Pauline Besharah-Armstrong was passionate about her plants. Tending to her daylilies, peonies and clematis brought her great joy, especially later in her life. She took pride in putting in the work they needed to flourish.

“She always used to say, ‘put a $5 plant in a $50 hole and you’ll have a beautiful garden,’” said Hope Bell, a friend of Pauline’s through the Smith Falls Horticultural Society.

At the society she would graciously offer tips, participate in gardening shows and tour people through her own beautiful garden for hours. Pauline and her husband Larry shared a love of gardening and each tended to their stock, Larry with vegetables and Pauline with flowers.

Died on April 3, 2020
Carleton Place, ON

Age 89

They were members of the horticultural society for 15 years. While on the board of directors for the society, Pauline was in charge of membership, and gifted at recruiting.

“She just had this knack of making people feel welcomed and being able to talk to anybody that she met,” says Bell.

While she may have looked frail, Pauline was always smiling. She was generous with her garden, gifting flowers to friends and fellow gardeners. In her own garden, Bell planted a daylily called a gentle shepherd, which was one of her friend’s favourites.

“It was one that she gave me a piece of and I still have it in my garden and it’s blooming right now,” says Bell. “And every time you see it, you think, ‘oh, Pauline gave me that.’”

This story was first published in MacLean’s as part of a collaborative project with Canadian journalism schools to document the lives of people who have died from COVID-19. To learn more about the project and to read the other obituaries, click here.

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