Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15

“Mother always took flowers to Daddy and his brother Daniel’s grave, both WWII vets on Memorial Day and we spent time tending the graves and remembering the families that are left with only memories of their loved ones that paid the ultimate sacrifice.” ~ Susan Fox

Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith's #G2B15
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s #G2B15

Every Memorial Day Mother cut our peonies and put them on Daddy’s grave at Mt. Olivet.

Peonies were her favorite flower. They bloom long before roses in northern Illinois, one mile from the beautiful shores of Lake Michigan. And peonies are bountiful in Illinois. The first rose usually blooms around Father’s Day. Before rose pruning we would apply a cup of bone meal around every peony bush to ensure a lush bloom each year. The list is long of what we learn from observing the actions of our parents. According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing. Kinesthetics learners are also commonly known as “do-ers”* Since I am happiest ‘doing gardening’ or moving about, this feeling of the importance of a simple act of ‘doing something’ to honor those warriors that willingly paid it all seems important. Reverence, honor and respect for the memory of those that sacrificed for us and paved the way for our success is something we cannot put a price on. It’s intangible yet very real.

Army Air Force WWII
Army Air Force WWII

Memorial Day Traditions

The impact of watching Mother cut peonies, and call anyone in the family that wanted to go visit the cemetery on Memorial Day every year, including my sister-law served to leave a deep impression on me to “do something” out of my reverence for those that served in the armed forces that instead of coming home from war could only leave their family with memories. The human need ‘to act’ is strong. My mother passed away in 1994, and when we can we visit Salem WI on Memorial Day, where my sister-in-law, Martha lives. Salem is about 25 miles from where Daddy, his brother both WWII vets and my brother are laid to rest. Martha had been married to my brother Larry when he had a car accident coming home from work in a rain storm that cost him his life at 24 and left her with 4 year old daughter to raise.

The High Flyers
Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII
R.J. Proctor, my father 2nd from the left front row Army Air Force | High Flyers in England WWII
 We Placed Wreaths of Yellow Roses on Their Head Stones and Another Peddle

We saw the little pebbles that we placed there the last time we visited as is on old custom I learned. We sat on the ground and gently, quietly pulled weeds around the headstones and I remembered Daddy playing his clarinet and tapping his foot to the metronome along with famous clarinetist and Jazz Musician, Pete Fountain. or the Lawrence Welk show and we danced in the vision of my mind. I thanked him and all the other soldiers that had served and died for our country.

Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II
Sergeant Raymond James Proctor | World War II


WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, "We're playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys." Feb. 23, 1942
WWII Post Card My Father sent Dated Feb 23, 1942 Daddy says, “We’re playing for Bing Crosby in person tonight to entertain the boys.” Feb. 23, 1942
Divine Intervention?

Surely it was divine intervention that the first arrangement that I saw upon entering P. Allen Smith’s magnificent Moss Mountain Farm | P. Allen Smith resident last week at the Garden To Blog Reunion was this bouquet of Coral Sunset Peonies:

Coral Drift Peonies
Peony Arrangement at P. Allen Smith’s Moss Mountain Farm Last Week at the Garden 2 Blog Reunion #G2B15

Inevitably I thought of my mother and how she loved peonies and would take them to spend time tending the head stone quietly remember Daddy on Memorial Day.

Our Soldiers Are at Mt. Olivet, Illinois
Martha Proctor at Lawrence Raymond Proctor's Grave Side
Martha Proctor at Lawrence Raymond Proctor’s Grave Side

Mother would have loved Moss Mountain Farm and every detail that I could tell her about my experience there. So in honor of Memorial Day here are the most beautiful peonies I have ever seen that Allen had arranged in his home. Together Mom we can symbolically lift these peonies up in remembrance of the WWII vets. I know Allen would be pleased. And I can tell you she would have adored Allen. He epitomizes in appearance and manner the essence and style of a  Southern Gentleman.

Peonies from the garden of Diane LaSauce

Visit Diane LaSauce’s Web site for more about Home | Garden | Life. She grew these miraculously flawless peonies. I met her at P. Allen Smith Moss Mountain Farm just last week at Garden-To-Blog.

Diane is is one of those few people that you meet in your life that you feel you have known all your life although my dear friend Teresa Byington, of The Garden Diary, introduced her when we all agreed to meet at the airport in Little Rock: #ARStory | The Beginning of My ARStory. She is an amazing and beautifully talented woman who grows many herbs, greens and fruits organically on her property only two hours from my family in Virginia. I keep seeing people linked like the parlour game Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon.

Diane LaSauce Home, Garden, Life Peonies  photo credit: Diane La Sauce
Diane LaSauce Home, Garden, Life Peonies
photo credit: Diane La Sauce

*”Margaret H’Doubler wrote and spoke about kinesthetic learning during the 1940s, defining kinesthetic learning as the human body’s ability to express itself through movement and dance. →(Perhaps Gardening)

According to the theory of learning styles, students who have a predominantly kinesthetic style are thought to be discovery learners: they have realization through doing, rather than thinking before initiating action. They may struggle to learn by reading or listening.

When learning, it helps for these students to move around; this increases the students’ understanding, with learners generally getting better marks in exams when they can do so. Kinesthetic learners usually succeed in activities such as chemistry experiments, sporting activities, art and acting; It is common for kinesthetic learners to focus on two different things at the same time, remembering things in relation to what they were doing. They possess good eye–hand coordination. In kinesthetic learning, learning occurs by the learner using their body to express a thought, an idea or a concept (in any field).”

:Source Wikipedia

For a complete list of bloggers/writers invited to P. Allen Smith's Garden to Blog 2015 Reunion Visit:
Who Is P. Allen Smith




10 thoughts on “Decoration Day | Garden of Memories”

    1. Hi Diane,
      Thank-you lovely lady. How did the sale go? I just know Mom is seeing your peonies and knows we are ‘Doing Our Bit” on Memorial Day by sending them via post.
      Thank-you for allowing me to use your picture. And I meant to link your blog so I am doing it now.

        1. Hi Diane,
          Thank-you Diane for the beautiful peonies and lovely thought. I think they are too. I hope you have a beautiful day.
          So glad destiny brought us together, and the amazing Teresa and P. Allen Smith.

          1. Diane,
            Each time I experience the blessing of being invited and get to know Allen a little better I see the depth of his knowledge, caring and kindness. I truly love what he stands for and his giving nature. I also try to emulate him in many ways. He has so much to offer. And I treasure the gift of meeting people like you. I also adore Mimi, she is possible one of the smartest most talented marketers I’ve ever known and that’s my profession, see my LinkedIn profile 😉

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