In a Vase on Monday, for Dorris

I was responding to comments on IAVOM last Monday when an email popped into my inbox, alerting me to a new post on Dig With Dorris; entitled ‘In Memory of Rebecca Barker’, fear gripped my heart, as without reading further I knew what this meant. Sadly, blogging friend Rebecca, known to us as Dorris, had passed away at home before Christmas.

I have known Dorris through our blogs since early 2014 shortly, I think, after she began blogging, and have not only exchanged many comments and ripostes since then, but personal emails too, and was fortunate to meet her twice, once at halfway meeting point Broughton Grange Gardens to pass on plant material, but also at her own home when we supported her in opening her garden for the NGS. The friendship may have developed through our blogs and a shared love of plants and gardening, but I like to think it was as genuine a friendship as any developed wholly in person, and her death has left a Dorris-shaped void that is hard to take in.

Like all garden bloggers she was generous in sharing comments, knowledge and plant material, but was humble about her own achievements, the depth and extent of her experience only coming to light in her family’s own tribute. Such sad news, and I am grateful to her family for informing us of her death; they knew just how much the blog meant to her and it was a thoughtful gesture to inform us of her passing.

I know there will be many in our community who feel the same way, and it seemed wrong not to mark the occasion and present a small tribute to Dorris, recognising the shock and loss that we share. Dorris often contributed to IAVOM herself, and ideally this tribute would have been a vase crammed with the brightest of dahlias or the very best of summer annuals, reflecting her love of plants. However, it is mid-January and we have instead the simplest of vases: three white hellebore blooms (Harvington Double White) floating in a Caithness Glass bonbon dish, accompanied by a candle to remind us that our memories will still burn brightly, and a sprig of rosemary, also for remembrance. Farewell, dear Dorris.

If you are able to find material from your garden or foraged nearby to pop in a vase or jamjar and would like to share it with us, as a tribute of your own or ‘just because’, then please leave the usual links.

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26 Responses to In a Vase on Monday, for Dorris

  1. Joanne says:

    How sad … I’m sure Dorris would appreciate the beautiful hellebores.

  2. pbmgarden says:

    This is much-needed, Cathy. I so much appreciate your warm tribute to Rebecca. Hellebores, candles and of course, rosemary. When I read the news last week I was shocked and saddened by the loss. Early fall I planted some penstemon she recommended and was looking forward to sharing with her images of them in flower this spring. They now will be a nice reminder of our gardening friend from DigWithDorris.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks, Susie. From the comments left after that post I knew that others had heard the news too, but I felt it was important to share our grief by recognising it on our own blogs and this post seemed the right sort of place to do so. There will be so many memories, both shared and individual, and her death perhaps brings home just how much we value those in our blogging community, how much they have become part of our lives.

  3. Pingback: In a Vase on Monday: Flowers for Dorris | Words and Herbs

  4. Cathy says:

    Thank you for such a lovely tribute to our dear blogging friend Cathy. I was also shocked by the news last week and wanted to post a vase for her today, but we had fresh snow overnight and even my hellebores are frozen. So when you mentioned dahlias and summer annuals I decided to re-use an old vase from June with some of her favourites in it. xx

    • Cathy says:

      The unexpectedness makes it all the harder, I think – but much more so for her family, of course. What a good idea to post an old vase in her memory – I can guess some of the things you might include!

  5. Noelle M says:

    This is a thoughtful tribute to Rebecca, with some beautiful early blooms. Here is my contribution this week:

  6. As you say Cathy, sharing in the shock and the loss. I met Rebecca once at Chelsea and we talked of meeting again. She leaves a whole garden-shaped hole in blogland – her wit and knowledge brightened up our communications and plant and seed swaps. ❤
    What a lovely tribute.

    • Cathy says:

      Not having knowingly lost any of our community before now, her loss is hard to comprehend and so unexpected. I am so pleased to have met her, as I know you will be too

  7. bcparkison says:

    Beautifully said. Thank you.

  8. Kris P says:

    I discovered the notice of Dorris/Rebecca’s passing on her Instagram page last week and was greatly saddened. Yours is a wonderful and welcome tribute, as were those posted by her family. Here’s my IAVOM post:

  9. Eliza Waters says:

    A lovely tribute, Cathy. She was a wonderful gardener and dear blogging buddy, who was humble and often saw the humor in things. She will be missed.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes indeed she was, Eliza, and ‘humble’ is a much better word to use than ‘modest’, so I shall go back and amend the original post

  10. Anna says:

    Oh Cathy – I am so sorry to read your post ((())) Blogging friendships are to be cherished and sustained just as much as the friendships we make through direct face to face contact with people. You have paid a beautiful tribute to your friend. I think that I visited ‘Dig With Dorris’ a couple of times or so but now wish that I had made the effort to become a regular visitor and had got to know the person behind the blog. She sounds very special.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, it has been a sad week, Anna, with a shadow overhanging it, particularly as I walk around the garden observing signs of new life. And you are so right about blogging friendships , whether maintained purely through blogging or furthered beyond them. There are so many blogs worth following though, and we have to be realistic but I don’t suppose anyone would think any the worse of us for not following them.

  11. Annette says:

    Oh no, Cathy, this is horrible! I’m so shocked, don’t know what to say. I’ve been exchanging messages with her via our blogs and IG and have always appreciated her thoughtfulness and humour. How nice that you’ve known her personally and I’m sure she’d have appreciated your lovely tribute.

  12. Cathy I am so sorry for the loss of your dear friend Dorris, May She Rest In Peace. Your tribute is the best you could do to her: the three wonderful white helms floating in water, the burning candle that will never extinguish the memory of her and the rosemary branch. Cathy reminds Dorris of the good times you spent with her. And now give yourself time to absorb it. I visited Dorris’s blog “Dig Wiht Dorris” several times to see hers, wonderful bouquets of her flowers, so happy and divine of hers, but now I regret not having left comments and not having followed her more. Cathy you have my email for whatever you want, I support you in everything. Take good care of the golfer and you. Hugs. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful words, Margarita, it is good to talk through our sadnesses

      • Cathy you don’t have to thank me, you’ve always been by my side since my dear Father passed away supporting me, that’s what friends are for. And yes, the only way to alleviate our sadness is to talk about them and not save them. You already know that you have my email for whatever you want. Cheers up and take good care of yourself. A hug. Very affectionate greetings from Margarita.

  13. janicce says:

    Gostei do tributo.

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