This last week has been a blur of swimming lessons, birthday preparations (Iris turned four on Monday and so we celebrated with a party last weekend) and home projects. So. Many. Projects.
I’ve mentioned before that our goal is to move out to the farm and build a house in the upper field. To that end, we’re planning on listing our current house for sale in August. So we spent a lot of time this week painting outside trim and the ceiling of the porch, clearing out stuff in the garage to sell, and finishing the window seat in our library. We’ve got a million more projects on our to-do list, and of course July is filled with camping trips and visiting friends and lots of weeding and harvesting (fingers crossed) on the farm! I’m not sure how it will all get done, but here’s to hoping it will!
One of the things I managed to squeeze in was picking out a few new plants to fill in some bare patches in my front flower garden. It did occur to me, as I was standing in the checkout line, that buying plants for a house we’re going to hopefully sell in the next few months is a little foolish. I could argue that good curb appeal would help the sale, but the truth is that I just love plants. I love seeing them, I love imagining where they should go in the garden, and I love getting them out of their pots and into the dirt. I feel grounded, connected. I feel like I’ve accomplished something when those same plants start to fill out and grow.
Our yard was a completely blank slate when we bought the house. It was a foreclosure, and sat empty for two years. The yard was dirt, old mulch and sand. There were a few dead shrubs and two struggling trees – a flowering crab apple and a “sango kaku” Japanese maple. The first year, we didn’t do anything to the yard but pull out all the dead stuff and plant grass seed. The second year we sculpted our flower beds and added some oak-leaf hydrangeas and day lilies and some other filler stuff. Last year we transplanted the two existing trees to the backyard (where they are thriving!) and put in a hemlock and two “autumn blaze” maples, as well as a Japanese cedar, a red lace leaf Japanese maple and tons of cat mint and Japanese forest grass. It’s all been coming together beautifully, and as excited as I am about moving out to the farm, I am a little sad that I won’t be here to see how this garden matures.
Most gardeners can attest that you end up putting your heart and soul into your garden. I certainly have. Every plant out there, from the maple trees to the tiniest sedums, I have chosen and added myself. I have spent countless hours out there on hands and knees picking weeds by hand, watering, fertilizing and worrying over my plants. I know everyone’s tastes are different, and whoever ends up buying our house could hate it all, rip everything out and pour down a sea of gravel. I know that, and yet I still buy flowers and plant them anyway.
Because maybe they won’t hate it. Maybe they’ll sit on the window seat or the front porch and gaze at the garden and love it as much as I do. Maybe their children will pluck the blooms off the day lilies and rub them on their eyelids for makeup like my girls. Maybe they will close their eyes in pleasure as they smell the root beer scent of the irises in early spring and listen to the bees buzzing on the cat mint. Maybe they will have never gardened before – never grown flowers or vegetables or fruit – but will be so inspired by the garden that I began and left for them that their own love of planting and growing will take root.
A gardener, especially a transitory one, can hope.