Saturday, January 06, 2007

Dr. Leda Horticulture

How do you write about someone you don’t even know?

Every once in a while you run across a person for whom there is an immediate attraction. It isn’t about looks or title, wealth or power. It isn’t even about your proximity to the person or even really knowing them. It is about a person’s spirit. It is about the life force that emanates from them. You see someone that probably you wish you could be more like.

In the days after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast, an online request in a gardening forum about the well being of an old friend who had recently moved into the path of the Cone of Doom led me to the writings of such a person.

Dr. Leda Horticulture, PhD Rosarian, wrote a newsletter for Regan’s Nursery in California from her home in Louisiana. From the first column I read, “Louisiana is not for Sissies” I was hooked. It didn’t matter that she was pimping roses for a nursery. This woman was hysterical. She knew the South and wasn’t afraid to say what was on her mind. She had style and wit and I added her newsletter to my favorites list looking forward to all the writing that was to come.

Her grand old southern house and garden filled with roses had survived the wrath of Miss Katrina. Here we had a local gardening reporter close to the scene to keep us up to date on the aftermath of one of the most damaging storms ever. There were two more newsletters and then she fell silent. What happened?

I checked back often and there was no news. When Chuck B’s blog Whoreticulture showed up at GardenRant I was reminded of Dr. Leda and went back again. After a long silence, Dr. Leda had been replaced by Marsha. What a bummer! What happened?

Yesterday I found out what happened. The good Dr. Leda has been battling Lymphoma. The news of her illness was posted on the very same thread were I first learned of this sassy women who was living life to the fullest in a garden full of roses.

Elizabeth Churchill is writing again and chronicling her journey and cancer treatment at Our Lady of the Damned. She has a blog, As The Tumor Turns, not for the squeamish or faint of heart. Her writing is as witty as ever and there are many photos of her beautiful home and gardens.

Some of you may already know of her, particularly those on the left coast in the Bay Area where she lived for many years or anyone with an addiction to mail order roses.

You can visit Dr. Leda at her blog, let’s send her some Cyber Love, and Regan’s Nursery has the archives of her hysterical writing dating back to October of 2000.

Such a jewel, shining with a light all her own.

Get well soon Dr. Leda.

It may not be the fanciest rose around, but I grew it myself without any chemicals. Dr. Leda might like the thought of no chemicals right now.


Annie in Austin said...

Thanks for this information, sad though it may be. I loved to read that site, and Dr Leda was in my favorites. There were were no posts for so long, and I got out of the habit of checking back. I'll go to the new blog.

This is only somewhat on subject, but have you ever run across the Austin phenomenon [and rather radical gay feminist] known as Twisty Faster? Twisty has made some medically graphic blog posts, featuring photographic self-portaits taken hours after drastic cancer surgery. She also posts some marvelous restaurant reviews! This is a a terrifying and amazing woman, fighting like mad for her life during the past couple of years, while still shouting "I Blame The Patriarchy" - which is the name of her blog.

The weird thing is that I first found Twisty through her insect and 'critter' photos, which came up in Google garden research. You never know where looking up lizards and bugs will land you nowadays.

Thanks for all the links.


Pam/Digging said...

I just visited her site. She's laugh-out-loud funny and heartbreakingly sad. Thanks for letting me know about her blog.

Christopher C. in Hawaii said...

I'll have to check out Twisty, another Austin phenomena.

I sure hope Dr. Leda makes it.

Oh Hi Pam, almost a double post.

Yes, she is super funny. How could I not be intrigued by someone who was introduced as having been booted off of the GW?

chuck b. said...

what a nice post!

i feel like i have heard of Dr. Lead before but i can't figure out where or why. I'm sure I've never read her newsletter before. Someone must have mentioned her to me.

Cancer sucks!!!

Fuck cancer!!!