Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Goodbye Garden. I have put my heart and soul into creating you, but it is now time that we must part. It kills me to let you go. I built you with my bare hands from nothing but a vision and a desire to return a little bit of scarred land back to nature. Through blood (the blisters, cuts, sunburns, a cracked finger, and wasp stings!), sweat (omg the buckets and buckets and buckets of sweat!), and tears (those times I killed plants by planting the drought tolerant babies too close to the fence where the neighbor lady drained her above ground ginormous pool at the end of the season), I created you from nothing.

In a place that was desolate monoculture grass and landscapers 'red death' and devoid of animal life, I tirelessly ripped up lawn with my straight-edged shovel and planted native and adapted trees, shrubs, and flowers in its place. I created a space for birds galore - finches, mockingbirds, sparrows, grackles, woodpeckers, waxwings, bluejays, chickadees, cardinals, warblers, painted buntings, hummingbirds, bobwhites, falcons, doves, orioles, tanangers, even a cuckoo and an untold more.

Painted bunting (these guys are so flighty - this is the best shot I was ever able to get):

A space for toads, anoles, and geckos who helped me control the exploding ant and wolf spider population without pesticides right after I moved in. A place full of bees and butterflies. A place of Zen. A place for me and my garden friends..

In this space of Zen I added a lion fountain in the entryway and a ripply blue fountain in the back, which I adore and the wildlife love. I really want to take that blue fountain with me more than anything, but it belongs to the garden and so will stay with the garden. There will be other jars to make fountains from, but that blue fountain - it was special. I put that thing in myself - just like everything else in the garden, it was built by me.

I watched hummingbirds try to perch on it in the scorching heat of the summer and slide off the side in futile determination, and watched cardinals and mockingbirds drink from it in the icy winter storms. The blue fountain is the anchor of the backyard garden and I'll miss it, but as the anchor, it belongs to the garden.

I'll miss you limestone and pea gravel garden path, that became a nursery for texas bluebells - my new favorite wildflower on the planet - and that I built by hand from hand-picked limestone scavenged from housing development garbage piles. And I'll miss the Inca doves that spend the sultry summer days resting on the limestone rocks of the path in the dead heat of July and August:

I'll miss you veggie garden. Every year a new challenge in the increasingly torrid texas heat:

I'll miss you texas red oak - I so don't care people tried to talk me out of purchasing you and called you the 'typhoid mary' of the oak world. I planted you anyway and you thrived:

I'll miss sitting on the back porch in the sultry summer evenings breathing in the heavy scent of the datura and the moonflowers of the evening garden:

Goodbye stately sagos - you outperformed my wildest dreams and grew faster than I ever imagined:

Goodbye anacacho orchid tree - whom started my gardening obsession in Central Texas:

Goodbye Texas Mt. laurel, how I will miss your grape soda scent that is so intoxicating to moths, butterflies, and me:

Goodbye eve's necklacepod tree and flameleaf sumac that I ordered special from the now defunct nursery around the corner:

Goodbye gorgeous, ginormous agaves whom are now nearly as large as Volkswagon beetles:

Goodbye hummingbirds, those wonderful flying jewels of my garden:

Goodbye all my wonderful bulbs and plants that I searched tirelessly for in local nurseries and online stores. I wish I could take you all with me.

But not to fret! There is a new beginning in an ending. I'm bringing multiple bulbs and starts with me. I have seeds from many of my garden flowers and trees. I'll be starting a new garden from the babies of the old.

And there will be new plants to discover and new gardening challenges to be had. You see, I'm moving back to the Pacific Northwest. The universe has been screaming at me the past several months that it is time to go. I'm listening. Really, I knew it was time. I knew last summer when I went back to visit and sat on the beach with the pacific ocean crashing in my ears that it was time to go home.

But I'll always leave a piece of my heart in Central Texas. In Austin. In my garden that I built here for an entire decade. The garden that I now hand over to new owners, as much as it pains me. I hope they enjoy the garden and its inhabitants as much as I enjoyed building it.

Gardens are living pieces of art to me. Fleeting and often in the eye of the beholder. Time will wash away my mark, but I'll always have memories, seeds, bulbs, and starts. Heck, I read somewhere that a guy on Queen Anne has a huge anacacho orchid tree. Well, I'm gonna have one too! The orchid tree that started my garden produces many babies and one of them is already potted up and coming with me. And I have anacacho orchid tree seeds as well, just in case.

Goodbye Garden. I'll miss you and you have brought me so much joy, but it's time to move on.


Darla said...

Pass the tissue have a good attitude so you must have peace about your move. How hard it must be leaving such a place of beauty that you have created! I would have to have a uhaul just for cuttings and such...I hope you continue blogging, I just found you!

Amy said...

What an incredible landscape and habitat you've created! Can't even imagine the pangs you're feeling at leaving, but the new owners are very lucky. Enjoy the crashing waves and lush summer growing season in your new home.

Tina said...

I read your blog from time-to-time--I'm relatively new to the blogging world, though not new to gardening at all. Lovely, lovely post! So sorry you're leaving--Texas needs gardeners like you, who appreciate it for what it is: cantankerous, hot, difficult-to- get-along-with, hot, a haven for multitudes of wildlife, hot, diverse, hot. And on and on. Be well in your new place.

sweetbay said...

I have enjoyed reading your blog for a few years. You've created a beautiful place and that must give you much joy. I hope you keep blogging after the move!

NotSoAngryRedHead said...

It's good to go home knowing that you left beautiful footsteps along the way.

Roberta said...

I'm a fan of your blog and I'll miss reading about your garden. I don't blame you for heading home. I'm tempted to do the same from time to time. Good luck in your new garden!

Pam/Digging said...

It's hard to leave a garden but exciting to start a new one. You'll be back in a gardener's paradise soon, and I know you won't miss the Death Star -- ha! Good luck to you! Will you continue your blog once you get settled again?

Lee17 said...

Hi all, Thanks for the kind words. I will continue blogging. I'm settling in right now, and already planning a new space. :)

SomeLikeItHot said...

Good luck to you! I've enjoyed reading your blog. I'll have to keep it on my list to see how things are in the NW.


Annie in Austin said...

You've been on my blogroll for years, Lee17 - and I've always felt that your blog's name spoke for many of us in central Texas! I have family in Washington State and know how beautiful it can be so there is also a little jealousy thing going on here.

Now that you will garden where the rays are more gentle and more welcome, you might be saying "The Sun is Kissing Me"!

Best of luck,
Annie at the Transplantable Rose