What Happened To My Gardens?


Neglected garden has not been tended for two years.
Neglected garden has not been tended for two years.

There was a time when I took great pride in the appearance of my gardens, making sure to pluck each weed and nurture each plant to it’s prime.

Then along came a handsome man who stole my heart away. I began to spend my free time with him riding bikes along the trails of Minnesota, attempting to master the sport of golf, and generally just having a great time hanging out with that wonderful, kind, humorous soul who eventually became my fiance’.

My gardens started to lose their closely tended appearance.  An occasional spear of quack-grass poked through the decomposing layers of mulch.  Soon there were patches of grass and thistle poking through and threatening to choke out those precious perennials.

Then on a fateful day in September, 2008 that handsome man was late to arrive at work.  When I went looking for him, I discovered him lying on his kitchen floor, unable to move his left side. It was the second time in my life that I’ve called 911 in a panic (I’ll write about the first another time).

That fateful day changed our lives forever.  A stroke had immobilized my big, wonderful, hunk of a man.  It would take three months of in-house exhaustive therapy to get him back on his feet. Caring and nurturing the gardens at my house stopped that September day, as I turned my attention to the care and recovery of my soul-mate.  (Click Here to learn about signs of stroke).

Two weeks ago I began the clean-up of what becomes of gardens that have suffered two years of neglect.  My daughter accompanied me and photographed the gardens while I began to weed and mulch one garden at a time.  My goal is to have each of the gardens back in shape by the end of the summer.  As you can see, I have my work cut out for me.

These photos were taken by my daughter Heidi, as I began the “Garden Rescue Project.”
CLICK HERE to see the neglected gardens (view at your own risk).

A pull-behind sled makes a great container when you’re harvesting YARDS of weeds.

A sled full of quack grass, thistles, and creeping charlie.
A sled full of quack grass, thistles, and creeping charlie.

That evening, after several hours of intense weeding and mulching, one of the gardens began to start to look like a garden instead of a weed patch.

The weed patch began to look like a garden again.
The weed patch began to look like a garden again.

Thankfully, the company that I work for allows a flexible summer schedule so I’ll have Fridays off to tend my neglected gardens.  If all goes as planned what currently looks like this:

Neglected pond
Neglected pond

Will be on track to look like this again (in a year or two):

Pond in September, 2007
Pond before neglect set in

8 thoughts on “What Happened To My Gardens?”

  1. Hi, I got an email from Blotanical to say you had faved my blog so thank you and I am visiting yours in return.
    I hope your partner is well on the way to recovery now, it is amazing how one day can change our lives from the path we thought was staight on.
    The gardens will take time and a whole lot of effort but will be worth it.
    Best wishes

  2. Yes, I enjoy your blog. Organic gardening is my passion and I’m always interested in learning new techniques. Your gardens are very organized and impressive. My partner is recovering slowly and we’re very grateful for that. It will be a lot of work, but I really enjoy it so I’m looking forward to getting my gardens back in shape. In the meantime, I’ve started new gardens at my new home and am really enjoying that process too. Thanks for visiting.

  3. What a story to read. My heart goes out to you, to find your best friend lying on the floor. Your garden will always be there under the weeds. It always sits and waits for the gardener. But you have to take care of what feeds your soul. And that’s a soulmate. I can’t wait to see you back out there doing what you love to do. And it looks like your back at it. Thanks for sharing

  4. You are so right and your words are poetic – what a wonderful way to put it. I knew I could count on my perennials being there when I finally had the time to give them some attention. Thanks for the kind words and for stopping by.

  5. Thanks for posting the signs of a stroke; it is important to be aware and to know what to look for. It can make a big difference. I’m loving the look of your gardens; it looks like you’re gardens are happy you found them again too. 🙂 Pam @ Sallygoodin

  6. It was strange, a co-worker and I had just recited the F-A-C-E signs a week before it happened. I’ve learned a lot about strokes since then. Can’t believe how common they are and age doesn’t matter. The brain is amazingly adaptive though – thank God!

  7. Oh, wow. I’m so sorry about your guy. I hope both he and the garden recover completely. And take care of yourself, too, okay?

  8. Thank you – that’s so kind. We’re doing a little better each day and still looking forward to a full recovery. I’ll never give up on that and am hopeful that new technologies will be developed to make it happen.

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