Grief: Saying Goodbye to My Garden


Eight years ago I began to create a new garden on a blank canvas, literally a piece of ground that was cleared, tilled, and composted. This spring the fruits of this endeavor have never been more apparent. Leaving the garden behind in a move to a new home has me grieving in a way only another gardener can understand. We all know the costs of creating a garden, whatever the design, but what is priceless is the time that goes by after things are planted, start to adapt and settle in, deciding to live on where they find themselves, to flourish and charm. Ironically, I am moving to another blank canvas where nothing has been done except fencing for enclosure. I’m thrilled about that because in my current garden I had to  plant trees and add fencing, which only now is paying off with a feeling of intimacy to the space.

DSCN2816 As a writer, I often find that I must write myself into a scene, which takes time, before I arrive where I needed to be all along.  I hope to write myself beyond grief over leaving my garden. Christopher Lloyd, the famous English gardener I have written about in an earlier blog, told me….”We plant for the next generation.” I know this is true, but in my heart, just now, it wasn’t the next owners of the house and garden I’d been thinking of.

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in Stepheny The Gardener and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Grief: Saying Goodbye to My Garden

  1. It must be so tough to leave such a work of art! I hope you get to take along some of your favorites and add them to the next garden. Of course, trees are a whole other matter. The good news about the spring charmers, though, is that they are lovely even when they are small.

    We are going to miss you so much!

  2. I know how hard it is to leave a garden. I never fully recovered from leaving my peony rings when we left New England.
    I hope you can build another beautiful space, if perhaps a bit smaller. Can you pot up any specimens to take with you? Perhaps at the new house, you could have all raised beds to give your knees a break. Or maybe a color themed garden. Think of the possibilities.

  3. pbmgarden says:

    I can understand your sadness in leaving your lovely garden Stepheny. My guess is there’s a beautiful garden in your future.

  4. Rosie Amber says:

    Good luck with the new garden, I agree with Elizabeth, there will be lots of new opportunities.

  5. I have been lucky enough to live and garden in the same place for 40 years but I remember that each time my parents moved it was leaving her garden rather than the house that upset my mother, although she did enjoy the challenge of starting from scratch at one new home. I hope you can take some cuttings or divisions with you if the soil and climate in your new garden are right for the same plants. Try to look on the positive side of having a perfect subject for lots of blogposts showing us the transformation from bare plot to garden.

    • I will try your strategy and think of the new garden as blog heaven. Looking for all the help I can get, so thank you.

      Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

      Visit Me:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s