Wednesday, May 28, 2008
One of the hardest things to leave behind at our old house was the garden. When we first moved in, the place had been neglected for years and there was ivy growing everywhere. The terraced backyard was covered in vines, wild raspberry bushes, and weeds- all the way down so that we couldn't even reach the top terrace. Little by little we took back that yard. Chopping down dead trees, exposing and then rebuilding stone walls and stairs, pulling out ivy and planting flowers, creating a play space for our kids on the top terrace overlooking the neighborhood. Our backyard became a place of beauty and retreat, our private little space. When we moved I dug up some of my favorite plants- coral bells and lillies that my grandmother had divided from her garden and given to me, sedum, day lilies and spider wort. All of it survived except the sedum, which I replaced this spring. I also left behind a lot of flowers that I miss- pink peonies, lavender, allium, and phlox to name a few. Whenever I drive by I crane my neck to see how the garden is doing, and I still mourn the flowers I left behind. It may seem strange to dig up flowers to take on a move, and grieve the ones you didn't, but I think there are other gardeners out there who understand.
Anyway, the first year in our new home I didn't do much. I wanted to see what came up, and where before digging around. I planted some annuals and left it at that. I was pleasantly surprised to find peonies, irises, a beautiful rhododendron, and LOTS of day lilies. Last year Ed did a huge amount of digging and created a beautiful new garden across the front, and I ordered lots of baby perennials from a catalog to plant in it. Since they were immature, the garden still looked pretty bare last summer and I had to buy lots of annuals to give it color. This spring I was thrilled to find that many of those perennials had lasted the winter, and were now lush and mature. I will need to replace some that died, and they will fill in the bare spots, but I hardly had to buy any annuals this year. I made a trip to the nursery and used a gift card from my birthday to buy a beautiful blue-green hosta (I still would like a variegated one, and am on the lookout for friends who have some to divide-hint, hint!), a peach coral bell, some little lavenders and a sedum. We also spread mulch this year, which totally makes a different in appearance and weed maintenance. I have to say that I am quite pleased with the effects. I don't cringe inside anymore when we pull up to our house. Instead, I have a little thrill at the beauty of the flowers. There is still a long way to go- a whole side of our yard has been, and still is neglected. There are trees to chop, branches to chip, weeds to pull. The work is truly endless, but so are the rewards.