WELCOME TO KIM’S GARDEN - A Project of Friends of Kim Brenegar

WELCOME TO KIM’S GARDEN - A Project of Friends of Kim Brenegar

Kim Brenegar, a Capitol Hill resident and owner of the Washington, D.C. landscaping business “The Ornamental Garden,” died in a car accident in 2009 at the age of 49. The Friends of Kim Brenegar formed in 2010 to create a living legacy in honor of Kim’s love of community and the environment. We chose the renovation of a small public park just steps from Kim’s home, where for many years she had volunteered her talents and plant materials to maintain the garden.

Please check back here for updates and photos of our progress, become a Follower via Google Friend Connect or contact us to learn more about how you can help with the garden restoration. We look forward to hearing from you!

About Kim

Kim in Chicago - 2009
There is a certain stillness that pervades our collective being following the sudden loss of a loved one. For those who knew and loved her, Kim Elizabeth Brenegar left this world too early. In the stillness of her absence, we began to search for some sort of meaning. What emerged was the compelling story of a life well lived.

Kim was born in Columbia, SC on July 12, 1960. She graduated magna cum laude from Christopher Newport University in VA with degrees in political science and urban planning. She moved to Washington DC in the early 90s and began her life on the Hill, where she raised her two children and founded a small landscaping business called The Ornamental Garden. 

"I want to live a full and rich life." Those were the words Kim often repeated over the years. Her actions spoke more loudly than her words. Kim was an activist, a conservationist, an environmentalist, and a philanthropist. She loved animals, nature, art, theater, and travel. She was an avid reader with an insatiable quest for knowledge. Her curiosity to discover the world was a quest of the spirit under the guise of vacation.

To simply list these characteristics without qualification, however, would be to miss Kim's essence; for the fabric of her life was threaded with fierce independence and unyielding integrity and compassion. Kim saw beauty and innocence all around her. Her mind was often flooded with creative ideas and a profound awareness of innocence and suffering in nature and people. Her gift was a burden and a blessing. Kim’s emotions ebbed and flowed with the intoxication of beauty in art and nature and the responsibility to act on her keen sense of right and wrong. Her alto voice, offbeat sense of humor and beautiful smile betrayed the beauty of her spirit and the purity of her intent. 

A stranger once stopped by Kim's house with a message. It turned out that she had passed by the house every day for 10 years as a passenger on a bus. This stranger simply wanted to convey how much she enjoyed the large posters that Kim would design and display on the front door for her children's birthdays. "I feel like I know your family after all these years. I watched your children grow up!" 

Following her death, the Capitol Hill community had a chance to celebrate Kim's life the way she had celebrated so many others. The North Hall of Eastern Market was draped in poster paper for all to pay tribute with tokens of self expression – something that Kim always appreciated. There were tributes and funny stories that transformed tragedy into joyful celebration: the ultimate validation of a life well lived. Kim's final request in her will was simply to remember her "as we knew her only." It turned out that we all knew her pretty well.

Your love brings to life,
What others may not see,
Like the moss on the ground,
Like the shadow of a tree

--Anonymous, written to Kim

Kim in Chicago - 2009


Kim E. Brenegar

BRENEGAR, KIM ELIZABETH (Age 49) Of Washington, DC, died Friday, October 9, 2009. Born in Columbia, SC, she owned and operated The Ornamental Garden, a landscaping company based on Capitol Hill. She was a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, VA. Kim was predeceased by her father, David Rich Brenegar. Surviving are her children, Allison Anne Strodel and Julian David Strodel; her mother, Jeanne Brenegar (Dr. Gilbert Frey); her fiance, Joseph Ardizzone; her sister, Juliet Brenegar (James) Michaud; her brother, Stewart Rich (Anne) Brenegar; nieces and nephews, Claude, Bryan, Rachel and Christine. A legion of friends, who have been touched by her dynamic spirit must be included among the survivors. The family expresses undying gratitude to so many loved ones, who have supported them. Kim will live in our hearts forever. A memorial service will be held on Sunday, October 25 at the Eastern Market, North Hall, 7th and North Carolina Ave. SE, Washington DC at 7 p.m. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, contributions be sent in memory of Kim Brenegar to: Washington Humane Society Attn: Peter Larson 4590 Macarthur Blvd Washington, DC 20007 www.washhumane.org/donations.asp

Published in The Washington Post on October 18, 2009

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Kim in Miami - 2009

Program from Kim’s Memorial Service on 25 October 2009: