The Final Countdown

Gosh, well, hasn’t it been a long time? Since the last post way back in September 2013, which talked about our relocation and leaving the garden I’ve been blogging about for the last few years, I’ve been desperate to write but have waited until now. We haven’t moved yet, but we have only seven days left in our current and house and garden before we do move. As I write this I’m surrounded by boxes and bubble-wrapped things, the patio is full of plants that have been lifted or divided and the sun is shining in a very blue late winter sky. It’s going to be another mild, beautifully sunny day.

So many things have happened in the intervening months, I want to talk about them all here, but will split them out into separate posts to deter boredom. At the time of my last post, we had made the decision to move house. Rather, I had decided that instead of talking about moving house, we were actually going to do it. The process of selling our house was very short, it took but a few days. Finding a new house took one Saturday, though there were months of planning and research for that single day. It was the rest of the property chain and it’s slow progression that dragged the whole process out, delaying the move by weeks, which turned into months. Several times it came close to collapse and had to be pulled back from the brink. I was hoping to be making myself familiar with the new garden around Christmas, but that wasn’t going to happen, then it was shortly into the New Year – nope, not then either. Finally, it was going to be early Spring, a date was set, signed and sealed. So while I am still with the current garden, I have just seven days left to enjoy it and commit it to memory.

Gaudy Primroses

Last Autumn I signed off with putting the garden to sleep for one last time. Since the process of moving has taken so long, I am now seeing it gradually waken after winter for one last time. I am happy to report that we are still having continuous flower. The fuchsias were the last plants before winter to hold on, as they succumbed to cold, the primroses I planted a year ago took over the show, colourful, bright, gaudy and completely out of place with the surrounding winter brown and grey. They were joined by the winter honeysuckle that clambers over the fence and the Christmas Box (Sarcococca Confusa) in the front garden. Its heady fragrance was so powerful it could be sniffed from the pavement. I brought a small sprig of it into the house and it was almost overpowering. The primroses carried on while the Christmas Box faded but they were soon joined by the snowdrops while the daffodils emerged from the lawn. Now in late February, the crocuses and daffodils are beginning to flower and the threadbare scrappy grass is dotted with vibrant yellow.

I’m happy to be writing again. The last few months have been a roller coaster but now I’m on the final stretch. I feel I need to fit so much in to the time remaining and I’m glad that so many of my favourite plants will be coming with me to the new garden and devastated at some that have to be left behind.

This relocation is a new start for me in many ways, a new address, a new job (eventually), a new lifestyle, a new part of the country, a new local climate, a new garden, a new blank canvas to begin again. A new process of creating a beautiful garden to learn and write about here.

PS: One of the changes was the camera I use to take photos. It’s going to take a bit of getting used to so you’ll have to suffer blurry pictures in the meantime until I get the hang of it.

18 Comments


  1. Sunil,Moving house is tough going and exciting at the same time. At least your delay has given the opportunity of seeing your garden coming back to life one more time. Let us know when you resume blogging once again so we can follow your progress.

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    1. Hi Alistair, thanks. It has been quite a ride so far. Things have settled down and we’re packing up our lives (and garden) here to relocate. In a way I am glad to see the garden gradually waken. It was at this time of year that I actually started gardening in the garden we’ll be shortly leaving so it has rounded off quite poignantly.

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  2. Sunil, I know that moving house is one of the top five most stressful experiences in life so I’m delighted you are coming to the end of that process. I am so excited to hear more about where you are moving and your new garden (and new camera!) I have missed you my friend!

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    1. Hi Lynn, I’m pretty excited too, I’ll only be minutes from family instead of hours and they have lovely gardens I can use to stock my own. It really is a blank canvas but on a much bigger scale I’m both thrilled and daunted.

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  3. Oh Sunil, I was wondering if the Apple issue was ever settled so you could get my iBook? Just curious because I understood it is in the UK iTunes bookstore. Cheers!

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    1. Hi Lynn, yes it is and I’ve got it. However, I’m trying hard not to read it at the moment, the reason is that I’m in the middle of preparing my own book, “A Year in a Small Garden”. Your, “Dirt Diaries” came out a few months after I began. I’ll be glad when I finish mine, it means I can finally start reading yours!

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  4. Sunil! So good to see you again! Well now, leaving a garden can be sad, but on the other hand it’s like a work of art – you have bought a new canvas and you will be able to paint a new picture on it. And you’ll have pics of the old one to remind you what you did. You might consider a separate “page” on yur blog of MY OLD GARDEN. Then new readers will be able to see the first one. The garden I have now is from scratch – it only had grass and hedges when we moved in and 11 years later I am still moving up the 100+ feet, year by year, and sometimes getting it right. You will find new plants, new bulbs, new everything, and it may well develop a different style altogether than your last …….. my last garden would never grow tulips – in this garden they are doubling and quadrupling by the year – oh joy!

    Looking forward a lot to that first picture of the new garden “as is” and then I’ll be able to watch you work your magic. And don’t forget you have to see through the first year without doing much to see what you got!!

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    1. Hi Mrs Mac, gosh, this is like coming back to a group of friends not seen in a long time. What I didn’t do with this current garden is take lots of “before” pictures to show the context of what the garden developed from. I plan to change that and better document the development of the next one as I will be starting it and writing about it both from scratch. I will not do much the first year as there is some work to do on the house that must take priority, but from when we went around the property back in September last year, I can remember and count on one hand the plants they have in the back, it really is blank!

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      1. Hello! That really is fun, then, to have a blank canvas. You can have fun on some of the remaining winter evenings with a large sheet of squared paper, drawing up a few exciting designs! Don’t forget a pic of the blank canvas on here as soon as you’ve moved! Wishing you an exciting time doing all this. And good luck with the move-in too.

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        1. Hi Mrs Mac, thank you. I’ve been trying to put off making designs on paper until we do move, but that hasn’t stopped me from thinking out plans in my head. The more ambitious ones involve long pergola runs for lots of climbing plants or long winding paths (IKEA style) for maximum border frontage and minimal grass.

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  5. Congratulations on your move, Sunil! We’ve moved four times in the last 30 years, and I know it can be stressful. The last move was 11 years ago and I hope it really is the last one. It’s hard to leave a garden but starting with a new one is always exciting. I look forward to seeing yours. Glad you’re blogging again!

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    1. Hi Jason, that’s a lot of moving. With this next house we’re hoping to stay put for at least the next 20 years, giving me lots of time to plan for long-term plants. It also means that there’s more pressure to get it “right” from the start as we have to live with the results for a long time too.

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  6. It’s wonderful to have you back. I look forward to reading your future posts!

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    1. Hello, thank you very much. I didn’t mean to be away for so long, but that’s how long the whole relocation process has taken – for better or worse. I’m glad to be writing with purpose again.

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  7. I’m so glad you’re back! I’ve moved 17 times thanks to the military and it’s a hassle, for sure. But a fresh start is exciting, too. will you have more gardening space?

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    1. Hi Tammy, thanks, I will have more space, a lot more space. The current garden can fit into the new one many times over. It’s both daunting and thrilling to be starting again from scratch. I will have to change the banner line on the website soon because the new garden is definitely not “tiny” and at the moment is definitely not “crammed with flowers”. I will of course be writing as I am addressing the latter.

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  8. Sunil, I had forgotten that you were moving house! I know how that can suck up your time because I am getting ready to move out of my Gettysburg townhouse in 3 months. I, too, will be leaving my garden after it wakes up for the spring, and I am happy with that timing. Good luck with your move.

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  9. This is so exciting! And a huge drag, I know. It’s those stupid boxes. Hard to believe one possesses so much stuff! So, I admit I’m very nosy: 1–where are you moving to? Will you be iin a different climate/zone? 2–What kind of camera are you switching from and what kind are you switching to? Be sure to take pictures to document all the changes you’ll be making. Looking forward to seeing them.

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