Science & Medicine

Chris Gunn: Come into the garden, Maud

Come into the garden, Maud


I awoke this morning  to the terrible news. Chris Gunn has died.

Her death,   so sudden, her life interrupted, all so permanent and fleeting, conveyed via Internet post, leaves us unprepared to mourn, ambushed by the deep silence, the broken connection in our community.

Silence was not a natural part of Chris Gunn’s world. I spent the past few hours re-reading her long and passionate emails, feeling again her incisive, deep intelligence and wild sense of humor, her love of language, her compassion.

We have no photos. Just one of her Facebook avatars, And a clan motto, Nunquam obliviscar. (I will never forget.)

For those who would like to leave a tribute or remembrance, more permanent than a Facebok page. This is a memorial page in her honor. Please do use the COMMENTS section if you Like.

I could not post here her stories of the medical traumas that so dominated these past months – both hers and Michaels – but there is a lovely email she titled “Come into the Garden, Maud” in which, despite her own severe and painful issues, she encourages me to garden. For a brief visit with our friend, Chris, it is worth reading,

Rest in peace, sweet Chris.

Apr 14, 2019, 6:46 AM

Dear Zhen:

Much like yourself, the struggle to put in and maintain a traditional garden became overwhelming. So, I’ve switched to container gardening and with some sadness, covered over half of the vegetable garden with 1000 patio bricks that I’d won.

We built a fine brick wall for seating; a scattering of geranium pots. The old kitchen garden is now our secret garden. A lush and hidden oasis of tranquility.

As for the tomato challenge ! Michael drilled drainage holes in a large (3′ x 2′ x 16″) oval, galvanized water /feed trough, anchored it to a sheet of treated wood, rounded the corners on the wood and attached 4″ rolling, locking wheels. Wheelie container garden !

In the photo are Husky Cherry Reds, good croppers, which do well container grown. Too, I can pick and freeze them whole for later use, having also cut back on canning.

I found the heirloom toms did not do well in containers.  Drat !

I LOVE tomatoes to excess; they and a few herbs grown in an old fountain, are the extent of my gardening joys, these days.

A little posy of fresh herbs, can be a heady joy of delight ! More than any other hothouse rose or orchid ever could.

Gone are my days of planning and planting a large garden. I most miss the sweet onions, yellow beans, zucchini, carrots and new potatoes.

I miss getting down in the dirt ! I miss the blooms of peas and sweet peas on a trellis and the buzz of bees amongst the blooms.

I have grown spuds in grow bags, successfully, but this year, it seems wiser to forego them.

Adapt, adopt, improve with what physically, we’re currently more able to do …

Maybe you too might keep your hand in  by attempting a few simple container-grown tomato plants ? The mobile planter, means an easy move at the slightest hint of a flash frost. I can wheel them to the covered patio; if necessary, snuggle them over with blankets for additional  protection.

To grow or not to grow, may you simply grow yourself to a continuing wealth of rude, good health, Zhen !


(And these lines from Tennyson, for the title of Chris’ email: )
COME into the garden, Maud,
For the black bat, night, has flown,
Come into the garden, Maud,
I am here at the gate alone;

And the woodbine spices are wafted abroad,
And the musk of the rose is blown.
For a breeze of morning moves,
And the planet of Love is on high,

Beginning to faint in the light that she loves
On a bed of daffodil sky,<
To faint in the light of the sun she loves,
To faint in his light, and to die.


Comments on: "Chris Gunn: Come into the garden, Maud" (3)

  1. Alan Hellen said:

    Loved all over the world wherever she was and has been. Wonderful inspirational xx

  2. Jeanette Calatino Murphy said:

    Rest in heavenly peace.

  3. We will miss you so very much Chris. You have left us all with heavy hearts which we will have for a long while. We have your posts to read and remember you by, and your emails nevertheless, I so wish I had lived closer to you and met you in person Chris…you struck me as very feisty, extremely eloquent and so very very funny… Rest in peace my dear, dear friend across the pond…you will be missed…

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