New owners and gardens, was Composts
Sun, 23 May 2010 12:08:01 PDT
On 23 May 2010, at 1:24, wrote:

> Can you imagine the daily delight of a gardener  lucky enough to buy  Jane
> McGary's country place?

What I can imagine is wifey turning to hubby and saying, "dear, why don't you 
bring in the backhoe and level all that mess so we can have a nice paddock for 
the horses?" [PS: I am not implying that Jane's place is a mess of any sort.]

Keep in mind that Victoria is a city that is still mad for gardening, yet when 
houses with good gardens sell, that's invariably the end of the garden as it 

My estimate is that less than 1 in a 100 households here care much about 
gardening, and all the rest view anything more than a lawn, a few shrubs and 
trees, and a potted red geranium on the front steps as an impediment to 
enjoying life. More than once a house with a well-known garden has been sold, 
the buyer chirping about how the garden is *exactly* what they want, only to 
have the bulldozer or backhoe brought in shortly after the place changes hands 
or the decades-old rhododendrons cut down "to let in the light". The latter is 
a particular vice of former Albertans who are used to the wide open spaces of 
the prairie provinces.

It is, I am afraid, wishful thinking that new owners will keep a good garden 
going. Even if they are, by a freak of fate, enthusiastic gardeners, their 
interests won't be the same as the previous owner. Hence we find rock gardens 
turned into orchards of raspberries, currants, gooseberries, and other small 
fruit. Perennial beds cleared and devoted to tomatoes. And so on.

My own plans as inevitable downsizing approaches include having weekly plant 
sales for a year or two and selling off every garden plant on the place that 
has any merit whatsoever, plus gifting some uncommon shrubs to the municipality 
for replanting in parks. A melancholy perspective, but better that than hearing 
later via the grapevine that all the plants were destroyed to make room for a 
new development.

Rodger Whitlock
Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Maritime Zone 8, a cool Mediterranean climate
on beautiful Vancouver Island…

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