Skip to main content

Transplanting a Gardener



Time to talk about it. We recently pulled up roots and moved away from my first real garden. 

Well technically, my very first garden was a sandy plot near the sugar maple at the Shell Lake farm. I vaguely remember trying to grow petunias, moss roses and whatever else struck my fancy in that too-shady, but much-loved, spot for my 4-H Flower project. But my first real grown up garden, which I puttered in all on my own schedule, rather than as a shadow following my Mom or Dad, was a new experience. I chose it and bought it myself. An acre of drool-worthy, former-dairy-pasture Wisconsin black loam. Jackpot. I chose the place not so much for the house as for the yard and the potential I imagined there. I proceeded to dig and plant and mulch and weed and mow and create a garden all for myself. Then I changed my mind and transplanted and re-created it myself. Several times. My garden was an imperfect work in progress. Crazy, dirty bliss. Full of experiments - successes and failures - but it was mine. I miss my garden place. 

I don’t know how not to turn this into a sentimental mush fest for a moment. A life change like a move makes one reflective I suppose. I can’t help but note how much I grew while growing things in the ground in my first garden. I turned more into my Mother and Grandmothers there. I made countless jars of raspberry jam from the berry patch that grew along the back garden fence on the property, with only one noteworthy jam-tastrophe before I got the hang of it. I became a canner of salsa and tomato juice, a maker of rhubarb crisp, a baker of zucchini bread and zucchini chocolate cake, and then zucchini hotdish, zucchini pizza, you get the idea. Then the Captain came along, we got married, and I grew things he especially likes: spicy radishes, sweet blueberries, hops for the beer he was going to home brew. Then babies came along, and I happily turned over some garden space to sandboxes and swing sets. I started growing more cherry tomatoes for tiny hands to pick. I divided my favorite Lady’s Mantle and transplanted it hither and yon anywhere I thought it would grow for the soft leaves that are so fun for little hands to touch. I gained a new appreciation for the genus Platycodon, whose balloon blossoms in the front yard were so fun for my little helpers to stop by to pop on walks out to the mailbox. I had barely even noticed them there before. 

‘I’ grew into a ‘We’ in that garden. 

How did I just leave all that behind? I am still sick to my stomach when I think about it. But times were a changin’ in our household and I had to adapt. So I decided to bring it with me. Just the plant highlights, of course; I’m not totally crazy. I'm not. But I am a crazy-obsessed list maker, and so began The Transplant List on a piece of scratch paper hanging on the fridge: Grandpa’s rose (grown from cuttings my Mom and I pirated from his garden in Indiana after he passed away), Fern-Leaf peony (from my sister, a division from the gardens on the old farmstead she and my brother-in-law call home), Mauna Loa daylily (my husband loves orange), my beloved Lady’s Mantle, some Balloon Flower for the girls, and of course a few pots of those raspberry canes, and a start of rhubarb. A few other favorites made the cut as well to round out the design jumbling in my head for a hot, sunny garden spot at the new place, but I had to draw the line somewhere. Sigh.  

Transplanted refugees in their new plot


Besides bringing a bit of my old garden with me, the other thing keeping me sane in this transplant of home and garden and family is having something to look forward to. If I get nostalgic and feel myself turning into a bit of an emotional puddle, I just look out the window from my desk in the sunroom/porch of this now 4th generation family farmhouse. Yes, it’s in Minnesota, which is hard for this Wisconsin girl, and the soil here is a bit on the sandy/gravelly side since I have been spoiled for so long. But, nobody’s perfect. I can see potential here.



And I see toddlers riding chickens.

Comments

  1. I loved this! Your refugees beside the white building look very sincere; as does the chicken rider. What a great place for kids to grow up.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular Posts

Broccoli Land Speed Record

I'm behind in posting my seed starting progress.  On Wed, March 16th, about 8 weeks till last predicted frost, I started my pepper seeds.  I planted two cells of Jalapeno, two of green bell peppers and 5 of the colorful Carnival Mix bells.  I always plant 2-3 seeds per cell and then thin to the strongest survivor.  So they are all up and happy now: I was planning to start my tomato and broccoli seeds a week ago on Tues, March 29th (6 weeks till last frost) but didn't get around to it until Friday, April 1st.  Close enough.  Mother Nature's behind this spring too if you ask me.  It snowed last week, for pete's sake! Last night, I went down to water and check on things, and the Romanesco Broccoli seeds are already up!  That's got to be a broccoli land speed record, right?  Three days?  The package says they emerge in 10-21 days so I am feeling pretty dang good about my wicked horticultural skillz.  Here's a pic of my eager little broccoli seedlings:

Go Home

I haven't left my corner of the world past the mailbox in a week. I haven't blogged in, I don't know, years? Coronavirus is here. Our spring break turned into 'social distancing' instead of visiting Grandma and Grandpa.  Regardless of human anxiety and fear, spring has the guts to show up. Snow piles are almost melted, birds are chatty in the cottonwood tree and the rhubarb is peeking out of the ground near the chicken coop. Seeds have the audacity to grow. Do I?

Night gardening deserves a quiet night

One evening this week, Monday, June 20th to be exact, my Hubby and I planted our new blueberry hedge around the two outside edges of the potager.  I ended up deciding on 'Northblue' plants since they looked nice at the nursery and Auntie Linda, who grows just a tiny ACRE of these blue beauties, gave her seal of approval to the performance of this northern-hardy variety.  Apparently they've only failed to produce once in twenty years for her, that's a pretty solid record in my book.  I don't really have it in the 'budget' to buy eleven #1 gallon blueberry plants, so Hubby and I declared them his Father's Day gift, pretty much making them a necessity.  That's how we roll. I wanted to act like a sober gardener and plant in straight rows for once, so I actually measured and marked the rows w/ paint before digging.  They are planted on center 4' away from the outside veggie boxes.  'Northblue' is supposed to get about 3' wide so theoreti