They Came With the House

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Recently my parents bought a new home and we just had the chance to go see it. I was immediately struck, as they had been, by its gardens! It is clear that the former owners were passionate gardeners who incorporated some rather unusual plants into their designs. As we walked around outside, my parents—who have a good understanding of plants and yard care—nonetheless began to ask me what was what, and what should they do to take care of it.

Happily I was able to give them some answers then and there. A few plants I felt 90% sure about but wanted to go home and look up to be positive. And there are several that I don't know, so I guess that's my "summer homework"—to figure out what came with the house. (I'm in my 30s now; how Mum and Dad are still managing to give me little educational projects, I don't know!)

Looking over the gardens made me really curious about the people who used to live there, and how they felt putting the property up for sale. (Andrew Keys covered a similar situation in his first RadioGarden podcast, "Moving." If you haven't listened yet, it's an interesting episode.)

Are they worried what might become of the gardens? Or did they just feel excited about starting fresh? We know they moved out of this region, so perhaps they just wanted to get down to learning how to garden in a new climate.

I wonder if it crossed their mind to leave a map and list of what is planted where. That's what I want to do if/when we ever sell our place. I would like to think that such a list would at least be helpful to a new owner who is already interested in gardening; and at the very best would inspire a new owner who has never gardened before to get into it.

But, you know, my hope would be simply that a garden—any garden—continues to grow here. And if someone is going to garden, they're bound to make their own choices and do their own thing. I couldn't expect them to just maintain what I had planted. It's special to me, but it's not really special when it comes to gardens, you know? Just that they would take what I started and keep going. I think the worst thing would be to drive by and see the garden replaced with lawn.