How does one move a garden? How do I pick and choose? Sounds a bit poetic, but it’s the dilemma I was faced with last week. Forget the household items, forget the furniture, how do I move a garden I put my heart and soul into?
My Florida friend flew out for five days to help me as the designer and motivator for my front garden. It gave me confidence to start the backyard on my own. Come to think of it, my husband was showing grumblings of wanting to move about the time I started in on the backyard. I specifically said to him, “Tell me now if you think we’ll move from here, because I don’t want to put all this work into the yard only to find out we’re not staying.” He assured me he was just thinking, but he was fine staying put.
I threw myself into the backyard. I hauled rocks for a corner rock garden. I hauled more to create a dry creek bed. I probably hauled close to a 100 wagon loads of rocks to create my little backyard rock haven. The dry creek bed hasn’t even been in a year.
My friend convinced me it would be more expensive to move the rocks than to just buy new ones. “But those are MY rocks,” I whined. I saw her point. The rocks would stay, but the succulents I planted among them were coming with me. How to achieve such a feat confounded me. My friend offered to fly in and help me move, because “You are the last friend I ever thought would move,” she said. “I’m the last friend I ever thought would move,” I replied.
When she got in, I took her to the new house so she could survey the terrain. How could anyone not like seeing Mt. Rainier coming up the driveway? The previous owner had spread “moo doo” over the garden, delivered by the neighbor whose family owns the cows sourcing the doo. Her heart soared. I was winning her over with every revelation.
The next day we headed to the old house. She ravaged the front garden for plants that were sentimental to her. The ones she sent to me for safe keeping until she moved back to Washington, because I was the friend who never moved. We filled my car, then went to the new house and planted. The next day I targeted the plants I couldn’t live without, the ones that were laden with memories. Many I couldn’t take, like the 23 year old Japanese maple I planted the year my oldest was born. However, I have many first day of school pictures with my daughters in front of that tree. We searched for suckers and shooters from old foliage and cheered when we found them. Every day we came home and planted, because if we had stacked up the plants until we were done harvesting, they would’ve never gotten planted. Fortunately for us, there were several mature flower beds already in place at the new house, and I didn’t need to recreate the plot, though I have been eying a spot for another rock garden for my succulents.
When I agonized over moving from our home of 27 years and leaving my garden of 17 years, I found a quote that said, “The reason people avoid change is because they focus on what they’ll lose instead of what they’ll gain.” So how does one move a garden? Methodically, thoughtfully, and with much sorrow mixed with excitement for the new adventure.
Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in the hub of the community. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com, on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.” Her column is available every week at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.