Monday, March 15, 2010

My Former Garden

All things come to an end, even good things, when it is time. There was a certain amount of dread about visiting my former garden. How would I feel about the inevitable changes? Curiosity over came the dread and a warm welcome made the visit easier.

The changes were minimal at best and required to restore a former plant nursery and plant hoarders abode to the status of a yard. Here the jam packed bed of bromeliads has been thinned and organized. The excess, of which there had to have been hundreds, went to a good landscaping women.

Potted leftovers found new life and new homes planted in the ground.

I was not strongly moved. I felt no tugs, no pangs of loss about the garden. The saddest part was noticing the round river stones that marked the resting place of the garden's lion spirits had been removed. Yet, this garden is still their familiar home.

Viewed from above it looks much the same as the day I left.

A green lawn replaces a former tangle of potted nursery plants.

The space is defined and looks quite nice I think.

Other sections could use some major maintenance attention. Stuff grows here with a vengeance. In some respects I am enjoying the reprieve.

When you have created as many gardens as I have, you learn out of necessity how to let them go.

That lesson was well learned.

I had assumed, knowing my former landlords quite well after sixteen years of living as neighbors and twenty years as friends, that the gardens would have vanished into the dusts of Kihei by now. It was quite a pleasure to see that much of it was still there.

The fundamental backbone of a garden that had been well planned, taking into consideration the view from above was still intact. A second visit that involved a consultation with its new caregivers allowed a more detailed look. It was interesting to see what was still there and what had gone missing.

Thatch Palms, a Thrinax species, I had grown from seed were added to the new landscaping.

A slope of Aloe vera acts as ground cover and survives on the meager rains of the leeward side of Maui.

I was told that after I had left plant thieves entered the garden and stole plants, even digging some from the ground. I guess I had a bit of a reputation for plant geekery and an unusual collection.

The bromeliad collection was a late addition to the garden in a difficult dry shady sloping location. They have become dominant players in Hawaiian landscapes in the last decade.

Zamia furfuracea was still there. It was a few of the Zamia pumila that went missing.

One heiau/pyramid looks like it may have had a poor patch job. A plastic garden shed is its new companion and stones must have been dislodged during the set up of another hideous plastic house.

The poor poor Buttercup tree with its head cut off and half of its body removed is surprisingly still there. I figured it was toast the day that I left. Really I think it should be put out of its misery.

Some of its progeny were planted in undisclosed secure locations to carry on.

I can let go of my former garden because the lesson well learned is that gardening is as much the process as the place or a final product never really reached. The garden lives within me and I carry it with me to each new piece of ground I call home.

My real garden awaits the return of spring and me back home in North Carolina.


Randy Emmitt said...

Funny yesterday we found that Meg's childhood home was having a moving sale. So we visited it. The gardens were entirely removed along with many huge camellias. Invited inside to take a look and Meg and her sister showed the owners a secret hiding place that contained a note not found by 3 new owners. It was a lot of fun.

Kitty said...

It has always been the yard that I have regretted whenever I have moved to a new home. The inside has never had as much loving plans as the outside.

Saturday, Chuck and I were driving through Carrboro and passed a townhouse community that is walking distance to EVERYthing we could need. I had looked at one of them before I bought this house and know that I could probably sell this and replace it with one of those for something close to an even trade.

But, we would have to leave this acre that has been getting lovelier every season.

We toyed with the idea in idle conversation for a few minutes and came to the conclusion that we really have no inclination to leave this spot.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I think it is always difficult to go back the first time but it gets easier as time rolls on. Your former garden is beautiful even if it isn't how you would have done it.

Anonymous said...

Chris, I wondered if you visited your former home if you would mention your kitties. It brought tears to my eyes when you said the stones were gone.

sweetbay said...

I would not be surprised if the current owner was apprehensive too. ;) I know I would have been!

It looks lovely.

chuck b. said...

Why would the owner change anything? That garden adds value.

Plant thieves--I hate them!

Siria said...

Hi Christopher! Your former garden looks beautiful, and I can only imagine how lovely it must have been. Thanks for sharing it with us! Memories are so special and you will carry them with you forever.

Lola said...

Thank you Christopher for sharing your former residence. It all looks beautiful, maybe not as you would have it, but non the less beautiful. I can imagine the increase in the heart beat to visit what once was your domain. Even tho the stones were no longer there your heart knew where the spirits rose from. Your heart knows that those wonderful spirits shall forever remain there, whence they lived.
For some reason it is always nice to return to what we remember in mind but the heart {or a portion of it} will always remain.
Thank you dear friend.