Monday, October 25, 2010

Saying goodbye to my garden of ten years

Be sure you have your tissues handy, I intend to force feelings of fervency, dish dollops of dispossession, and insult the intellect.  Surely I do that last one every time I post.  Let it be known then, that my family and I are moving.  And, just like the afterlife, the rumors are true.  We can’t take the it (the garden) with us.

aug-sept -garden tours 101

Lest I be accused of inciting a riot on the streets of the garden blogosphere, I assure you all I will still be posting about the wacky, unique, and challenging topics concerning gardening (and living) in Alaska.  Though we haven’t actually chosen a new house yet, we plan on moving close by our current abode.  I tell people who ask me whether we’ve found a place to go, “We’re planning on moving into a tent in your backyard.”  My surliness is getting the better of me.

It’s official: we’re out on November 9th.  Now the sensible gardener would have lifted and transplanted all favorites to an obliging friend’s garden for safe keeping before the temperature outside plunged to a balmy 40 Fahrenheit.  Never one to shy away from new frontiers in poor planning, the LFG rammed all her treasures into two holding beds and a smallish finished compost pile and put some very legal-sounding mumbo jumbo about “coming back in the spring for the designated garden goodies” into the sale contract. 

aug-sept -garden tours 104

I don’t want to come back.  I want a clean break like ripping a bandage off in one quick swipe.  I love this garden but I don’t want to see it ever again.  I feel like it’s at it’s peak now and couldn’t bear to see it decline.  How’s that for thinking positive?

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Ten years of pondering the garden’s layout.  Ten years of digging, deeply.  (Or at least as far as the combination of silt and construction backfill will allow.)  Ten years of anticipation in spring, appreciation in summer, and fond adieus in autumn.  Ten years of study and planning during the long winter months. 

Lots of sweat, some blood (adventures with sharp Felcos), and tears (hammers involved).  To say nothing of the money…oh, I can’t keep quiet about that!  Lots of money no doubt better spend elsewhere.  Preferably on something I could take with me when I move.  I’ll have to take the altruistic point of view and think of the joy and beauty it provides my neighborhood.  It’ll have to do.

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I guess that means I have about two weeks to pack.  Not to mention the idea of living out of plastic bins and rubber tubs for the next two months.  I hate moving….

Ever moved?  Left a garden you loved/loathed?

30 comments:

Mo said...

I long to move from here in the desert to more temperate climes up in the pacific northwest. Indeed a move is in our plans, but I like you will find it so hard to leave my garden, however imperfect and partially finished it will no doubt still feel by then. One invests so much love and thought into a garden and I can't imagine not ever feeling pain at leaving. However, moving also gives us a chance to start afresh with new ideas, dreams and enthusiasm. I wish you all the best with your move and look forward to seeing your new endeavours.

Marguerite said...

yes I have left a garden. Not nearly as nice as yours even and it was heartbreaking. I'm, kinda, over it (how many years later?)now that I have a new garden but I definitely agree with the bandaid method. Would not allow myself to look back when we drove away. Moving is definitely not my strong suit. I absolutely wish you the best of luck. The positive side of moving is that you're moving forward. New places, new experiences, new memories.

Ginny said...

We moved 7 years ago from a house we'd lived in for 23 years - a house we'd raised our three children in. An exciting but bittersweet move, because it was to a house we love and space for a garden. I didn't have much of a garden at the other house - too many willow oaks, too much shade, too little space, too little money, too little time, too little knowledge.

Potato Queen and Mulch Boy said...

Oh gorsh, I sympathize. Before I married Mulch Boy, I had my own little townhouse with my own little yard that I transformed from a weed- and vine-infested jungle into a sweet little garden. When I moved in the middle of February, the ground was frozen and covered in snow, and I had to leave behind numerous perennials I had received from family and friends and nurtured in my little garden. I still fantasize about going back under cover of darkness to dig up my dad's peonies.

Meredehuit ♥ said...

Your post opens wounds that I thought I'd finally buried. Yes. I left a beautiful garden and my heart as well in the Pacific Northwest seven years ago. But the really wonderful thing is... as much as I loved that home, that garden, that everything... I love this one more. It can happen.

Faith said...

Never left a garden behind. Hope you got a really good deal on the house! It's exciting to sell and to buy again new. Even with the headaches. Now you get to start a new compost pile!

The worst thing a person could do is move into an apartment after having a garden.

gardenwalkgardentalk.com said...

Look forward to what life has in store. I know how hard it is to leave a garden, one you put so much into, but a fresh start and new designs await.Good Luck.

Hocking Hills Gardener said...

Hi Christine. I feel so sad for you. I guess because I know how I would feel if I had to move or decided to move and had to leave all that beauty and hard work behind. I would wonder if it would be appreciated by the new dwellers or if they would cut it all down. It must be very hard for you.I guess now you can think on new beginnings and new gardens. A chance to try to create something beautiful or try something different at a new home.

Sharon said...

This was my first year for putting flowers "in the ground" at my home-I've-owned-for-three- years-but-rented-for-another-3-4-years.

So, I don't have nary a clue what putting the blood, sweat and tears in to your beautiful garden for ten years would look like -- I just know how much my 2-season old garden has come to mean to me, especially knowing it was ALL done by hand - by me (that's where some "almost" tears were shed -- out of frustration for the amount of sheer toil it takes to produce such beauty ;)

Blessings on your packing and move,

Elephant's Eye said...

When we moved, first we brought a few carloads of potted favourites. Then when the removal van was packed, erm, it was to my suprise half full of the larger potted favourites! We took the aloes, sawed off at ground level. Left to languish on their sides on the concrete slab outside the rented kitchen. When they started growing right angles up to the light I panicked and shoved them in the ground. Then dug them up. Finally here, they flourish blissfully unconcerned by all the trauma of moving. (But then we are not in Alaska ...) Can you not take just your favourite favourites with you as pot plants??

Melanie said...

Oh my the heartbreak. When I moved ( twice since I've become a gardener) I seized the opportunity to leave behind the plants that aggressively wanted to take over the garden. I only took cuttings of the ones I couldn't bare to live without. Unlike you though I have visited both my previous garden several times. I look forward to reading all about your new garden.

Tatyana@MySecretGarden said...

Hi Christine! Our gardens, past and present, are part of us. They stay with us forever.... Does it sound comforting? I tried... Hold on there!
Hugs,
Tatyana

Jim Groble said...

I hope all is blue skys for you in the future. jim

Laurrie said...

I hope you are eventually moving into a space where you will create a new garden. That would be so exciting, to start over and plan anew! I do occasionally go by our old house, and the roses (a wedding present) are untended and some of the shrubs removed. I just tell myself: it's not my garden anymore.

Barbara said...

The people who had our allotment before we did had to give it up because of their age. They told me they didn't think they could bear to ever come back and visit, which I can understand. On the other hand, I loved the idea of an allotment because even if we move I can still keep it! And yes, it's possible to spend lots of money on a garden. Good luck with your new place. And the excitement of planning a new garden.

Kate said...

Once you get settled you should reach out to all your garden blogging friends! I, for one, would love to send you some plants and seeds. We'll have your new place looking spiffy in no time! :)

Mary S. said...

I moved about 10 years ago, leaving behind a garden that I really liked. The hard thing was, the next owners rented the house and the garden (and house) went to pot. (A former neighbor told me she was sad every time she walked by our 'old garden.') That said, a new garden is a joy and a challenge, and my old house finally got a gardener as owner, so both yards look good now.

College Gardener said...

Best of luck! I am sure you will take advantage of the new beginning to create something even more beautiful.

tina said...

So sad you have to leave it behind. I have not had to really really do it before but like you I hate to see my garden decline. You might be smart not to go back. I wish you the best of luck with future gardening.

Bom said...

I feel for you. Thinking about leaving behind something that is so much a part of you is never easy. I think if I need to move, I will bring with me whatever I can (which is a lot considering I have mostly airplants and potted plants). My trees and palms, however, might not survive being balled out and I will feel pain should I need to leave them. I wish you the best of luck and beautiful new memories in your new garden.

Pam's English Garden said...

Dear Christine, I just want to wish you well and hope you soon have a garden to care for. It is exciting to start anew and I look forward to hearing your gardening adventures. You are such an excellent writer please keep those posts coming. Pam x

Christine B. said...

Thanks for all your kind wishes, everyone. Nice to hear I'm not the only one who has loved and lost (OK, sold) a garden.

CB

Dee @ Red Dirt Ramblings said...

First, I'm so very sorry you must leave and no I've not ever left a garden I loved. I think when I leave this home, I will cry a lot. Tears are good sometimes.

As I read, your first photo kept speaking to me. Maybe money is better spent elsewhere. I don't know, but the memories are priceless. Yes, where are the tissues?

Birgit said...

I know how you feel! The most important treasures out of my garden moved with me three times - the last time was this past Winter. They were way to important to me to leave behind. Plants from kids for mothersday, from parents for anniversaries - I just couldn't leave those - maybe you have a few treasures to take along that might be the "seeds" in your new home :)
Enjoy the new home and good luck!!!

Grace Peterson said...

At first I was sure I'd be hearing that you're moving to Oregon and I admit to being disappointed that you're not.

I know what you mean about wanting a clean break but maybe the new owners will love your garden and tend it well. I'm sure I'll be asking for advice in a few years when I must leave the garden of my blood, sweat and tears.

Good things await you. Gardeners are eternal enthusiasts. :)

JW said...

Your article eloquently and quite humorously described my emotional state every time I've had to leave a garden I toiled years over. With 24 years of heart and soul invested in my current residential garden it will be a monumental effort to leave it behind after retirement in about 6 years. I don't have the stamina to develop another of similar magnitude, but I'm learning to container garden with flower/veggie combos now for that eventual transition in my life. I doubt true gardeners ever quit, they just adapt to their current circumstances. I encourage you to revisit any past gardening efforts through journals and photos only... remember it at its peak! Kudos to your lovely garden blog - and best wishes in your future home and garden endeavors.

Wendy said...

wow. I'm excited for you but understand your sadness at this time as well! I get that you want to remember your garden at it's peak. It would be almost sad to start breaking it up to take with you.

I know it probably sounds flip right now, but what a wonderful gift you're leaving for the new owners! Hope you have a smooth move on the 9th!

joene said...

I've moved households enough to do without that part of moving, but I understand why you chose to make a fresh start in a new garden without attempts to transplant favorites. I tried to do this many years ago when moving to a new house. I moved hosta, lilac, and some daylilies but it took years before they finally ended up in a permanent home at the new home. I easily could have started anew and achieved the same results. Good luck with the move.

James A-S said...

I have moved a few times but not for many, many years. The last times I moved I didn't really care that much about the gardens I was leaving.

However, the time approaches when we will leave here and that will be a bit of a wrench. Although I have a yen to make another garden from scratch as I feel I have done everything I can here bar ripping it all out and starting again.
As they say, every cloud has a silver lining.

Maybe in Alaska they say Every cloud has a blue tarpaulin.

Anonymous said...

Fishing in the 49th state is my favorite recreation and I want to thank you for creating this blog and displaying comments.

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