I have been thinking about expanding this garden for a couple of years now. I blame the weather for my lack of commitment to the project. It’s been too hot during the window I have every summer to move things around.
An opportunity presented itself in the past week or so that has pushed me to do this. A lifetime gardening mentor is dismantling her perennial gardens and I am the recipient of a lot of her plants. This is a mixed blessing. I’ve written before about how I feel about plants in my garden that come from friends and family, they hold a special place in my heart. For the most part perennials last more than a lifetime, that’s the reason you often see flowers blooming in odd places. They are very often in spots where homes once existed that are long gone. I have many, many plants that I can tell you came from people I love. Friendship gardening.
The difficulty in this particular gardening adventure is that I have been visiting Mabel’s gardens for decades. They were spectacular in design and there were always new and unusual plants in them. I learned a lot about the gardening of perennials from her. There are many reasons why she has decided to dismantle her gardens but for me to go there and dig plants out of it seems so wrong to me. They are part of how I think of her and it seems so sad to me to know that I will not be visiting an amazing array of plantings and have the narrative to go with it. And it’s not that I visited often but it was just knowing it was there.
At the same time I will be taking a piece of her for my yard. My sister and I walked her gardens over the weekend with her and she made a mental list of who was taking what. There were tips on how to dig up certain things and where they might go. There was also the excitement of having practically a ready-made garden for the moving.
Then comes the hard work. I have been digging out the sod for a couple of days. I finished yesterday early in the morning and have been thinking about other spots that should be dug up. Plants will be moved in the next week or two to various spots around the house, some love sun, some shade. It has also forced me to do things that I haven’t done in the past. I had to remove the forks from the tractor and put on the bucket – I’ve been shown once but never actually did it. As you can see that was a success.
All in all this project has given me perspective on my physical capabilities. It’s easy to say I’m too old and out of shape to be digging this much space by hand but honestly it feels so good doing it. Pace yourself I keep saying, stay hydrated my brain reminds me. Focus remains a bit of a problem, I want to dig up all sorts of places and know that I could get myself into some trouble with the amount I’ve taken on.
I came in for another large glass of water the other day and my father said, “You know this place once had the most beautiful gardens in town”. That, my friends, is something to aspire to.