Gardens we say goodbye to

garage sale flower
Plant clippings in 10 cent cup on piano.

I spent last weekend with my sister in Gaylord, Minn., prepping and tending the rummage sale to prepare for selling my mom’s house.

Selling off family possessions, whether in a sale or auction, is not for the faint of heart. We were lucky. The three day crowd was a friendly lot. Considerate, and in awe of my mom’s decades-long collection of cookie jars, candy dishes, chicken this-n-that (her maiden name is Klucking) and the hundreds of church cookbooks amassed over the years. The countless yards of fabric (she who dies with the most, wins) and trash bags full of skeins of yarn went to crafters who I know appreciate every thread.

I took a few plants from the yard in June: some astilbe that bloomed fuschia plumes, some hosta that I had divided and planted, so they were actually returning to where they came from, some lilies and bellflower, a rose, and a clematis. All are doing well. I am transplanting bee balm, globe thistle, and some sedum to my sister’s house this fall.

The front garden at my mom’ s house was a southern Minnesota phenom. With a southern exposure and that Sibley County peat like devil’s food cake, it grew plants like wildfire. Nothing I grow in Minneapolis compares. I prod and clip and water and do okay, but the plants flourished with nary a supplemental watering in her front yard. They were in growing heaven there.

At the rummage sale, of course I connected with a fellow gardening wacka-doo. He drove a pick-up stuffed full of finds from the city-wide sales that were happening, and gobbled up anything horticulture, including a couple scary pieces of my pottery from the early days.

He called me over to his truck where he gave me a tiny vinca from a four-pack, a pot with a slip of “pregnant onion”, and took out a trailing geranium and gave me permisson to clip off a cutting, which I did. He asked me if I believed in God, and I stretched my arms up to the cloudless sky and said “How can you not on a day like this.”

I write this as I look out at my own garden in the backyard that I have planted and tended and toiled in and sworn at for 18 years and I think, “Wow, I will be leaving you one day.” And I get a little sad.

The next person may let the Japanese Maple grow taller than the six feet I keep it at or decide the ponds are too much fuss and fill them in. They may see my prairie-in-the city garden as too messy and (hopefully) give the grasses, sneezeweed, coneflowers, sage, and rudbeckia to someone who will love them. They may want some grass and seed in where lilies and salvia and penstemon bloom.  But for a while, the plants were here and loved it.

I guess that is all any of us can hope for.

Oh, by the way, mom is doing well in her apartment in Gaylord. 🙂

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Karina says:

    So beautifully written Eric. I know that selling your Moms things had to be tough–she had some precious collections. I am glad to hear that she is doing well in her new home. I have a Christmas cactus that comes from my great grandmother and is over 100 years old. I often wonder who long it will live after me and who will care for it. How can you not believe in God when you look at His art in your beautiful garden. Love you.

  2. Tammi Matthews (the Hort) says:

    I really enjoyed reading Eric, glad your Mom is well. Bloom where your planted 🙂 Best Tammi PM

  3. Kathy Parker says:

    Every spring when the wood violets carpet the ground with purple blooms, my father’s love of the outdoors is renewed in my heart. Those cuttings from his yard have prospered for 22 years, transplanted from his Northern Michigan home to central Minnesota. Indeed, when we look at our gardens, how can we not believe – after all, God created us to tend His gardens for Him. Peace Eric.

  4. Heather says:

    You made me tear-up and I’m grateful for it. Lovely writing and lovely sentiments. I’m proud to be your neighbor. (-: (I’ll keep working on my yard so that one day you can be, if not proud to be my neighbor, at least not embarrassed.)

    I love this blog, Eric. I’m trying to spread the word amongst all our Home Sown Garden clients.

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