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...
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The Gaillardia

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More
IPPS Sharing Plant Production Knowledge Globally Logo

February 25, 2015

International Plant Propagators Western Region Sets Annual Meeting Date

The annual meet for the International Plant Propagators' Society (IPPS) Western Region has been set for this September. It will take place September 23 to 26 in Modesto, Calif., and will include learning sessions, tours to local nurseries, a research poster display and poster presentations, various networking opportunities and an awards banquet to close the event.

Read More
Evolvulus Blue My Mind

February 24, 2015

Blue Ribbon Bloomers For Greenhouse Production

Grow what consumers want! Surveys show that blue is one of the top preferred colors of today’s consumers. Here are twelve top recommended blue-flowering Proven Winners annuals and perennials to suit your spring production cycle.

Read More
Latest Stories
Gaillardia x grandiflora 'Arizona Apricot'

February 25, 2015

National Garden Bureau Designates 2015 As Year Of The G…

Gaillardia, also known as the blanket flower, is a member of the sunflower family (Asteraceae) and a long-blooming pollinator plant. It is fitting that the National Garden Bureau has specified 2015 as The Year of the Gaillardia.

Read More

February 18, 2015

California Spring Trials Sneak Peek: New Annuals For 20…

If you're like us and you can't wait until the 2015 California Spring Trials to see some of the new genetics that will be hitting the market in 2016, never fear. We contacted the breeders who will be displaying their new varieties in California in April, and they gave us a sneak peek. Check out our slideshow to see some of the new annuals making their debut to the trade this spring.

Read More
Athena Brazil Salvia 'Brazilian Purple'

February 18, 2015

ForemostCo And Athena Brazil Unite To Supply Unrooted P…

ForemostCo, Inc. and Athena Brazil have forged a working relationship to support each other in the unrooted perennial cuttings market for North America. The partnership, geared toward accommodating increasing demand for unrooted perennial cuttings in North America, adds diversity to a recently consolidated market.

Read More

February 17, 2015

Poinsettias Had Their Best Year In Many In 2014

Poinsettia growers report a strong year in 2014, thanks to a few conditions. Growers were encouraged by high plant quality, enthusiastic shoppers and a stronger, less saturated market for poinsettias throughout the selling season. Seasonal cold at just the right time put consumers in a festive mood to buy early and often, and with no big snowstorms to hold up shipments and a reduction of supply available in the market, the season was strong from start to finish.

Read More
Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Biokovo'

February 17, 2015

Geranium Hybrid ‘Biokovo’ Dubbed 2015 Peren…

Geranium xcantabrigiense ‘Biokovo,' a naturally occurring hybrid of G. dalmaticum and G. macrorrhizum, is the Perennial Plant Association's top pick for 2015 Perennial of the Year. Learn why this tough, landscape geranium took home the prize.

Read More
Costa Farms' Season Premier 2015

February 4, 2015

Costa Farms’ 2015 Season Premier Reveals Newest V…

The annual Season Premier at Costa Farms in Miami, Fla., is the industry's very first peek at new varieties for debut the following year, even before the California Spring Trials, heralded widely as the jumping off point for new varieties. This year's event revealed breeders' best and brightest new varieties for 2016, shown in field trials, landscape trials and containers at Costa Farms tropical trial gardens. Plant breeders presented their new varieties to buyers and members of Lowe’s grower panel. Growers, brokers and other allied industry members, including Home Depot growers and buyers, were also able to peruse the grounds to see how the new varieties fared in the winter trials. Later this season, the hot and humid conditions at Costa’s summer trials will help identify the true performers.

Read More

January 28, 2015

All-America Selections Introduces Additional 2015 Winne…

All-America Selections has announced more 2015 AAS Winners, bringing the grand total of introductions for the 2015 gardening year to 25. The seven winners join the 12 announced last November and six announced last July. This year, AAS has had the most winners in one year since 1939.

Read More

January 28, 2015

Holiday Plant Trends And New Varieties

Growers had mixed feelings about the 2014 poinsettia season according to Greenhouse Grower's 2014 Poinsettia Survey. Read about their plans for 2015 and stay up to date on 14 of the newest cyclamen and poinsettia varieties on the market.

Read More

January 21, 2015

Pantone Marsala Plants To Grow In 2015 [Slideshow]

Marsala, an earthy wine-red color, is the Pantone Color of the Year for 2015, and it presents a great marketing opportunity to showcase Marsala-colored plants for outdoor and indoor decorating. Enjoy this round-up of plants with Marsala hues.

Read More

January 14, 2015

Liven Up Indoor And Outdoor Living With 24 New Tropical…

Uniquely colored foliage and vivid blooms are just two of the great features new tropicals and foliage plants add to energize indoor and outdoor spaces.

Read More

January 13, 2015

Take Purdue University’s Survey On Vegetatively P…

Do you have problems callusing or rooting vegetatively propagated perennials? The Purdue University Floriculture Lab would like to help you with these problems, but first the research team there needs your help.

Read More
Poinsettia 'Charon Red'

January 6, 2015

Dan Schantz Farm 2014 Poinsettia Trial Recap And 2015 D…

The 2014 Dan Schantz Poinsettia trials featured more than 170 poinsettia varieties. Here's a summary of the event, as well as a 2015 date for your calendar.

Read More

December 31, 2014

Engage Busy Consumers With Modern-Day Tropical And Foli…

Contemporary tropical and foliage plants fit right in with the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century. Their versatility lends itself to countless uses both inside the house and out on the patio.

Read More

December 30, 2014

2015 California Spring Trials Are Just Around The Corn…

Are the California Spring Trials on your schedule for 2015? Before the busy growing season sidelines your plans, use this handy resource to get a jumpstart on registering for your trip.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Top 5 Slideshows Of 2014

These popular slideshows from 2014 highlight everything from new perennials, to new veggies, to California Spring Trials.

Read More

December 29, 2014

Suntory Makes Spirits Bright With Princettia Displays

Suntory Flowers started to introduce its varieties to sister company Beam Suntory by collaborating on a holiday interiorscape featuring Princettia at Beam Suntory's offices in Deerfield, Ill., near Chicago.

Read More

December 17, 2014

Small-Size Plant Varieties For Small-Scale Gardens [Sli…

Miniature and dwarf-sized varieties are perfect for containers, small-scale outdoor gardens and miniature gardening. See what breeders and growers have to offer in new varieties and past favorites.

Read More

December 17, 2014

Plant Ratings From 2014 Trials Now Available In Plant T…

Now that North American trial grounds have completed their 2014 trialing season, the National Plant Trials Database has more than 15,000 plant ratings for the horticulture industry’s use in planning for 2015.

Read More