Not Afraid Of Change Anymore

Not Afraid Of Change Anymore

My wife Susan and I made the big decision about a year ago. We decided to move from our old, very comfortable house to a new location in Athens, Ga. It was time. The house was too big, the stairs too steep and the commute too long.
None of those reasons particularly validated a move, and we certainly could have stayed. But after lots of waffling and indecision, we determined we should just do it. Regardless of the verdict, though, I was having a lot of trouble with it.
 
For me, the house was not the problem. I could live in a mud hut and be just fine. For me, it was our garden, a place filled with magnificent trees I could stroll with a cup of tea. Our garden was a long-term testing laboratory for so many new annuals and perennials–it was a real garden I could show industry and gardening audiences when talking about the real performance of plants. It was truly beautiful in any season.
 
Susan wanted to be “in town,” so we found an older cottage that was definitely smaller, with no stairs and a much shorter commute. I will not bore you with details of the needed repairs, renovations and money spent. But the entire project–frustrating as it was at times and financially draining as it was at all times–turned out to be a blast.

The Garden Makes The Home

We purchased a 950-square-foot shack on a tiny lot and transformed it into a livable space. We were able to start from nothing and add all those green things people talk about but seldom actually implement: additional insulation, a tank-less hot water heater, a programmable thermostat, the newest mirrored sun lights that bring in natural light regardless of the clouds. Best of all, we implemented a water pillow system that captures rainwater from the roof. Change made that possible.
 
However, the garden was tiny. It was a city lot measuring about 60 by 100 feet–far smaller than the half acre our other house sat on. But as the new house rose from the reconstruction rubble, I found I was able to do many of the gardening things I was not able to do before. There was nothing there. 
 
This starting-from-scratch-thing can be intimidating, but I surprisingly found it liberating. The soil was hard, nasty and impenetrable, so I added truckloads of excellent composted soils sufficiently deep that plants can actually flex their roots.
 
As shady as my original garden was, this one was sunny. I was able to plan for a whole new palette of plants, from roses to tomatoes that I couldn’t grow before. And the place was so small it didn’t cost much to fill it up.
 
As I was walking around with my shovel and trowel the other day thinking about where I should plant the crocuses, tulips and daffodils I just purchased, I realized I was a happy boy. A small garden, a few plants and the joy of trying new plants–what more did I need?
 
Far be it from me to preach to you about the goodness of change. I chose my change, and it was not forced upon me. Still, the unintended consequences were positive. I am no longer afraid of new, nor am I afraid of change. As one of our newly moved friends said: “The change was exhilarating.”

Leave a Reply

6 comments on “Not Afraid Of Change Anymore

  1. Allan- congratulations to you and Susan on your new place. From the look of the before and after pictures, it has been quite a project and a transformation- wow!

    My dad grew up on a farm and, as I was growing up, was always a gardener. He started in a vacant lot next door with vegetables (out of financial necessity in the 70s- my mom froze a million white cardboard cartons of veggies) and once the vacant lot was built on, he had to give up the vegetables and retreat to the full shade on his own lot. So next came the annuals, perennials and groundcovers.

    In 1998, my parents moved to be closer to me and the grandkids. At the age of 75, he left his years of full-shade gardening and moved to a full- sun situation, and started from scratch much the way you and Susan have- smaller lot, packed clay soil hard as rocks, loads of challenges. He never knew a latin name for anything, but over the next 9 years he created a garden that brought much joy to him and my mom, and inspired his neighbors, his grandkids and me- the garden that is his legacy. Good luck with your new gardening adventure!!

  2. Congrats on your choosing your change and your new digs and & garden. I did the same 2 years ago. While my garden continues to evolve, this has been some of the happiest gardening I have ever done. Hope you’ll have a chance to come up some time and be my guest at Mohonk Mountain House , where I garden for a living.

  3. Allan- congratulations to you and Susan on your new place. From the look of the before and after pictures, it has been quite a project and a transformation- wow!

    My dad grew up on a farm and, as I was growing up, was always a gardener. He started in a vacant lot next door with vegetables (out of financial necessity in the 70s- my mom froze a million white cardboard cartons of veggies) and once the vacant lot was built on, he had to give up the vegetables and retreat to the full shade on his own lot. So next came the annuals, perennials and groundcovers.

    In 1998, my parents moved to be closer to me and the grandkids. At the age of 75, he left his years of full-shade gardening and moved to a full- sun situation, and started from scratch much the way you and Susan have- smaller lot, packed clay soil hard as rocks, loads of challenges. He never knew a latin name for anything, but over the next 9 years he created a garden that brought much joy to him and my mom, and inspired his neighbors, his grandkids and me- the garden that is his legacy. Good luck with your new gardening adventure!!

  4. Congrats on your choosing your change and your new digs and & garden. I did the same 2 years ago. While my garden continues to evolve, this has been some of the happiest gardening I have ever done. Hope you’ll have a chance to come up some time and be my guest at Mohonk Mountain House , where I garden for a living.

More From Varieties...
California Coast

March 28, 2017

How to Follow the Greenhouse Grower Team During California Spring Trials

California Spring Trials 2017 kicks off in less than a week, and our team at Greenhouse Grower is making final preparations before we depart. Find out what’s in store during this busy but fun adventure!

Read More
Cyclamen Allure

March 28, 2017

Blooming Potted Plants for 2018 From California Spring Trials

We asked breeders to give you a peek at some of the great blooming potted plants they’re introducing this year at California Spring Trials. These new varieties will show up on the retail market in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea paniculata First Editions Diamond Rouge (Bailey Nurseries)

March 28, 2017

Shrubs, Subshrubs, and Groundcovers from California Spring Trials 2017

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the shrubs, subshrubs, and groundcovers that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Latest Stories
California Coast

March 28, 2017

How to Follow the Greenhouse Grower Team During Califor…

California Spring Trials 2017 kicks off in less than a week, and our team at Greenhouse Grower is making final preparations before we depart. Find out what’s in store during this busy but fun adventure!

Read More
Cyclamen Allure

March 28, 2017

Blooming Potted Plants for 2018 From California Spring …

We asked breeders to give you a peek at some of the great blooming potted plants they’re introducing this year at California Spring Trials. These new varieties will show up on the retail market in 2018.

Read More
Hydrangea paniculata First Editions Diamond Rouge (Bailey Nurseries)

March 28, 2017

Shrubs, Subshrubs, and Groundcovers from California Spr…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the shrubs, subshrubs, and groundcovers that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Bee on Lavender feature

March 23, 2017

Allan Armitage: Plant Consumers Don’t Talk About …

Allan Armitage says it's time to get in touch with our true audience and market plant solutions, not plant products.

Read More
Spin Top Gaillardia Series (Dummen Orange)

March 22, 2017

New Perennials and Tender Perennials for 2018 from Cali…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the true perennials and tender perennials that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. Here's a sampling of some of the varieties hitting retail shelves in 2018.

Read More
Zinnia Solmar Series (Floranova)

March 17, 2017

Phlox, Zinnias, and More for 2018 From California Sprin…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Cosmos ‘Apollo’ (Floranova)

March 14, 2017

Begonias, Dahlias, and More for 2018 from California Sp…

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new annuals that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Pennisetum First Knight Feature

March 11, 2017

Now is the Time for Growers to Plan for Fall Perennial …

If you haven’t already put in your orders for the items you’ll sell this fall, it’s time to start now.

Read More
Dianthus Pink Kisses Selecta Feature

March 8, 2017

Growing Tips for Selecta’s Dianthus ‘Pink Kisses’

Kyle Peterson, Production Manager at Fessler Nursery, grew Dianthus ‘Pink Kisses’ on a trial basis and says he was pleased with its performance.

Read More
Limbo GP burgundy picotee

March 7, 2017

New Petunias and Calibrachoas for 2018 from California …

We asked breeders to share with us pictures and information on some of the great new petunias and calibrachoas that you'll see at California Spring Trials 2017. They didn't let you down.

Read More
Butterfly on a Pollinator Plant Feature

March 7, 2017

Allan Armitage: Why You Should Focus on the Functionali…

New crops are great, but Armitage says selling plants by function makes more sense.

Read More

March 5, 2017

2016 Young’s Plant Farm Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Young's Plant Farm in Auburn, AL.

Read More
kelly-norris

March 4, 2017

Kelly Norris Describes How Growers Can Help Plant the F…

The tough plant varieties unique to their regions could be the urban superstars of tomorrow.

Read More
Welby Gardens field trials

March 2, 2017

2016 Welby Gardens Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for Welby Gardens in Denver, CO.

Read More
Zinnia 'Zahara XL Fire Improved'

March 1, 2017

2016 University of Minnesota Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for University of Minnesota in Morris, MN.

Read More
Geranium Combos feature

February 27, 2017

Tips for General Combination and Hanging Basket Product…

Bell Nursery’s Head Grower Tom Wheeler provides his recipe for success when growing premium combos that put on a show at retail.

Read More
Portulaca 'ColorBlast Tangerine'

February 26, 2017

2016 University of Georgia Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University Of Georgia trial gardens in Athens, GA.

Read More
University of Wisconsin field trial gardens

February 25, 2017

2016 University of Wisconsin Field Trials Results

Check out the 2016 field trials results for the University of Wisconsin display gardens at the West Madison Agricultural Research Station in Verona, WI.

Read More