Saturday, October 24, 2009


The back yard is nice; but the inside is full of mold, damp chills, spiders and futility. Our home, that is. So it's time to go, to weasel out of this rotten lease and find a bit of air we can breathe without the aid of a high-tech oscillating quadruple filtration system; to talk to a landlord without the need for legal counsel; to sleep without fear of a mycotoxic silt bringing unkown disease in the still night; to drop these ugly thoughts about the evil lassitude we all suffer and inflict upon our fellow human beings.
And, hopefully, to take a lesson or two with me.

A lot of our belongings are ruined... one by one discovered lousy with mold, to be tossed into triage piles of things we never thought we'd have to clean, to throw away or to keep as priceless but with the caveat that spores spare not the sentimental.
So, too, in moving plants to a new rental with no backyard. This pile for plants I cannot part with: Hamamelis, you get to stay; little Sango-Kaku Japanese Maple I've had since a twig, you get to stay; Fuchsia, Hydrangea, Stewartia, too beautiful to leave behind, you're in; contorted Chamaecyparis obtusa, you're in but I'm sorry you're going to have to stay in that small pot for another year.
This pile for giveaways - plants I cannot throw away but lack the space or sunlight for: all my delicious berries, you'll be in good hands with my parents; Sambucus nigra 'guincho purple', I hardly knew ye, but my coworker will take good care of you (if she doesn't you tell me and I'll come rescue you); sentimental lilies, we'll be together again someday, I promise!
And this pile for those who didn't make the cut... let's pour out a watering can on the curb for the fallen, we got dead plants walkin' here: miscellaneous conifers I lost interest in, you deserved better than me; Coreopsis, your summer sunshine will shine no more; Portuguese Laurel, I promised so much and delivered so little, you were going to be my beautiful broadleaf evergreen tree, together we would show the world that laurel could be so much more than just a hedge - but nevermore; big unknown Japanese Maple that always fell over because you grew too fast for the pot I gave you, sorry, but this is what you get.
It feels strange to be playing God with all these plants I took into my care; but then, as gardeners, isn't that what we do?

Often, it can be difficult to make the decisions necessary to live more simply. It is so easy to accumulate and justify and tuck away and hold on that our lives become a clutter of half-remembered excuses and the objects they excuse. We become fiends for the vague sentimentality of things that connect us to our halcyon past, for the little glow of anything familiar. So when life shoves you aside and insists upon itself being lived more simply, i.e. by ruining your stuff and disallowing plants you've held for too long, I figure we may as well embrace the opportunity and be grateful, if we can.

All right, I'm outta here...


  1. A touching installment, to be sure.

    First-rate writing, as usual.

    Best of luck in your new abode.

  2. Tell that landlord you have a national audience and he'd better play ball! Best wishes for clean, dry air in your new home.

  3. In my experience, possessions - whether plants, furniture or knick-knacks - multiply in proportion to thet space you have for them. Downsizing your living space is the only reliable way to truly declutter and simplify.

    Having said that, sorry you are downsizing for such a crummy reason.

  4. I am sad for your lost plants, my man, but lord am I glad you moved!