Liz’s Garden brings beauty and remembrance to Faith Friends

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 16, 2015

By Hugh Fisher

Outside the Faithful Friends Animal Sanctuary on Saturday, a group of friends gathered to remember a friend who loved animals, gardens and helping others.

Liz Rankin was a former employee of the Salisbury Post who worked closely with the Hurley family, former owners of the newspaper.

Not only did Rankin love helping others, “Liz loved her cats,” said Carol Palmer, one of Rankin’s friends who gathered at the non-profit group’s animal shelter Saturday.

As part of Faithful Friends’ annual meeting, a ceremony was held dedicating a new memorial garden to Rankin.

The Liz Rankin Memorial Garden includes some of the plants that friends say she loved, including butterfly bushes, day lilies, hydrangeas and viburnum.

It’s a fitting memorial, Palmer said. “Liz just loved to work in her garden. She loved gardening more than anyone I knew,” she said.

Kendall Moore, president of the Faithful Friends board, said an anonymous donor made the gift to name the memorial garden for Rankin.

A semi-circular wall surrounds the back of the garden, while a fountain set into a small pillar of stone creates the sound of flowing water in the center.

Moore said that benches will soon be added, thanks to donations from other friends of the non-profit.

Moore said the shelter was honored to have donors who support its mission, and that the garden is both a memorial to Rankin and a visible way of thanking the group’s supporters.

Founded in 2007, Faithful Friends opened a no-kill animal shelter on a donated 10-acre plot off Grace Church Road in 2012.

She said volunteers will help maintain the garden throughout the year.

In addition to being a place of beauty and reflection, Moore said pet owners will be able to spread their pets’ ashes there, making it a memorial garden as well.

“My hope would just be that it’s a tangible place that symbolizes the support and stewardship in our community,” Moore said. “It shows what happens when dedicated people step outside of themselves to do something bold and brave.”

After the ceremony, guests stayed to enjoy refreshments and take a tour of the facility, while Moore and other staff delivered their annual report to stakeholders.

Outside, guests paused to reflect near “Liz’s Garden.”

“So many of her friends came,” said Trudy Thompson, who knew Liz Rankin. “We all haven’t seen each other in the longest time, so it was especially nice that they could be here for this event.”

“Liz would’ve loved this garden,” Thompson said. “Her favorites are represented here, her love of nature.”

“This is a wonderful way to remember her,” Palmer said.

Contact Hugh Fisher via the editor’s desk at 704-797-4244.’Liz’s Garden