By chance I learned today that you had passed. It brought back all the wonderful memories of our time together going back to the early sixties: seeing you for the first time glide into French class and writing a poem about it; our love affair; swimming (you're the only person who ever told me I had lovely feet!); meeting your parents; seeing you again on Bain after years of separation and smoking pot together while examining your appliques. Adieu, my dear. David
Sent by binesi on 11/04/2012
Dagmar and the Garlic Mustard Pie
By Sharon Lovertt
Dagmar had a way of making subjects that could appear to be depressing because of their negative implications interesting and positive by changing the way she looked at it.
I attended her Edible Weeds workshop (see the photo gallery) at the Brickworks in May of 2008 just before my High Park Volunteer Stewardship Program was going to have a garlic mustard pulling session, as we did every spring. We look at invasive species in the park as something really awful that we spend most of the summer trying to get rid of in order for the native plants to have a fighting chance to grow.
Dagmar, of course knew this as she was one of the founders of our group as well as innumerable other native plant initiatives, but she saw using them as an opportunity to provide something useful and nourishing. Her workshop dealt with the medicinal and other nutritional qualities of a variety of weeds and she had prepared several batches of spanakopita made from garlic mustard, rather than spinach for everyone to taste. It was not at all to my taste (being bitter) but I did appreciate the idea behind it.
She then suggested that people should go out and collect it to make their own. Parks were one place that she suggested. I objected to this since at High Park, no one is supposed to remove any plant material, since an enormous amount of poaching nuts, mushrooms, flowers etc. goes on. She countered that she though that taking garlic mustard was OK since it was being thrown out anywhere and people who were hungry could use it.
I replied that the people who were poaching other things were not likely using them because they were hungry and that having people spread the garlic mustard around and then put part in garden waste was a great way to spread the weed. It was only reading her story today that I saw how her experiences during the war and afterwards made knowledge of foraging a matter of personal survival.
Neither of us changed our point of view, but the reason I am writing this is that having differing opinions was OK with her. It didn’t affect how we thought about each other. She continued to email me with ideas and a lovely poem about High Park and gave a talk to my group on the early days of the VSP and I continued to think that she was a wonderful person who has done an incredible amount of work towards native plant restoration and community gardening that will take a lot of us forever to continue. Although gardening and native plants were very important to her, people always came first.
See http://perth-dupont.parkcommons.ca/wiki/wiki.php?n=InTheGardenShed.HighParkIsASacredPlace for her poem. If this does not work see www.parkcommons.ca. Click on Perth-Dupont Community Garden. In the Garden Shed. Dagmar Baur. High Park is a Sacred Place.
From Laura on 06/06/2010
On the gallery page, I have submitted a photo of Dagmar in the garden that I took on Easter Sunday of this year. When Dagmar smiled for the photo she said "I mean it," and what she meant was that her smile was genuine, for she was truly enjoying her time outside in her beloved South Oaks Courtyard.
My partner, Ken, and I had organized an Easter egg hunt for our young daughter and some of her friends for that morning in the courtyard. We invited Dagmar to join us outside. Although she was becoming quite frail by that time, Dagmar looked forward to the event, and when I phoned her that morning to check on her, she said that she was already dressed and ready to go.
We all had a fine time outside that day - enjoying the gentle spring sunshine, the blooms on the magnolia tree, the excitement of the "little kiddies" as Dagmar called them, and the company of friends and neighbours. We helped Dagmar settle comfortably into the Adirondack chair in the centre of the courtyard, where she "held court," chatting with neighbours and enjoying brief visits from some whom she hadn't seen all winter long. She ordered pizza as her contribution to our potluck lunch, and had a good meal and some of Ken's homebrew. Fortified by sunshine and good company, Dagmar then walked over to the garden to direct the filling of the leaf bin and to cut up some of last year's bean vines to put into the composter.
I remember that day often, and think of it as one of Dagmar's "finest hours" during the last weeks of her life.
I also would like to share with you something that my five year old daughter, Lauren, said about Dagmar. The day before Dagmar passed away, Lauren and I were talking about her, and Lauren said "Dagmar reminds me of Mother Earth." She was right on about that, and I was looking forward to sharing this great (I think) compliment with Dagmar when we visited her at the hospice the next day. Unfortunately, Dagmar passed away early the next morning before we had a chance to visit.
One thing that I always appreciated about Dagmar was how generous she was in giving compliments. I hope that she somehow knows about Lauren's compliment to her.
Sent by Marion Wehner on 31/05/2010