After renovating our rural farmhouse and selling the improved property, we recently moved back to Lawrence, Kansas, a historic college town with lots of personality and a vibrant community. Despite my excitement to move, I struggled with leaving behind my established medicinal herb garden, which I started from seed and cultivated with great care.
While tending that garden, I learned that yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is an evergreen in my climate, and that both wild bergamot (Monarda fi stulosa) and marshmallow (Althaea offi cinalis) can far surpass me in height. I was pleasantly surprised when pollinators enthusiastically flocked to the funny little seed heads on horehound (Marrubium vulgare), and I still remember my delight when I learned that motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) is one of the first plants to present lush, green foliage in spring. By growing and nurturing these medicinal plants, I learned more about their unique personalities, preferences, and tendencies than I ever could have learned with my nose in a book.
After selling the farmhouse, I received an email from the new owner with a simple question, “Will you please tell me what’s planted in the garden?” I set to work creating a detailed map, with every plant labeled using both their common and Latin names. I imagined the new owner — and her two young sons — delighting in the garden’s lessons, much as I had. My sadness about leaving the garden behind was assuaged by an excitement to share the beautiful space with these new owners, and I’m full of hope that the exotic plant names and beautiful flowers will encourage the family to learn more about the plants’ many benefits. We’re now settled in our new home, where we inherited 8 raised beds bursting with tomatoes, cucumbers, and peppers. I made bruschetta last night, and gave thanks for never having to skip a beat this gardening season.
Have you had to say goodbye to a beloved garden, or have you inherited a wonderful new one? I’d love to hear your stories of gardens lost or gained at HKincaid@OgdenPubs.com. Who knows, perhaps your story will make it into the next issue.