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Monday, January 15, 2018

A Singular Choice

I'm not sure how to begin this post. Should I explain where I've been for six months or that I no longer have a garden? Casa Mariposa is a memory. The garden lies under a blanket of leaves, holes pock the surface where plants have been dug, and the patio is almost empty, bereft of the pots that brought so much color. The house soon goes on the market and what's left of the garden with it.

BEFORE - My new house is a 1938 stucco Georgian colonial. I cut the shrubs down the night I closed on the house. A huge cherry tree anchors the front yard.

AFTER - I closed on the house at 2:45 pm on a Thursday in mid-November and met my contractor there at 3:15. By Sunday I had a yellow house! I tore out the existing shrubs. The house looked like it was wearing a big green turtleneck.

I spent the summer after the Garden Bloggers Fling was over in my hammock and did not garden. I watered and pulled a few weeds but did not tend or nurture my plants. They grew wild and I turned away. You cannot tend what you know you must leave.

BEFORE - The back yard is an odd set of wooden terraces and poorly constructed steps. A steep slope filled with tree roots is being replaced with a retaining wall. The garage is being held together with ivy.

AFTER - I'm adding a retaining wall this spring to help level out this slope.

AFTER - The existing stairs were a death trap so I had new ones built.

I married young, a wild party girl with no plans in love with an Air Force officer. I was uninhibited and quick to laugh, an enlisted man's daughter eager for adventure. He was handsome and drove a Mustang and I was in love with being loved. But the decisions you make when you're 20 often no longer work when you're in your 40's and in September I asked my husband for a divorce. It was a difficult decision years in the making but life's too short to be unhappy. 

BEFORE - My garage is too small for my car but works as an awesome garden shed. A side porch adds period charm.

AFTER - I'm looking forward to filling this space with plants! I'm still in the process of rescuing and transplanting as many perennials and small shrubs as possible.

AFTER - Cute and funky works for me!

My new garden sits fallow behind an old house in a small country town twenty miles from the manufactured suburb where I used to live. A massive maple shades the weedy lawn and ivy grows with abandon. The existing shrubs have been torn out and a steep slope ripe with tree roots has made transplanting almost impossible. The property is small and I have no place to put most of the plants I'm so desperate to save. A month long renovation ate away at my time and the plants have gone dormant, leaving me to guess their location.

BEFORE - I kept the existing deck but replaced the lumpy stones with brick and removed the boxwood. The brick patio was built around an odd assortment of shrubs that were quickly removed.

AFTER - All the hydrangea stayed, except for one that was sacrificed to the compost pile for the crime of being planted just a few inches from the house and in the way of the painters.

All my pots came with me! Most of these pots have pots inside them like Russian stacking dolls.

I've already started lime washing my brick patio because I just can't resist a project....

But with everything I do, my divorce is as quirky as I am. My soon to be ex-husband and I are still friends, a new relationship to replace the old one. A new garden and life await.