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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

A Proper Farewell

Water feature in the Circle Garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
We handed over the keys of our home (and garden) to the new owners this past Monday morning. Since the day we signed the contract to sell it on June 1st, I thought I should remember to take a lot of photos of the garden before we left. It turns out I didn't take as many as I wanted nor as often as I wanted.
A slice of the front summer garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
As life goes, I was extremely busy. Not only was I moving my garden, but even though we initially moved next door in November 2013 we had left quite a large amount of our household belongings behind. It was supposed to be a temporary move. I thought it was wise to move only what we needed for every day living.
Transition from side-yard edible garden to back garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
Wow. Have you ever had to move after living in the same house for 30 years? I don't recommend it. It is a monumental undertaking. There was a small glitch with the buyer's arrangements along the way or we would have closed the deal in just 30 days. Was I ever relieved when we were given a couple of extra weeks of time. All of this probably doesn't make much sense to you if you missed the story about why we moved and how we bought the house next door.  You can catch up on that story here.

Edible garden opens up to the back garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
As soon as we signed the contract to sell our home I began moving plants from my garden to my new garden. But I didn't want to move all my garden accessories until I was certain the buyers had all their ducks in a row. Once we got the final word that their financing had been approved I felt it was safe to start moving my birdhouses, bird baths, bird feeders, seating, containers, wind chimes, and all of the other accoutrements I used as focal points in my garden.
Rounding the bend into the open back garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
I made a list 3 legal sheets long of plants I wanted to dig up or take cuttings from before we closed. Don't worry. There are plenty left for the new owners. Turns out the thinning job I did was actually good for the garden. They have more than enough to keep them busy.
A look to the Circle Garden which then takes you to the Tropical Garden and Butterfly Gardens.
Photo taken July 14, 2014
After spending so many years nurturing and building my garden one planting bed at a time it seems only fitting to have one last look at it here with some final parting shots. There are hours and hours of sweat equity in this garden.
Front Garden. Photo taken July 14, 2014
It's hard to believe this 1/2 acre+ garden began as almost all lawn when we started. In the back garden I planted every tree (except 2) and every single shrub and  plant with my very own calloused hands. All of them began from small sizes, including the trees. I rarely buy anything over 3gal size and those are few and far between. More often than not I'm looking around my own garden to see what I can divide and transplant. So many of my plants came from friends and neighbors. 
A view from the back open patio. Photo taken July 13, 2014
My style evolved from a well-manicured lawn to a more naturalistic design combining lots of native plants with Florida-Friendly choices. I was able to spend some serious gardening time during the past 15 years, which is when the major transformation began. I dug out most of the grass the hard way ~ with a shovel~ to eliminate lawn and to create beds and pathways. Eventually I learned how to layer paper or cardboard and top it off with either good soil for planting or mulch for pathways.

The landing for the fire pit area and a sweeping border of Caladiums mixed with perennials. Photo taken July 14, 2014
Truck load after truck load of mulch was purchased every season and distributed by way of carting my trusty wheelbarrow around to shrubs and plants. Over the years I've hauled hundreds of pounds of rocks, stones and gravel for various projects. Using my own compost I amended the beds seasonally and regularly scattered grass clippings and shredded leaves directly into them to increase the organic structure of the soil. I cultivated my first ever edible garden and incorporated annuals and perennials to draw in beneficial insects. The more I learned I decided to eliminate the use of pesticides and learned to garden organically.  A peaceful garden filled with wildlife and butterflies was the result.
Back garden view. Photo taken July 14, 2014
I love to do all of it. As I'm sure you understand or you wouldn't be here reading this. Gardening is part of who I am. It's second nature to me. I actually love the design side of gardening and helping others to learn and to achieve beyond what they think they can. I'm also passionate about the maintenance side of gardening. Picking weeds, pruning, watering, seasonal chores and keeping up with every little part of my garden all year long. Honestly, I wouldn't want to garden anywhere else but Florida. I'd never want an entire season (or two) when it wasn't possible to garden due to weather conditions that prevent outdoor activity.
Back garden view. Photo taken July 14, 2014
I would be lying if I said the transition of moving from my house and garden has been easy emotionally. Leaving my mature garden right at the point when I felt like it had finally come to the stage of full development has been extremely heart wrenching. It was fiscally prudent for us to sell our home so I have chosen to accept our decision with peace. Some moments over the last 6 weeks have been harder than others. It takes time to process this kind of loss. There are times when I'm caught off guard by sadness and then I come full circle back to reason and my heart calms. Only the grace of God has given me the strength to do it. It has been an intense period of time emotionally and physically.
Back garden view. Photo taken July 14, 2014
All that said, I can also say I have gradually embraced the challenges of starting over and creating a new garden. (I'll be sharing more about what I've done so far in the new garden in another blog.) But I can tell you that rather than shrinking from the hard work (like I first felt like doing) it has invigorated me. Design ideas and project ideas have kicked into overdrive. Of course it will all take time... don't we all know patience is key for any gardener.

If you missed seeing it on my Hoe and Shovel Facebook page, you can watch this brief video I filmed of the back garden the last morning I was there.
Front garden view. Photo taken July 14, 2014
I plan to help my new neighbors to the extent they want or need. I'm sure I'll get to be in the gardens I created in the future. In my new role and capacity as neighbor and helper it will be very different.
Tropical garden view. Photo taken July 14, 2014
Life is full of surprises and lessons to learn. I can't say that I have all the lessons in this rather surprising move figured out, but I'm confident they will be revealed to me as I continue to count my blessings.  I've said my proper farewells to the old garden. Now I'm looking ahead with great anticipation to a brand new garden and whatever the future holds in our new home. AND you can follow along as I continue to blog about the progress at Hoe and Shovel.

Happy gardening, Friends, and thank you for being a valuable part of this journey!

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  1. Aw, I'm sure this is soooo hard, but I really can't wait to see what you do with your new blank(ish) canvas.

  2. I feel sorry that you had to give up the garden that you worked so hard on. But I look forward to seeing the new garden being designed. I have used many plant combinations that I found on your blog. Thank you!

  3. Dearest Meems ~ This makes me want to cry, especially watching your little video. But, you've new gardens to create next door, and you'll be able to visit your old gardens.

    May God's continued blessings be upon you and your husband in this part of your life's journey. With Him as your strength, all things are possible.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

  4. Wow, the time has gone by quickly for me since reading that you were going to move, Meems! I can understand your mixed emotions over it. I know it would be hard to leave here. I do look forward to seeing your new gardening endeavors.

    I like what you said about enjoying all aspects of gardening. I like weeding and such, too.

  5. So bittersweet for you. It must feel similar to the way a parent feels when wee ones leave the nest.
    The good thing is that, not only do you have a blank canvas to mold, but your previous garden is so close that you can be its fairy godmother!
    Continued blessings, Meems.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

Back Garden: October 2010

Louise Philippe: Antique Rose

Tropical Pathway