Recently a story came to light about a memory garden at Londonderry. Few residents seem to be aware of this story; following are the highlights of a little research.
Several years ago Neil Van Bourgondien and his wife, Gretchen, moved to Talbot County from Long Island, New York. Neil was known as the Orchid King. He was from the well-known Van Bourgondien Company of Long Island, New York, importers of bulbs and plants from Holland and other countries. He was an active member of the Talbot County community (his obituary is still available on-line and recounts his many interests and contributions.)
Neil and Gretchen spent a few years here at Londonderry, moving away in 2002. Nancy Harper bought their place, cottage 230, and left in place a memorial garden in honor of their daughter, Marie Straub, who succumbed to cancer at a rather young age. For several of Nancy’s first years at Londonderry she spent five months a year in the St. Lawrence River area, and Neil, at first, maintained the garden while she was away. Neil passed away in 2012.
Nancy is now house-bound. However, she has added plantings of her own and maintains both Neil’s and her gardens with the help of a professional gardener. She has planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs, and has been known to allow bouquets of the flowers to be picked in season. The extensive grounds of Cottage 230 boast a river front view and Nancy Harper’s flower beds are lovely to behold.
BY: Florence Thompson