ghosts of gardens past


July came into town humid so I was up early to garden. Gardening in the early morning can be almost magical, even when it you can feel the heaviness of later day humidity in the air.

The early morning is quiet, save for the birds. And the morning song of song birds is different than evening song. In addition to the birds there is the early morning squirrel chatter and the chipmunks darting around. We seem to have a lot of chipmunks this year and I had forgotten what little clowns they can be.

This morning as I was gardening I thought about the lady who once lived in my home. We never met her as she had passed away long before we moved in. But I have heard about her from neighbors at the election polls and her children have been kind enough to share some memories. I am told we shared a couple of things we liked in common: needlework and gardening.


Much like me and how I feel about this house, this was her house to love once , too. She raised her family here and inside the house I have purposely kept a reminder of her. In the basement in our laundry room are shelves and hanging bars. At the front of the shelf are names written long ago in pencil. The names of everyone in the family before us, written in I imagine her handwriting. It makes me smile every time I see it.

This is a very happy house for us, and I love the neighborhood. Of course, one of the things I love best is my garden.

The garden is mine, but it is also inherited. I have been told that the lady who lived her before us loved to garden. And I could see that as soon as I started to get to work on it. The bones of the garden were laid out by her and nature. As I cleaned up and trimmed back overgrown plants I discovered flower beds and plants.


I wondered as I trimmed an old fashioned wigelia back this morning if she would approve of the changes. The garden I inherited didn’t have some plants I liked, but were true to the 1960s when she started the garden. I kept most of the plants, but things like yew bushes I got rid of immediately. Soon to follow is a giant pyracantha or firethorn. I have never liked them and the thorns are ridiculous.

But other things I have discovered over time I love. Old fashioned viburnum, garden phlox, and yellow and purple flag irises. The previous gardener also left me a footprint of where bulbs and ferns grow well. And when I garden, I wonder sometimes if she would approve how her garden has evolved to become now, my garden.

Gardening is an evolution. Year after year, season after season. My goal is to make my garden a four season garden with something to look at an love all year round. I am lucky I inherited a garden with interesting bones. It is part of what makes it so special!

Happy gardening!

2 thoughts on “ghosts of gardens past

  1. I enjoy reading your posts – both those that inform and those that ponder – as they often seem to echo thoughts and opinions of my own. The post below was particularly touching. Thank you for sharing!


  2. I am sure she would approve. This message is absolutely filled with love of a garden and caring for the previous owner of your now beautiful garden. I am happy for you that your garden gives you so much peace.

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