Tweet Kimball’s Memorial Garden
Tweet Kimball loved Cherokee Ranch & Castle; after her death, she never left. Tweet worked with Diarmid Campbell, a landscape architect, and together they designed a memorial garden near the Castle as her final resting place.
Construction on the memorial garden began around Tweet’s death in 1999, but the planning was completed well before. The memorial garden incorporates aspects from Tweet’s life, including a relic from her childhood home, artifacts from her beloved ranch, and some of her favorite flowers.
Tweet’s childhood home in Tennessee was slated for demolition due to a new highway project. She saved a couple of the elaborately carved stone window frames from that home and incorporated one as the garden’s entrance.
Her grave marker is a large piece of petrified wood, taken from Cherokee Mountain on the ranch. The ranch holds many prehistoric and archeological artifacts, including 55-million-year-old petrified trees. Shortly after her passing, Tweet’s son Kirk and ranch manager Rafael Miranda selected, moved and placed one in the garden to mark her resting place.
Three horseshoes pay homage to Tweet’s love of her ranch and horses. “No one knows who left the horseshoes on top of the wood where Tweet is laid to rest,” said James Holmes, executive director of the Cherokee Ranch & Castle Foundation.
Some of the flowers in the garden are Tweet’s favorites, including yellow roses. Her marker is surrounded by pink shrub roses, another favorite of hers, along with sunflowers.
The garden has been maintained and cared for by the Village Castle Pines Garden Club since 2004. Garden club members volunteer regularly at Tweet’s Memorial Garden May through September, led by liaison Libby Drbal. “We typically have five to 10 ladies come each week,” Drbal said. The garden is full of beautiful but hardy perennials such as columbine, pink lemonade honeysuckle, daylilies, hyssop, daffodils, euphorbia and nepata (catmint). The garden is not irrigated, so plants need to be drought resistant. The garden is slowly transitioning toward more xeriscape plants under the tutelage of club member and Master Gardener Marcia Wiedelman.
Volunteers get more than they give while working in Tweet’s memorial garden. “Working on hallowed ground, where Tweet is resting in peace, surrounded by beauty, and companionship with the [club] ladies – we learn so much as we weed and snip,” said Wiedelman. “It’s my happy place up there,” Drbal expressed. Although not typically weeding himself, Holmes has been affected by the club’s dedication to Tweet’s memory. “It’s really touching because they really love taking care of the property where she rests,” he said.
Garden club volunteers water, plant, prune, and clean the garden every other Friday morning. Anyone interested in becoming a member, please contact club president Darcey DeRose at firstname.lastname@example.org for information.
Article and photo by Celeste McNeil; photo courtesy of Lisa Berlin