The most noteworthy thing about gardeners is that they are always optimistic, always enterprising, and never satisfied. They always look forward to doing something better than they have ever done before.
– Vita Sackville-West, 1892 – 1962
Today’s post is going to be somewhat different than normal. I love sharing my how-to’s and to-do lists for the garden. Recently, though, I have been doing much reflecting on letting go of my garden. My family is moving. So, along with all the excitement and planning for what will be I thought I would take some time to share with you what has been.
My husband, Dave, and I moved into our home just a year after we were married. I was quite familiar with the neighborhood having grown up across the street. Yes, you read that right. My parents live across the street. We excitedly moved into the 1,500 square foot home from our first apartment. It was the perfect yellow cottage that I had always envisioned we would one day live in. I went straight to tearing things out of the yard and finding my garden style as well as losing too many plants to count. (So, if you’re new to this gardening thing, my first suggestion is always “Don’t keep track of how much you spend on it.” It is a true labor of love.)
Nine years ago, right before our first daughter was born, I decided to get some professional help and made a great connection with my friend, Shana, She worked (and still does) at Evergreen Garden Center and started me off on the path to confidence in my own yard. I loved digging and transplanting. Begrudgingly, Dave would help. He later admitted to loving the result of our efforts, though. Much of what I started with is no longer a part of the garden. My style and what I wanted to incorporate also evolved as I gained the necessary knowledge of what to grow where.
So many memories were made in that garden. My oldest daughter tasting her first snail or swinging on the swing her daddy built for her. My youngest navigating the uneven terrain while learning to walk. Dave building my pergola. Easter gatherings with family and countless backyard BBQ’s with neighbors and friends. I loved more than anything to share this outdoor space with others. When people would compliment the garden, I would encourage them to make their space somewhere they wanted to be. As I have shared the upcoming move with others, the most common question I have heard is, “How can you leave your garden?” There is no easy answer for this. Leaving is hard. Change is even harder. I know the quirks of my garden. The sprinklers that are part spray, part drip because we have retrofitted every part of it to work for the plants. The slope of the yard where all of the water collects. The dry areas where lavender grows happily. Starting over with another yard that I have to become acquainted with can be daunting. So, instead of mourning the loss of what has been created, I am looking forward to what I ( and, in turn, my family and friends) will gain.
I also am excited for the next family that will take over the garden of the yellow cottage. They will be reaping the benefits of my toiling. And the garden will become alive with their memories now. To leave a space I thought would only ever be mine is letting go of control. It is freeing to know that I can entrust it to another family and know that they will enjoy it as much as we have. So, good-bye, my yellow cottage garden. I have learned through trial and error from you and will take that to my new garden. Let the adventure begin!
A garden really lives only insofar as it is an expression of faith,
the embodiment of a hope and a song of praise.
– Russell Page, The Education of a Gardener, 1962