On a bench amongst the flowers sits a copy of the former First Lady’s favorite book, “Pride and Prejudice,” a pair of mismatched Keds, and her iconic straw hat—all cast in bronze and positioned “as though she had just been there.”

Meghan Overdeep
August 6, 2018

In the heart of Kennebunkport Maine, the Bush family’s favorite place on earth, a lasting tribute to former First Lady Barbara Bush is in bloom.

Bush’s grandchildren surprised the late matriarch with a garden on the Kennebunkport Conservation Trust’s River Green in 2011. Fittingly named “Ganny’s Garden” after the nickname bestowed on her by her 17 grandchildren, the garden’s design was inspired by a needlepoint carpet she created with the initials of her grandchildren hidden throughout a bed of pastel flowers.

Ganny’s Garden brings that cherished image to life by incorporating each of their initials in the stone walls that surround the garden, as well as 17 trees—one for each grandchild.

On a bench sits a copy of Barbara’s favorite book, Pride and Prejudice, a pair of mismatched Keds, and her iconic straw hat—all cast in bronze and positioned “as though she had just been there,” the garden’s website reads.

Now, in the aftermath of her April death, Ganny’s Garden takes on new meaning both for the Bush family and the Kennebunkport community. In the days following her death, the organization that manages the garden, Kennebunkport Conservation Trust, shared a moving message to the beloved First Lady.

“We saw Barbara at the local market, at the library, walking the dog on the beach, even in the aisle of Walmart. She was always patient, caring and gracious. We saw her wonderful humor, her generosity, her basic kindness, her decency. She was one of us, and she had earned our love, respect and admiration. May God bless you Barbara. Our lives were made richer for having shared a bit of your journey.”

A fund has been set up to support the ongoing maintenance of Ganny’s Garden. You can contribute online here, or by sending donations to the below address. A card including your name will be sent to the Bush family acknowledging your gift.

Kennebunkport Conservation Trust
P.O. Box 7004
Cape Porpoise, Maine, O4014

Learn more about Ganny’s Garden here.