Tuesday, April 20, 2010


Last summer we moved, and I left behind a garden I had worked on for 12 years. That was the hardest part of moving, for me - leaving the garden behind (MY garden). I don't miss the house, except for the new kitchen we had put in (right before my husband's layoff). So I miss my kitchen, and my garden.

The new owners of the house removed most of my plantings soon after they moved in. I didn't realize how painful that would be, until we drove by the old house a month or so after the move. It's amazing what we grow attached to in our lives. You'd think with all the work we'd done on the old house, the hours and HOURS we spent painting, scraping, fixing, replacing, repairing, upgrading, cursing the past owners' stupidity, I'd be more unhappy to leave that structure. Our children were born while we were there, and they knew no other home. But no, it's the garden I still miss and regret leaving.

Happily, I was able to take some of my plants with me when we moved. In fact, right after the layoff (November, 2008), I went out into the yard and dug up all my peonies, and placed them in plastic bags lining cheap plastic laundry baskets, then put that whole lot inside a large, shallow cardboard box on the driveway turnaround. I was afraid we'd have to move over the winter, and I'd have to leave EVERYTHING in my garden behind, frozen solid. It turned out that we didn't have to move until spring, so in April I also dug up some of my daylilies, both established plants and seedlings that I had bred. I took a miscellany of other plants, but there was no way I could take everything I would have wanted. I told myself I could replace what I couldn't take, but it was still a wrench to see what the new owners had done to MY YARD.

We spent several weeks between houses, living with family. The peonies bloomed, in their bags and baskets, on my parents front porch, before finally making the move to the new house. Amazingly, they have all put up new foliage this spring, although a couple seem a little weak to me. Hopefully they'll rebound after a couple settled years.

Now I've got a blank slate at the new house, since it had one flower bed at the front of the house when we moved in. The previous (and only) owner had done next to nothing to it, aside from a few foundation shrubs by the garage and that one, disproportionately small and tall bed (hemmed in by a badly-built retaining wall, that was leaning outward over the gas meter at one end). I've been digging and digging and digging since last summer, creating new planting beds for perennials, and beds for veggies (no woodchucks here!! Hallelujah!!). We've also planted a few trees, and had the retaining wall rebuilt properly. I'm on my way!