With a shovel, Les Clay carved a small hole in the dark, soft soil of the flower bed, then gently lifted the rose plant from its pot and patted it into place.
It was the very first rose in the Beverly Anne Clay Memorial Rose Garden in the Derek Doubleday Arboretum.
“I think it will be a real centrepiece for the garden,” Clay said.
There was always going to be a garden, Clay said, but “it ended up being named after my wife.”
Beverly Anne Clay, “Bev” to those who knew her, passed away on Dec. 14. just shy of her 60th wedding anniversary.
An online memorial describes her as “a wise, strong, adventurous, determined, caring, loving, selfless, affectionate, and playful woman [who] was honest and open-hearted, and loved her family with all her heart. “
From 1964 till 2001, the couple operated Clay’s Nurseries on a 40-acre South Langley property.
Daughter Barb Nelson said her mom was a big fan of flowers
“Gardening was her life and she loved roses, she loved rhododendrons, she loved all kinds of different things [varieties].”
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For the memorial, flowers were planted in the shape of the Rotary Club wheel Tuesday (April 9).
It faces the Rotary Interpretive Centre that is currently under construction on the west side of the 17-acre arboretum located in the 21200 block of Fraser Highway.
“It is going to be an absolutely marvelous garden that will be opened in my mom’s name,” Nelson said.
“I hope that everybody will come and visit the garden and just enjoy what my mother loved so very, very much.”
Plans call for the garden to be connected to the new interpretive centre by a concrete walkway featuring a embedded image of a tree.
Nelson said special thanks were owed to Brad Jalbert and Select Roses for their contribution to the very special project.
It was Jalbert who first suggested the garden should be named after her mother, and it was the ABSL (Arboretum and Botanical Society of Langley) that endorsed it, Nelson said.
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