One year ago today, my family and I moved into our new home. As I mentioned previously, the former owners did a great job renovating the house, but the landscaping was safe and boring. I spent the winter looking out windows and imagining what I’d like to see there.I wondered if there were spring blooming bulbs waiting under the earth (there weren’t). And because a garden, at least a garden around a house, is the integration of people and the natural world, I observed where the family walked every day, and as the seasons progressed, where they like to gather, how they used the various areas of the property. I listened to what they missed about the old garden.
One Giant Puzzle
As winter gradually changed over to spring, I noted where the snow melted first–and where it lingered longest. When the trees leafed out, I started looking at the pattern of light and shadow throughout the course of a day.Soil moisture was another factor I attempted to track. I also mulled over the plants I had brought here in containers, the plants I received to trial, the plants I found growing here, and the plants at my old garden, which I still owned and was able to dig from.
It seemed like solving one giant, complex puzzle, but gradually I began to edit the gardens that were here and create new ones. The puzzle isn’t solved by any means–is it ever?–but certain areas are beginning to take shape.
A Light Bulb Moment
In the process of working on the various pieces, I had a light bulb moment: I’m not a beginner gardener anymore! This may not come as a surprise to you, but since a gardener is always making mistakes, since plants do die–despite our best efforts–it’s easy to feel like you’re a beginner, even if you’ve been gardening for more than twenty years. But I realized I knew certain things–how a plant would look next year, even though it was a stick now–or how the bloom of one plant would set off the foliage of another–or even that a plant wasn’t going to die after I moved it, even though it looked like death warmed over.
I hope, during the garden downtime that most folks call winter, to catch you up on what I’ve been doing in this first gardening season at the new place. I want to tell you my current thoughts on the Slope Garden, Fern Alley, the Parking Pad Bed, the Secret Garden, the Front Walk Garden and the Birdbath Bed, plus a few other areas I haven’t figured out good names for.