A Gardener Grew Here

jacketI am standing in the middle of my garden this morning, clippers in hand, trowel lodged haphazardly in back pocket, eyes hazy and unfocused.  I know there is much that should be done. Yet here I stand, staring at pots, at chairs, at the miniscule buds on a hydrangea.  My heart is heavy and I don’t know what to do first.  Do they know that I am leaving them?

We are moving.  I know that for certain now.  A sea of contracts and near-contracts have finally culminated in the finality of a move date – a closing ceremony across a title company desk slated for a week from today.  We are moving.  There is no ‘jinxing it’, no losing our nerve, no backing out.  There is only forward.  We are moving.

This is probably why they all told me not to work so hard on the garden, not to buy those pretty rarities and common heartbreakers and expect to leave them with a smile on my face.   But then they said that last time when we were renting a little Cape Cod and I spent my extra pennies on a garden that wasn’t my own, only to leave it soon after.  This uncomfortable feeling of joy tempered with profound sadness is similar, but it’s had many more years to develop – eleven, to be precise.

We are moving.  Is it ludicrous to pine for a sunset view when I will trade it in for a meadow and stream?  Will it be silly to long for the scent of my Paul’s Himalayan musk rose, when the heavy fragrance of wild honeysuckle will fill the void admirably?  After all the stress and the admin and the agro and the planning – all the energy it takes to shatter inertia and finally move – the worry over finding good tenants and the joy in finding them – do I dare make a wish to stay on another season just in order to witness the fall blossoming of a new anemone I planted last summer?

These are ridiculous thoughts, but they are nonetheless mine.  These hands have created and maintained the very thing that gave them purpose, and whatever promise of space and beauty is now before them, it will not erase the joyful familiarity they found here in this place.


Going to miss that view

We are moving.  Those who tell me to dig my plants into hundreds of pots have obviously never moved a house, much less a garden.  There is time only to pack plates, and cushions and six thousand books – scour stores for free boxes and set up new telephone numbers and forwarding orders.  My new garden space is home to a hundred deer and their illegitimate children – what chance does a fig have, or indeed a plump hosta?  There aren’t any fences to protect my refugees from beheading, and it will be weeks before post holes are dug.  If I can’t properly plant them into the pots that they will no doubt call home for many months, it is kinder to leave them.

Kinder to leave them with kind hands that wish to learn from this garden, sharing that joy with new children and new friends.  There will be new parties on this deck and new hands tackling new skills. Who knows, there may be a new vegetable or two on that oak countertop – one that it’s never seen before; and perhaps someday there will be a few new chickens in the backyard. There is still much for this garden to experience.

We are moving.  The thought is overwhelming, the implementation exhausting….but in the end, this garden is testament to the fact that eleven years ago, it all worked out for the best.  No doubt it will do so again.

By | 2018-02-20T20:41:26+00:00 June 28th, 2013|

About the Author:

Marianne is the mother of two, wife of one and the voice of The Small Town Gardener. She gardens and writes from her home in the scenic (and exceptionally convenient) heart of Virginia's wine country.


  1. Tonja Peterson June 28, 2013 at 4:40 pm - Reply

    Wonderfully written M!
    Yes! Eleven years of love and honor to your passion for gardening and then some.
    You WILL do it ALL over again and again.
    Just like the changing seasons…You will do everything again and again.
    Thank goodness for change!
    It’s the challenge spice of life!
    Love ya!
    Tonja 😉

  2. John June 29, 2013 at 10:20 am - Reply

    Talk about the push and pull of making major changes! I have no doubt that you will find that you’ve left behind the limitations of a towering Silver Maple only to discover some new constraint to gardening bliss. But at the same time your creativity will be unleashed — and this time with potential of really long term objectives. Just imagine how the English built those lovely rock walls, one stone at a time. And a meadow and a stream — not an artificial ‘water feature’ but a real stream. I look forward to many tales of gardening travails and triumphs in the new environment!

  3. Dan July 25, 2013 at 3:57 pm - Reply

    You will glory in your beautiful new land and rejoice in it. Little or lot, however much you do won’t matter, except to you, and those of us who look forward to seeing what you paint on such a huge canvas, and how you describe it in your writing. We will love it and you if you turn it into an elaborate showplace or just toss a bluebell or camellia here and a few thousand hellebores there. You have found Eden, and we all await your tales thereof.

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