What is one to do with a garden full of plants when moving in the dead of winter? Certain plants can be given away, but one gets attached to others. My large-ish Hydrangea petiolaris, Grandma's tea rose, the iris, Dicentra eximia? I can dig out almost any plant in my garden at almost any time for transplant here, but they need to travel. Far. To a frozen earth zone. It will already be below freezing in a week's time there, it may never freeze here.
Some cuttings will fly in Betsy's suitcase on this Tuesday's trip, although it may well be too late for them. Mulch will be applied. Others will need to be nurseried until they can be collected, driven, and replanted. This may very well be in the heat of summer. Not ideal, but I've been lucky before.
It would seem, at the moment, that moving plants should be of the least concern for anyone leaving their position of ten years, moving twelve hundred miles away from friends, family, a network of colleagues, packing an apartment and two art studios, and going about shutting down one's life infrastructure (bank accounts, utility accounts, mail, and all else). The plants, then? Really?
Yes. Consider it a way to carry forward a piece of myself, something familiar, all component to an identity built over a decade in one place. I will not see the neighbors from the garden as they pass, but the plants will remind me of them. I will not be able to smell the sea or listen to the cacophony of the fall migration, but the plants will suggest it. The plants become a memory bank, or rather a trigger to it. They help establish myself in a new place. This is nothing new to me. I have perennial sunflowers from my garden in New Mexico, and fifty year old iris and roses from my Grandmother's house, and asters and primrose from a field in Maine. If this summer's herbicide spraying didn't kill them, I will move Mayapple saves, transplanted from Van Cortlandt Park, and Seaside Goldenrod from a pier in Red Hook.
When we move there are always things we are eager to leave behind. These things go without saying, all the better to help the forgetting. Carrying forward and leaving behind is inventive, recombinative action. We aim to change, so we change something.
jazz hands of the autumn garden. A few stolons of these will travel, but might not survive Zone 4b.
The autumn red leaves of primrose will travel. Zone 4-8.
Heuchera, or Coral Bells as above, will travel. Zone 3-9.
Well, no, not these. Although we can bag up the begonia for winter storage.
The shrub rose? Sure, it blooms forever, but I've never gotten attached to it, so it won't travel.
Today I will head out to inventory the garden. Some plants will be missed, it is mid autumn after all. And soon, very soon, a plant giveaway will be necessary. Interested? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org