Penny’s a Nurture And Hold (NAH): Nah, I won’t pull that out yet, it’s still got a green shoot. She likes dragonflies, lady bugs and new stuff only after weeding, pruning and fertilizing.
Kim’s a Want It Now (WIN): Everything pretty, everything now. She will resort to full-spectrum insecticides in desperate situations, and believes it’s her duty and right to buy new plants every weekend.
Both advocate Plant Choice (SOMEthing besides crotons. Please!), lots of color and low maintenance. We don’t agree on everything, but we’re smart enough to learn from each other - and from you.
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In the worst of times, flowers help—remembering Officers Curtis and Kocab
Posted Jul 8, 2010 by Loren Omoto
Updated Jul 8, 2010 at 12:25 PM
My grandmother, who died several years ago, grew many flowers but not blue butterfly clerodendrum. Still, I love this shrub because its blooms make me think of her. They look like little butterflies – sweet! And in the pale blue and dark blue petals, I see her eyes.
A year ago, when I was trying to figure out how to start a rabbit’s foot fern, I learned my old friend’s mom grew them. I visited Penny Titus in Lutz to discover her secret, and she showed me her original rabbit’s foot – a gift from a friend more than 30 years ago, when Penny’s 12-year-old son died. The friend gave it to her because Evan loved to play with the family’s rabbits.
Plants are the best way I know of to keep a person’s memory alive. They’re living and breathing. We can give them the attention we would have given the person we mourn. We feed them, admire them, maybe even talk to them. And they give back in all the ways plants are good for the planet – from absorbing carbon dioxide to providing nectar and food for wildlife.
They are the perfect memorial.
FOD Pumpkin (Janice Vogt) knows this well. At Positive Park, the garden she helped reclaim at Hillsborough High School in Tampa, the Big Red rose bed is dedicated to her best friend, Deanne Fernandez Ray, who passed away this year.
A thriving young redbud tree grows in memory of Marion Woodard Veach, who also passed away this year. It was donated by her daughter.
And now, two little rose bushes memorialize Tampa police officers Dave Curtis and Jeff Kocab. You can see one of them in the photo above, to the left of the arbor.
That’s Dave on the left, Jeff on the right.
After these two young men were gunned down during a traffic stop June 29, so many of us felt a grief we never expected. Incredible sadness for two good people who went off to work and never came home. Pain for the wives, children, mothers and fathers they never came home to. A realization that these two, and the many others who choose to protect us, do so by putting their lives in danger every time they head out on a call.
It’s not something most of us think about too often. We do now.
On Tuesday, Pumpkin put her antsy, angsty, upsetness over this tragedy to action. She planted a memorial.
She chose roses called Veterans Honor – “I think of them as police veterans,” she said. Next to each bush, she placed a solar lamp, an “eternal flame.” And there will be plaques installed, donated by the school’s alumni association.
The photo on top of this post is one of the Veterans Honor buds. The solar lamp is behind it.
Tampa police Officer Jason DeGagne came for the planting. He was a friend of the two officers and served on the honor guard unit that buried them. He was, very obviously, moved by this small tribute.
Here he is with Pumpkin.
“This means more than you know,” he said, several times.
“Send me a picture when you have the plaques,” he told Pumpkin. “I’ll send it to their wives. It’ll mean a lot to them.”