Lisa Leporati, left, and Lexi Koch built a garland of roses beneath the Haller Fountain in downtown Port Townsend on Monday. The flowers were placed in honor of the people lost to COVID-19 during the past year. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Lisa Leporati, left, and Lexi Koch built a garland of roses beneath the Haller Fountain in downtown Port Townsend on Monday. The flowers were placed in honor of the people lost to COVID-19 during the past year. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

Floral heart memorial brings burst of color

Display honors people who have died of COVID-19

PORT TOWNSEND — A few moments after the last pink rose was placed, a woman stepped forward to draw a heart on the pavement and write a name inside.

The name was Steve, for Steve Haysler of Pittsburgh, Pa., and the woman was his sister-in-law, Dena Turner of Port Townsend.

She, like millions of others across the world, lost her loved one to COVID-19. Then she found a place to pay tribute to him.

On Monday morning, Lexi Koch and Lisa Leporati, both of Port Townsend, joined the Floral Heart Project, a nationwide effort, and constructed a garland of flowers beside downtown’s Haller Fountain.

Beginning at 8 a.m. and working quietly for another 2½ hours, the women arranged a heart shape of shiny green salal leaves, ivory miniature chrysanthemums and some 300 roses.

Erin Scabuzzo, also of Port Townsend, took photographs and chalked “COVID-19 Memorial” on the concrete above the multicolored heart.

Then the women decided to leave the chalk behind for people like Turner to write small remembrances.

“Since it’s a memorial, I think we’ll have it here for just the day,” Koch said.

She and Leporati planned to take the heart down around sunset.

“I’m looking at it,” Leporati said, “as a place to come and take the moment for reflection.”

The pair worked together like two hands. One bloom at a time, the heart took shape as they clipped the roses’ long stems and gently peeled the petals open wide for maximum impact.

That’s called “reflexing,” said Koch, who owns a local flower farming business, LexiMara.com.

Leporati is an ideal partner in this project, since she runs an event design firm, Mabelmakerdesign.com. When she and Koch heard about the Floral Heart Project — rose garlands laid in cities from coast to coast — Leporati approached Holly’s Fine Flowers of Port Townsend.

The shop donated roses, while Seattle’s Mayesh Wholesale Florists provided additional flowers at a discount.

As for the two heart makers, Koch and Leporati gave their time and skill in hopes of giving passers-by a burst of beauty.

________

Jefferson County senior reporter Diane Urbani de la Paz can be reached at 360-417-3509 or [email protected]

A heart-shaped garland of roses, in honor of people lost to COVID-19, rested Monday beneath the Haller Fountain in downtown Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

A heart-shaped garland of roses, in honor of people lost to COVID-19, rested Monday beneath the Haller Fountain in downtown Port Townsend. (Diane Urbani de la Paz/Peninsula Daily News)

More in Life

Shred event to benefit Back to School Fair

Lutheran Community Services and the Port Angeles School District… Continue reading

Aging Mastery discussions offered

The North Olympic Library System invites seniors to take… Continue reading

Grief support group offered online weekly

Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County is offering a grief… Continue reading

Self-guided walks start at Port Angeles garden

With COVID-19 restrictions still in place, Clallam County Master… Continue reading

A great client, Karen, has planted numerous types of brassica this last week. Due to her active pet Corgies— who root out any new scent, such as various slug baits, as food — copper mesh has been installed around the border to deter slugs who feast on brassica. (Andrew May/For Peninsula Daily News)
A GROWING CONCERN: Brassica a winning play for gardeners

THE NATIONAL COLLEGE basketball championship game went down to the final shot,… Continue reading

Local churches to stream services online

List includes Port Angeles, Sequim, Gardiner, Port Townsend and Chimacum

Peninsula College Foundation extends deadline for scholarship applications

The Peninsula College Foundation has extended its application deadline… Continue reading

The nonprofit PropagationNation has been distributing free sequoia and redwood seedlings across the state. 

The project aims to combat climate change and increase the diversity of Washington forests, according to a press release. 

Pictured are Sequim residents Susan and Ron Geis picking up redwood seedlings at the Sequim Elks lodge.
Seedlings distributed in Sequim

Sequim residents Susan and Ron Geis pick up redwood seedlings at the… Continue reading

Most Read