only a half an hour from us.

  5. My mami loves flowers, of course after Daddy and me
    I'm a Pussycat that was adopted and was lucky to have a mother who gives me lots of love and that gave me name Kika
    How I love having friends come invites you to be my friend, there you will find other friends who already know, they are also my friends.
    I loved your blog
    I would like to have on my draw and as friends or (the)
    I am waiting for your photos and visits
    Turrinhas miaumiau fond

    Kika ♥ ♥ ♥

  6. So sad; breast cancer has claimed far too many women in their prime. What a wonderful tribute Tony wrote, though; he must have been such an impressive speaker as well.

    I've been planting in "drifts of one" for years.

  7. Laurrie, I never got to meet his wife, but Michelle was a well-loved person in the garden community and her passing has been sadly noted wherever gardeners gather in Raleigh. I've seen Tony speak a few times - he's a force of nature for sure. Looking forward to the PDN open house at the end of the month.

  8. I saw him (and Alan Armitage) speak this Sat. We expected a substitute for Tony but maybe to keep on the treadmill helps him cope. Something so irritating were all the phones going off while he spoke. What concentration those men had. Such rudeness-wouldn't you think after the first one sounded that other people would turn theirs off?


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