And of course, I'm awash in thinking about gardening at the new place. The woman who lives there has lovingly gardened there for over 20 years, and the landscaping is beautiful - I have no big plans to move in and make drastic changes to anything, at least not right away.
I think you have to live with a house's current garden and its denizens for at least a year before you change anything -- see the yard and gardens through a full cycle of seasons, see what comes up that you didn't know about, take care of what's there. You have to know a place before you swoop in and change it. Even in this house, after hanging out and/or living here for going on four years, there are still things that pop which surprise me. Where'd that white cranesbill come from? Did I plant that anemone? Surprise is part of the fun of gardening.
There are, however, three things that I will have to do rather soon after we move in. I'm realizing that a lot of my ideas about what makes a house a home revolve around plants - certain plants, certain colors or scents, that need to be in our yard. For a long time, lilacs held this association for me. Now, there are three things that I hold as more important, and that form my priority list for what I'll be trying to do over at the new house this summer:
- Install some half barrels in the back and plant tomatoes, almost immediately on taking possession. We'll be in the process of moving in the first week of May. This is prime tomato-plantin' season and I do NOT want to miss this year's crop. Tomatoes are the reason I became a gardener. So that's priority one, and will probably get done before we even officially move all of our stuff over.
- Start an herb garden on the back deck, also in containers. Over time I'll get more a sense of what I want to introduce into various planting beds, but for now I need rosemary, sage, lemon balm, parsley, tarragon, and lots and lots of lovely mints. And maybe some borage. The first thing I did in the house we're in now was install an herb garden on the back deck -- and now I can't imagine not having one.
Last year's parsley buddha:
- Put in geraniums - again this has become a home-making ritual for me. The second thing I ever did at the house we're in now, a year before we were married, was install pots and pots of red geraniums on the front steps. This past year, I moved them to a window box at the back of the house. This particular obsession comes from my visits to rural Italy, where terra cotta pots of bright geraniums mark nearly every doorstep. Before that, I thought they were rather pedestrian little plants, but over the course of those trips they became an integral part of my vision of welcome and home and warmth.
In the new house, I think I want to put two window boxes into the back yard - one beneath the kitchen window and one beneath the office that will be mine, and fill both up with red geraniums.
A picture I took in Tuscany of a typical doorstep:
So that's it - that and learn to take care of what's already there, and commune with our new backyard tree (we have a tree! a real tree!) and get to know the plants I'm caring for now.
Sounds like a nice way to spend a summer, no?