Over the last three weeks, I worked on building a small garden on the west side of the Rose Haven Center of Healing straddling the boundary we share with the Randolph Funeral Home. With Board member Greg Smith’s help in planning and assistance, the garden is now completed. This garden has special significance for Pamlico Rose and for the good folks at the funeral home.
Early in the development of the landscaping plan in 2018, identifying parking for residents of Rose Haven’s reintegration home was a concern. We had access to the lot adjacent to our property, 219 E. 3rd Street. Building a produce and meditation gardens was going to chew up all that lot. Street parking was not possible except for on Bonner Street a block away. The funeral home on the west side has a large concrete parking area that would be ideal for the 4 spaces, one an ADA parking space, we would need for residents. I had been keeping Betty Randolph, the owner, updated on our progress. She was very appreciative of our efforts to finally “clean up” the property and rehab the house – although initially she was polite enough not to wonder out loud why we didn’t demolish the house and rebuild in its shadow.
I approached Betty with our quandary and offered a solution for the parking dilemma, asking “Would the Funeral Home be amenable to letting us use the parking apron closest to Rose Haven?” In return, we would landscape the boundary area and take over its maintenance. She did not hesitate and said they would accommodate our need. That was a relief to us.
In one of my conversations with Betty, she reminisced fondly about her late husband, and owner of the funeral home, Louis Randolph. Part of what we were going to landscape consisted of an area just west of our sign and bordering the street and the parking lot. I wanted to highlight the shared history of our two properties, and in some way create a remembrance of Louis. I said we would build a small memorial garden in honor of Louis, and we did.
In building the garden, we visited Friendly Nursery to look for plants and shrubs. Mary, the owner, has been the nursery owner for over 20 years, and, as such, had a great feel for what we were looking for. She considered the garden and offered great suggestions which we adopted. She even donated a yard of mulch to the project.
Building community means different things to different people. In this instance, it wasn’t good fences makes good neighbors. In fact, quite the opposite. Building community means looking out for your neighbors, offering what you have that a neighbor might need, sharing space and experience, and celebrating those important to others through recognition.
We will reach out to Betty to set up a day and time for a dedication of Louis’ garden; that’s what good neighbors do.
Louis is still our neighbor; he lives on in the Louis Randolph Memorial Garden.
— Robert Sands
For a photographic journey of the development of the Randolph Memorial Garden, see our (Pamlico Rose) Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/PamlicoRoseInstitute/.