In 2010, I had the misfortune of falling prey to Meningococcal Meningitis with Septicaemia (read HERE if you want that long story!). I was exceedingly ill, almost fatally so, and was lucky to survive. Very lucky. Most are not that fortunate and many people who do survive are left with life-long health issues, including brain damage, the loss of limbs or digits, vision impairment or total loss of sight, loss of hearing etc.
In 1997, Amanda Young died from this terrible illness, at the age of eighteen. Her parents, Barry and Lorraine Young, were given roses as gifts of remembrance from Amanda’s classmates and friends. From these roses, a beautiful garden bloomed and the Youngs decided to open their property each year to the public, to raise funds for research into meningococcal.
Mum and I visited the garden this weekend. I hadn’t been before but Mum goes every year – she feels that she should (in fact she went twice this weekend, mostly so she could come back and buy more plants!). I too should go regularly, being one of the lucky ones, so I am going to try and do so from now on. There is only a small entry fee and then you can look through the gorgeous garden, buy plants, enjoy a Devonshire tea and just spend a few peaceful moments in this lovely setting.
Every inch of space is lush and blooming, with roses, bulbs, cottage plants and annuals of every size and colour. The weather on this day wasn’t fabulous – we narrowly missed getting rained on – but it didn’t matter. The place was packed with people but it was such a tranquil setting, you barely heard any noise.
Mum and I made a beeline for the plants-for-sale section of the garden. Pots and pots of all different kinds of plants were laid out for us to peruse. We both bought a few specimens (and Mum had already bought a boxful the day before!) and were very happy with our purchases. It’s not often you can buy an orchid for $4 and roses for $10 🙂
Some of the roses on display were just exquisite. The colours were stunning and such variety! You could smell their fragrance a mile away – not overpowering, just beautiful. The “Amanda” Rose is the most gorgeous deep yellow. So pretty. I love yellow roses – they’ve always been my favourite.
The garden also featured dense, pond-like areas with water lillies and irises in many fabulous colours. I could hear the chorusing of lots of happy little froggies 🙂
The entire property was like a little oasis. I loved the more overgrown areas – it was like a proper Secret Garden. Just needed a few fawns or some robins, maybe a frolicking lamb or two 🙂
I really liked this idea : using old garden solar lights for planting succulents! How good do these Haworthias look?
If nothing else, it was nice to spend some quality time with my Mum. Time we might not have had if I had not been so lucky in 2010. I think about it every day. I’m sure Mum does too. Giving a few dollars to the Amanda Young Foundation is the least we can do. And if it means we get to add to our growing collection of plants in our own homes, well, that’s just a bonus! Neither of us needs an excuse, really.
“Amanda’s Garden” is open to the public in October each year. It is well worth a visit. Lorraine and Barry have put their heart and soul into the property, turning their grief and loss into something worthwhile. And while it will not bring their daughter back to them, it may help to prevent any future deaths from this awful illness. To learn more about the Amanda Young Foundation, the garden and other facts about Meningitis, you can visit their website HERE.