Thursday, June 11, 2009

One of our Great Gardeners in Zimbabwe

On 29 march this year Voytek Popiel was savagely bludgeoned to death in his home in Sentosa, Harare, Zimbabwe. His beautiful garden was a show place for succulents. He had been ill for some time and it was particularly tragic that he knew when this photograph was taken, the day before his murder, that he did not have very long to live anyway.

He planned, with his wife, his memorial service - which was to be, and tragically did take place, on 31 May 2009. It was a meeting of the Aloe and Cactus Society - with his friends present.

His wife Dorothy had slaved to make sure not a plant was out of place - that all the plants were labeled and not a weed showed.

After tea and a simple ceremony where friends spoke of him and his devotion to plants and his work we walked round the garden where he had spent his last day - sad that it was overshadowed by the house in which he was killed.

It was the right way to celebrate the life of a wonderful and gentle man.

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