Living in a place for 16 years is plenty of time to develop deep roots and friendships. My gardens grew wildly with my encouragement. I invited what some would call “weeds” into my garden–Queen Anne’s Lace, Wild Radish, and Fennel. I consider them “habitat plants” for the bees and butterflies they attracted. Other parts of my garden were tidy and tame: Altissimo roses, Spanish and Hidcote Blue lavender, rosemary, four varieties of buckwheat, Ceanothus, and many other California native perennials and shrubs. But we’ve recently moved, and I now have my own “Secret Garden,” wild and overgrown. My dog was seriously depressed over the move. I am not. I did not dig up a single plant to take with me (only 5 miles). I have let go of the gardens, the potting shed, and the home that I loved. My friends are still my friends–I’m taking them with me, but not the plants. But now, I have new gardening challenges and a new but old quirky 1931 house I love. The garden isn’t quite as secret as I’d thought. The front is exposed on a corner, and the neighbors want to know “what am I going to do with it?” Uh oh. We’re in a historic area, and perhaps they want the gardens restored along with the house. I’m not partial to expansive, green water-hog lawns.
While I’ve already let go of my old gardens, I’m bringing some of my design and plant ideas with me. I cannot forget my friends–the California native plants, Mediterranean plants, or the colors red, purple and blue. Those I cannot let go. Go to my website at www.sandybakerwriter.com for design and habitat planting ideas.
(The pictured natives are giant buckwheat, top right; flowering currant, middle right; and Arbutus marina, lower left.)