Lisa Marini Finerty
In Memoriam 1954 - 2011
Lisa in the park outside Villa Lante
Lisa and I founded Your Garden Show with the notion of building a trusted repository for gardening legacies, and that by doing so we could provide a place for gardeners of all levels to learn from the best teachers of all... each other.
For those of you who got to know Lisa on our site, you know how passionate she was about gardening and that she truly believed more and better informed gardeners make a healthier world for all of us. Her voice, integrity and energy will be missed in uncountable ways. YourGardenShow is part of her personal legacy.
Lisa toasting to something good!
Lisa was a lifelong learner and her gardening library was chock full of gardening literature from around the world. She decided to make the "Secret Gardens" of Italy her specialty and could go on for hours recounting the story behind each of the gardens she adored so much. These gardens held a special spot in her heart as they reminded her of the first images she recalled about gardening. Here's how she described it:
"My first memory of a garden is that of my grandmother’s, an intensely planted vegetable garden from property line to property line -- tomatoes, strawberries, cherries, peaches, corn, pole beans, apples, potatoes, garlic, roses, summer and winter squashes, figs, grapes.
Overplanted. Well cared for. In a tract house, in downtown Detroit.
A walk around that garden could take hours. The foot-stones were in the center of communities of exuberant biodiversity -- plantings, underplantings and overplantings, each plant and species existing on a different part of its development curve. The plants were as thriving as any I have seen since.
Vegetable peelings became compost, chain link fence borders were bean trellises, old tires together with wire bits were tree guides. My Grandmother saved seeds from year to year and never needed to buy fertilizer so the costs were negligible. Probably the only hard cost was the pennies she gave for each pest we collected.
This was a delight for a child like me, seeing something wonderful from a low vantage point at each stone “station.” Looking at all the happy plants and their critter friends filled my days before I knew there was such a thing as time. The intensity of the experience still tricks my memory, and I remember everything always in bloom and fruit simultaneously, and continuously."
Lisa in the garden
This year Lisa planted an especially large vegetable garden that is now producing bounty of all kinds. It was planted in an unconventional manner, with melons next to peppers and eggplant and Zinnias poking up everywhere. It's beautiful and chaotic and I wouldn't want it any other way.
Again in Lisa's own words from an interview she gave in May of 2010:
"More is better for me; the more diversity, the better. I like a complicated landscape, one that you don't immediately understand just looking at it from a distance. I like a landscape that's got all kinds of variations in the details, and it doesn't naturally suggest itself... as a schematic. The fields of Iowa are beautiful; you know all corn planted at the same depth, growing at the same rate, everything's at the same height. But I also think that a landscape that's like, someone's friendship garden where their friends gave them a little bit of this plant, a little bit of that plant, and a little bit of that plant, and they put it all together not because it naturally grows together, and not because it has any other organization other than the fact that these people gave them to a single person. I think that's a beautiful garden too."
Lisa on a stroll through Piazza del Popolo
It is with this inspiration that we built the Lisa Marini Finerty Legacy Garden and would like to invite you all to participate. Please feel free to upload any garden related photos or videos you think would be fitting to add to Lisa's growing legacy. It could be your favorite plant, a dedication to recall a conversation or a day you once spent with her, or a tour you once took with her, whatever. If you didn't know Lisa, feel free to upload something as well. Please write why you chose the photo or video as we'd like to hear about your inspirations too. All are welcome.
Lisa in the rose garden "Il roseto di Roma"
Lisa was proud of what we have accomplished so far with YourGardenShow and with your help, we can continue to keep her vision and memory alive. Thank you all for your support during these difficult times for our extended family.
What Lisa said about her Grandmother's garden could easily be said of her:
"The intensity of the experience still tricks my memory, and I remember everything always in bloom and fruit simultaneously, and continuously."
Lisa in Rome