BY LAUREN SPRINGER OGDEN / Fort Collins, Colorado, USDA Zone 5
PLACES TO VISIT
11700 West 58th Avenue Arvada, CO 80002 303-420-4060
In Denver, plantaholics know to scope out Timberline Gardens. Large enough to offer a dizzying smorgasbord of plants, yet small enough not to overwhelm shoppers, this nursery is pure pleasure. Plants strut their stuff in compact four-inch pots, good for packing in a suitcase, planting, and the pocketbook. Knowledgeable, friendly help are always present to assist, and you may even have your questions answered by the tall, softspoken owner, plantsman Kelly Grummons.
At some point most of us must leave behind a garden we have made, tended, and loved. I’ve started from scratch 3 times in 14 years. How it feels depends on personal temperament and the circumstances of the move. I can offer a few suggestions, both practical and philosophical.
How much of the former garden do you want to take to the new? Moving plants is a lot of work, and caring for them until they can be properly placed can be tedious. It’s easiest to take only irreplaceable plants—rare things, those that came from special people and special places. Is there an interim place available to stash those homeless plants? Perhaps you can share them with friends and reclaim a piece at a later time (my husband calls this the cuckoo method). For my first move, collecting loads of seed was how I began again.
At my second home, it took a year to get the ground ready to receive its first plant. In such cases, get a written contract when selling your home that allows you to remove certain plants within a mutually agreed-upon time frame. In my moves I took very little, but the owners resented every bit of chlorophyll I wanted. I had to resort to the legalities of the contract to allow me the rights so blithely accorded during the earlier, jollier stages of the real estate transfer. And I did get my plants; paper and ink count for a lot in this society. But the new owners became surly at best, abusive and threatening at worst. For moral support and maybe even for protection, it’s a good idea to bring friends or family along on your digging days, or better yet, take what you want before the new people move in.
I have a simple philosophy that makes leaving gardens less painful. Gardens are about gardening, not having. Whoever gardens, that’s whose garden it is. It ceases to exist once the gardener leaves. Or it transforms to reflect the new gardener. I have never had trouble leaving gardens behind, nor does it hurt me to go by my old places and see they are gone, although I’m generally not interested in going by in the first place. As far as I’m concerned, they were gone the day I left them. They are experiences, moments in time, not meant to be held on to or preserved. And everything learned from the plants and creatures and soil and weather at the old garden will become a part of the new garden. Certainly I was sad to see a beautiful tree that I had planted be pruned badly and then cut down. But it’s not my tree. And as for those trees that remain, someone may really enjoy them, or may not. It’s not up to me. I have other trees to plant. H
This new iceplant from the cold, harsh Tarkastad mountains of the East Cape region of South Africa promises to be one of the best of its sunloving genus. Panayoti Kelaidis of the Denver Botanic Gardens first grew it from seed; it was offered for sale in 2003. Our three plants came through – 12°F with panache. In the wild it varies from crimson through red, orange, copper, peach, and yellow. The ones in our garden are a cushion-forming, long-blooming, delicious blend of red, copper, and crimson. Sources, page 96.