Remembering Ingrid Ernestl (1965-2018),
Great Gardener and Friend

Three wonderful women who’ve all gardened with us.
Left to right: Ingrid Ernestl, Teresa Smith, Fran West

In 1994 a friend called and asked if we would like to have some help in the garden. My husband and I were in our 50s and realized that we could not keep up the garden we had created without some help. The timing was perfect. Little did we know that Ingrid would be with us for 16 years, until she moved to Missoula, Montana in 2010.

We more than hit the jackpot with Ingrid. She was so knowledgeable about plant names and horticulture that I really had to up my game and learn more about plant names and growing requirements. When Ingrid took on the cleanup of an area of the garden, she did it with the thoroughness of a tornado. She was a dedicated perfectionist, and our garden was the beneficiary. She taught us to see what needed to be done and to focus on an area until it was perfect. She didn’t hesitate to tell us what we had been doing wrong and to suggest a plant that she thought would work in an area.  In many ways the garden is what it is today because of Ingrid’s dedication.

Along the way Ingrid became a friend to us and to our beloved dogs. We knew that Ingrid loved our dogs as much as we did. She often took care of them when we were traveling.Those lucky dogs got to go with her on walks in the neighborhood and on hikes along country trails. When she moved to Missoula, we knew that it wouldn’t be long before she ended up helping in gardens and adopting dogs.

For a long time we thought that Ingrid would eventually move back to Baltimore, but she knew otherwise. She loved her life and her friends in Missoula. With the same dedication that she gave to the garden, she went to the University of Montana for a degree in social work and launched an entirely new career for her new life in the West.

Thanks, Ingrid, for many years of joy in the garden and for friendship. We will sorely miss you and your megawatt smile.

–– Penney Hubbard