The daughter of longtime journalist and garden columnist Anne Marrison wants her mother to be remembered for her love of gardening, her kindness and her acceptance of everyone she met.
Marrison, 80, died on Dec. 10 at Vancouver General Hospital, surrounded by family.
“It was very peaceful,” said daughter Nadia Graham.
Marrison was widely known for her gardening tips and advice, which appeared in the Vancouver Courier, the Burnaby Now and other publications around the Lower Mainland for decades. She wrote her last column in March after deciding to take on more of a caregiver role with her husband.
The avid green thumb was born in England on July 4, 1936. She and her family came by boat to Canada in 1955, eventually travelling by train to Vancouver.
Marrison made her career as a community reporter, initially starting at the White Rock Sun in the early ‘70s. She would go on to work at the Peace Arch News, The Columbian, and then the NOW newspapers, where she retired about 15 years ago. She kept her gardening column going, however, answering questions from readers.
“She loved her column,” said Graham. “She loved being able to go out and see people’s gardens. She liked doing the research. She has the most massive collection of gardening books. She didn’t want to fully retire. She just loved it.”
Graham noted her mom’s love of growing and cultivating plants and vegetables started early on.
“As soon as she was old enough to walk, she was helping in the garden,” the Calgary resident said. “My grandparents both also loved to garden, and it helped keep them fed during the war.”
In 1968, Marrison bought an acreage in White Rock.
“She was then really able to indulge her passion for gardening,” said Graham. “We had seven acres. We had a massive, massive vegetable garden – fruit trees, nut trees, raspberry bushes, blueberries. At one point in time, my mother grew her own kiwi fruit. I mean, she could grow anything.”
Marrison is survived by her husband Eric, Graham and her husband Carl; her other daughter Cathy Laskoski and her husband Doug Johnson (and her step grandchildren Ben, Zack, Conner and Cole); her sister Andrée Connell and her husband Mike; and a handful of grandchildren (Coral, Ben, Daniel and Sandy Laskoski).
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Vancouver General Hospital, added Graham. A memorial for Marrison, meanwhile, will be held sometime in the spring.
“We’re considering where to perhaps scatter her ashes, be it in her yard, somewhere in the woods,” she said. “We’re thinking when the snow drops and the daffodils start to come up. That would be a good time to honour mom.”