Tag Archives: Migration

A Goodbye to a Much Loved Garden

Cherry tree - 1

When you have to move and have to relinquish a garden that you have nurtured for twenty eight years, every moment you have left becomes precious.  As spring approaches, I spend as much time as possible walking the grounds and basking in the memories of each small vignette:  The twenty eight foot Weeping Spruce growing in the secret garden that my son brought home one day from school after an Earth day program his kindergarten year. He proudly presented it to me in a small paper cup. The Beautiful Cherry that dear friends gave us in a gallon pot when our daughter was born. The Hostas I dug up and transplanted from my first house.  The stand of Brunnera a girlfriend shared from her own garden and the different varieties of Pulmonaria I collected through the years now in glorious bloom, just as I am getting ready to leave. As gardeners, we all know that a gift of a plant will always have meaningful memories attached to it and long lasting  life. As such, I walk away with an ache in my heart but with the realization that the plants will endure and hopefully will give joy for many years to come.

Pulmonaria goodbye - 1

My wish is that the new lucky owners of this piece of land, home to nesting birds that return from migration to this patch year after year, home also to the bunnies who eat non stop and the deer who make their morning and evening rounds,  home to frogs and garter snakes that keep pests in check and the woodchucks who eat the dandelion flowers as they are fresh each morning . The squirrels nesting in its trees and the chipmunks who dig tunnels in the most inconspicuous places. They all belong here more than us.  My message to these lucky new owners (as of this point, unknown) is that they can draw peace and inspiration from its beauty, bask in the shade of its mature trees and receive joy from the song of its many resident birds as we did for so many decades.

I face a new beginning in my gardening journey, moving South to zone 9 in Central Florida, fauna and flora quite different from Pennsylvania which affords me the opportunity of learning new plant families and create gardens that require less water and more sun. I will explore the rich world of Cacti and Succulents and experiment with some tropical plants and fruit trees. I am eager to explore and share my journey with you and hope you continue to join me in the adventures to come!

“A garden should make you feel you’ve entered privileged space — a place not just set apart but reverberant — and it seems to me that, to achieve this, the gardener must put some kind of twist on the existing landscape, turn its prose into something nearer poetry.”
Michael Pollan, Second Nature: A Gardener’s Education


Autumn colors

Euonymus alatus in fall

Euonymus alatus in fall

From one week to the next, it seems, the trees explode in their fiery show of extravagant color. It is nature at its best.  A walk in the woods amid cool temperatures – surrounded by flying leaves of red, orange, yellow and brown – evokes a feeling of exuberance and sadness,  knowing that all will soon be gone.

The great color explosion coincides with another miracle of nature – songbird migrations. The trees and vines are full of ripe fruit just waiting for the birds to broadcast their seeds far and wide.  Could the show of color be a call, a notice if you will, or an advertisement?  Come check me out,  I have tasty treats!

Parthenocissus quinquefolia or Virginia Creeper

Parthenocissus quinquefolia or Virginia Creeper

One of my favorites is the Virginia creeper vine.  Its fruit is almost too small for us to notice, but its foliage is bright red.  The birds take notice.  Even poison ivy offers scores of seeds in the fall.  This year, I also noticed that oaks have had a record crop of acorns.  This spells a bonanza for our small mammals that depend on acorns to make it through the winter.

“…If I were a bird I would fly around the earth seeking the successive autumns”.  George Eliot.

Ruby Throated Hummingbird.


This girl is still here, I have been watching her for the last two weeks, with a certain foreboding of the day when she will decide that it is time to start her migration.  From time to time, I have seen her fight off visitors; who are they?  I think females from the North are passing by and taking a rest at the feeder.  Males hummingbirds started their migration in August.  Only adult and immature females remain. From here, they face a 3,000 thousand mile trip to Central America!  There are still plenty of flowers in the garden to keep them busy.  And, since I have an all organic yard, there are plenty of insects about.  She is still visiting the feeder quite frequently.  I would keep all feeders clean and fresh for migrating birds.

Check out this great site.  I received it in an e-mail forwarded from a friend: Hummer Nest ’05. It is an unusual series of pictures that follow a nest until the birds fledge.  Probably the only wild nest I will ever be able to witness.  It is several pages long so keep clicking through.