Readers' Stories: Moving a Garden

When we asked you, our readers, to tell us about your experiences moving a garden, we were flooded with mail.

Your letters were funny, warm, poignant, all speaking to the difficulty — physical and emotional — of leaving a garden behind or of moving one with you. Here were some of our favorites. Check back again; we will refresh from time to time with more of your stories.

* * * * * * * * * * *

moving_baker_bef

The Baker garden in Indiana

My husband and I sold our house in Brown County, Indiana, last winter. I had extensive gardens at the old house and miss them more than the house. As part of the deal, we came back in the spring and moved parts of the gardens. So far I have moved hostas, daylilies, coneflowers, black-eyed susans, monarda and a few bushes. I also removed five of more than 30 fish from the ponds. I intend to return at least one more time to thin things out.

--Terry Baker

We moved about six years ago and had to have a habitat for our box turtles. At the old place the turtles had the run of the whole backyard, but every time we mowed we had to search for the tiny nickel-sized babies. Our habitat is planted in ornamental grasses and flowers that are enjoyed by humans and turtles. We built sandstone walkways to make the weeding easier. The state wildlife agent said it [is] the best habitat he had ever seen. The turtles have basking bowls and shelters made of old birdbath tops. It was extra hard to leave our old shade garden and moving to an all-sun garden. We had to create shade for the turtles so we planted the ornamental grasses. We have a beautiful garden and so do the turtles we rehabilitate.

— Connie J. McDonald

Wow, 10 years later I still miss my beautiful garden in Erie, PA. Somehow I knew that whoever bought our house wouldn't be the gardener I am so I didn't feel guilty about taking a lot of plants. I left enough so [the] new owners could still call it a garden, and I gave some away to friends as souvenirs.

Prior to the move to St. Paul, MN, I spent the previous fall dividing and potting perennials into anything that would hold
dirt &$151 milk jugs, two-liter pop bottles, coffee cans, old cracked pots — you name it. In all we transported 70 pots of perennials.

Fortunately during the month of March nothing was sprouted and the containers all got piled into the dock boxes on our sailboat trailer when my husband drove it to Minnesota. By the time I moved in June with our boys, all the pots had sprouted, and I was delighted to find two low-stacked stone walls hidden by the overgrown yews in our new backyard. It made for a great beginning of my new garden.

What I wasn't delighted with was the shade and the condition of the new soil — heavy and clay-like. [I'm] still fighting that and wishing I had the sandy, well-draining soil I had in PA. Ten years later, many of those perennials are still here. Some couldn't handle the colder climate and perished. Thank heavens for the 'Endless Summer' hydrangeas (although one of those died as well ... think that was the rabbits)!

— Jill Bull

I moved last September and it was an ordeal. Mainly because I have to dig up half the landscape and take it with me. My husband was not happy. I filled up a U-Haul with houseplants and all the stuff I dug up. I had peonies, hostas, lillies, laripe, and pointsettias and calla lillies that I plant outside in the summer. I had moved the iris last time but decided it wasn't worth it this time. Someone that was helping wanted to know if I was going to dig up the magnolia tree. Everything came up at the new place, but the peonies will take some time to be as beautiful as they were at the old place.

--Karen K. McGrew

I had worked on my yard for a couple of years, ripping out large areas of brush and sod to create landscaped areas. When it came time to move, I couldn't bear the thought of leaving it all behind. Since I was only moving 1/4 mile and had a month to do it, I decided to take as much as I could with me, including a dogwood, hydrangeas and wiegelias. It was a job digging everything up but even more of a job to place it at the new house, especially since there weren't established garden areas to put things in. Many of the plants just got stuck in the ground until the following spring. The new owners of my old house are not gardeners at all, and every time I go by the house it makes me sick to see the untrimmed boxwoods that were left behind, the beautiful bushes that have been cut out or the weed-filled hosta beds. I love everything I moved and am so glad I did it. I just wish now that I had moved everything!

— Kathy Grubbs
Hillsdale, MI

One of the hardest things I have had to do was to move from a home I loved and leave not only friends but my garden as well. I had planted rose bushes and perennials and tended to the plants previously planted around the home. Photographs taken of the flowers during their peak season of beauty came in handy when we sold our home in early January, when the Pennsylvania ground was frozen and covered with snow. It gave the buyers an idea of what to expect in the garden during the coming spring, summer and fall. I'm convinced those pictures helped to sell our home.

Despite the difficulty of leaving a garden behind, I continue to garden and add new plants wherever I live. During the past four years, I have added several perennial beds, including one surrounding a koi pond. I know when the time comes to move from here, I'll once again leave with sadness as I say goodbye to my family of plants, flowers and fish.

— Cindy Martin

We lived in the desert in the Palm Springs area and I was amazed at how plants thrived on the sandy soil and under the extreme sun. In a two-year period I put in over four dozen roses, numerous plants, trees and flowers not known for being desert friendly. Since they had afternoon shade from the house, they all flourished. Only problem was that when we sold the house the new owner wanted us to leave everything including the bird bath. Now I'm starting over and find the clay of Northern California far less plant friendly.
I miss my old friends in the old garden and hope to recreate something close to it again.

— Dori Val

I helped my mother move hers and it was almost a year-long process. My mother had a cute little garden at a house that she was getting ready to sell. When she decided to build another house she didn't want to leave all her favorite plants behind. We devised a means of "storing" her plants at my house for almost an entire season while her new house was being built. I built several raised beds, filled them with good soil amended with horse manure, and planted about 60 of her best plants, or starts from them, in the beds, including mini roses, poppys, daylilys and peonys. Everything thrived and the next spring we moved them all into large containers and planted them into her new gardens at her new house. This took a lot of forethought on her part, deciding which plants to take, and digging them all up before the heat of the summer, as well as waiting until spring to put them back in the ground the next year. The last time I saw her gardens they were so beautiful, and lush and full, even though they were only about 2.5 yrs old at the time, it made all the work of digging and replanting these larger and established plants, well worth the time. Maybe this method will help if someone really wants to keep some treasured plants. Thanks, Cheryl B

My wife and I are both avid gardeners, and therefore we have many gardens (our present home has just over 6,000 square feet of garden space and still growing).

Our biggest and most painful garden move was from our home in Door County, Wisconsin, to Madison, 250 miles south. We had to leave so many of our favorite plants behind and watch many more die in their new surroundings. Door County soil is somewhat unique in that the limestone bedrock is, at best, a few feet below the surface, but it can be a couple of inches below the surface; we even had a very large area with limestone exposed.

My wife, Shelley, and I took enormous pleasure in the reaction people [had] when they entered our yard for the first time: Most were in awe. The yard consisted of [about] two acres carved out of the 15 acres we owned (the other 13 acres had trails running to little hideaways). We worked for many years to find plants that would survive long enough to adapt to the very basic soil. It was a labor of love, as we were more at home in our yard than in our home.

When the time came to move, we were torn between which plant to move and which would have no chance of survival. We systematically went through our gardens and tagged the plants we thought we could successfully move to our new home. We carefully dug and potted the tagged plants (this was done before we listed the property and the real estate agent informed potential buyers that all the potted plants would be leaving with us). We filled a large panel truck with plants. We were afraid that maybe we had taken too many and the gardens would look bare. We were wrong, as the gardens looked beautiful with their fresh mulch and new airy appearance. We laughed and told each other that maybe we should have thinned the beds a few years earlier.

As we drove away, we were heartbroken to leave our home and wonderful gardens but also excited about the prospects of using our new "seed stock" to create another paradise at our new home.

When we arrived in Madison I was mortified to discover that the soil in the area was filled with clay. We built raised planting beds for all the plants that we brought with us. Our intent was to slowly lower the pH in these beds until we were close to that of the surrounding soil. Not being professional gardeners, we did not think about the fact that it wasn't just the pH but also that, as we dug our holes, we were creating clay pots — clay pots with no drain holes. One by one we moved our beloved plants into what we thought would be their new homes, only to watch many of them struggle and die. Some did adapt, but most did not. The last of the plants to remain in the raised beds were those that we cherished the most, a large rugosa rose that we had planted more then 15 years earlier in Door County, and the other a Cockspur hawthorn that had only been in the ground for a couple of years before we moved. Those cherished plants lived in those raised beds for the next 10 years, for we were too afraid to take the chance of losing them also.

During that 10-year period, we transformed the weed-ridden 1/5-acre homesite into a paradise. Over the years we received many compliments, and even a request to have a wedding in our "arboretum." We took great pride in unveiling the results of our labor at our annual July 4 party. Friends and family loved to see what new spaces we had created since the year before.

Shelley and I both feel the best use of turfgrass is for paths, so our "Great Lawn" was an area that measured 20' x 40'. The remainder of the yard was filled with different themed "rooms" with lush green paths connecting them. These "rooms" helped to create the illusion that our little yard was larger than it in fact was.

Two years ago we moved again, rugosa and hawthorn in tow, but that is another story.

— Mark T. Allen

This is how I kept my treasures. Before my house was listed in the fall, I went through my garden and potted up my very favorites — plants I would not be able to replace easily or those that had special [meaning]. I put them in big pots so that they would have room to grow and could be replanted easily in a new space. Then I took them to a good friend's yard and put them in a spare corner, under a tree with high shade so they wouldn't dry out and she wouldn't have to water them too often.

I even moved my favorite rocks from my rock garden. They were stacked (piled) in a out-of-the-way place in another friend's yard. Plants I loved but could easily replace I left behind. Needless to say, my garden in the house I was selling was kept in good shape and no one could tell that plants hand been removed.

Because my house sold in January and I live in New York (Zone 6) near Lake Ontario, they were under feet of snow by the time I moved to my new house. In the spring I collected my rocks and plants. I dug up a space along a fence and planted them temporarily. After observing the sun/shadow areas in my new yard, I replanted them where they could thrive. And thrive they did. I moved interrupted fern, peonies, iris, saxifrages, trillium, maidenhair fern, Alberta spruce, roses — all sorts of plants.

That was over 15 years ago and I can still walk in my garden and greet my old friends.
Marge MacDuffie, Lyons, New York

Before I was married I thought I had a brown thumb, soon to learn I could teach myself how to garden and things kept getting better and better (along with cooking).

My husband and I finally decided to sell our first home and my garden after ten years. We began our next chapter in our life building our second home ourselves with amazing results and of course lots of sweat equity! I made sure I could "store" some of my most precious trees (Katsura — 3 of them) and many potted plants, roses, flowers, vines and evergreen shrubs. I babied my plants for two years and now get to bring them to the new home two and half hours away and in a different gardening climate all together.

See I lived for so many years in the Seattle area. Mild winters and cool summers with some very warm days then moving to a place, Wenatchee, Washington, were there is 360 days of sunshine. Summers can reach 100 degrees and winters will hit 0 degrees.
I am loving the challenge of the new climate, but I miss my old garden.

I remember planting my Japenese Maple, trimming it ever so carefully in spring and fall. I watched new baby maples grow underneath, trying to see if they too may grow and then I could move them into other areas of the garden.
You could walk outside and stroll through the rose garden, 24 varieties with my favorites to be the tree roses. Mr. Lincoln, deep red rose with the sweetest perfume, just made my summer seeing it bloom. I had to leave her behind. I knew the cold winters could kill, she would be better off where she was. My rhubarb plant grew to be bigger and bigger every year. I learned how to make the most wonderful syrup to top our vanilla ice cream with, that could always take the heat off you. What memories.

I learned so very much in that first garden that friends and family want me to give them some "hints" for their gardens. I have found that I long to spend my evenings in my old and new gardens. I sketch out ideas, use computer gardening programs to inspire and of course have a large garden book collection.

I still long to have a green house. For years, I would fill up my kitchen table with seedlings. My husband could not understand why I would go to such lengths, but I loved to see them come up from a seed to their first set of true leaves, then to bloom or set fruit. A green house would be a sanctuary for my new plants and ones I wanted to overwinter. I learned how to save my mother in laws geraniums and they continue to bloom, recently she passed away, this helps my husband to know something her hands planted is still here, blooming.

We recently put in our grass and hardscapes in the new garden..........I long to have some mature trees. Of course my Katsuras have made the climate change well, as did some of my roses.

It is hard to leave plants you have nurtured and hope the new people will care for them as much as you did. I look forward now to my new plants and some old ones with smiles seeing them bloom and set their fruit for my husband and I to enjoy.

--Kimberly Arrey

I have moved four times in the last eight years. Each time I have left the earth in much better condition than when I found it. Each garden has been a wonderful learning experience as well as an epicurious adventure. My specialty is hot peppers and herbs to create chili paste, marinades and salsa combos.

Each time I have moved, the resulting garden has [become] more eco-friendly. By composting and using natural products my garden has produced more fruit. The simple things — a homemade bug repellant, compost tea and regular morning watering — have made my garden more therapy than work. I look forward to being able to walk about and chat with my "girls" to see how they are progressing.

The best thing about moving gardens is the next one or two. [They] are always better than the last.

— Jon Adams

I'm always moving gardens. [The] best time to do it is when it's muddy, preferably around April. I know you think I'm crazy. but if the new bed is ready, mud them in. Plants get established more quickly. [Also] follow the Farmer's Almanac. When it says plant, plant. The days I follow it, they get established immediately; the days I don't follow it, they hardly ever take off. I never take all [of a plant]; I always leave part of every plant moved if possible.

— Karen Lowery
A member of Logan County Herb Guild, IL

We have moved many times over the years, and every time the first thing we dive into is the garden, from creating pocket gardens to swimming lagoons complete with waterfalls. Over the years we have learned that we are merely stewarts of the land, not keepers. We garden with abandonment knowing that we create something that was not there, something that may provide shelter or food and forever beauty. When you create for nature, it is easy to let go, because it was never truly yours, just borrowed.

— Renee Carman
Exeter, New Hampshire

The hosta in my front garden is the hosta my father planted 90 miles away in the 1950s. My brother still lives in the family home and is "keeper of the hosta" (and hydrangeas, lilacs, rose of sharon and more, all planted by my father over 50 years ago). Whenever a family member relocates to a home with a garden, chunks of divided hosta are delivered in the spring, from the garden of another family member. Even if a whole garden cannot be moved, for me it's enough to see this piece of family tradition.

— Judy Massey
Dedham, MA

Many years ago, I was forced to leave my first large garden behind. It wasn't quite completed but had a beautiful hardscape and probably thousands of perennials, about a hundred shrubs and many trees. Over the years, I've gradually stopped missing it. Instead, it was merely a training ground for the grand landscape that is now in my backyard.

The current landscape has been reinvented at least five times in five years, getting larger and more professional-looking each time. The more books, articles and pictures of garden ideas that I see, the more my garden changed. At one point, I dragged in old garden hoses to mark where the potential edges of the garden might be and left them in place for weeks, adjusting the edges here and there until I was satisfied with its completely new shape. Last year, we finally put in a cedar privacy fence with lattice top. It really set off the garden. However, the workmen needed me to move every plant in the background forward. Since so many plants were moving anyway, I wound up moving all of them into a new design. Although it was the middle of summer and dreadfully hot, between diligence with the hose several times a day, and using a root stimulator/transplant shock-reducer product, not a single plant died. They did droop for a week or two, however.

The garden is my joy and therapy. It brings me joy beyond imagination to work in it, look out at it, and to see the birds and other creatures that visit and live there. — Julia

moving_wellman

My husband claims I move all the plants "to keep them nervous." But the last move was to change the perennial garden into two ponds without losing my beloved perennial garden. He was already overworked and excused himself from any part of my new project. So, with a hand shovel, I dug a larger pond, which took a month. Then I moved all the perennials and shrubs back to surround the new pond and make it look established.

My suggestion to anyone is to keep taking photos. We have an album beginning with the backyard overrun with deer which meant no garden. Then the pictures show a progression to deer fencing, gardens, one pond. and now, ponds plus perennials.

Of course hubby has been roped into some additions like making an arched bridge and arbor and vegetable garden fencing. Maybe next year we'll add a waterfall somewhere — of course, that means moving some plants.

— Anne Wellman
Newark, DE

I have a story about a camelia that was given to may parents when I was born on August 8, 1928. I was a twin and they were given two by a landscape gardener, one for each side of the steps. They thrived and when my parents decided to sell the home in 1957 they asked if I did not want to take the two camellias before they put it on the market. My twin brother was killed in an auto accident in 1946. Well I moved them to my home in Charleston, SC about 25 miles away. One of them survived and continued to grow and bloom. When I sold this home in 1965, I forgot to mention to the buyer about the camellia and so left it. I went by a week later and it had been cut down to about 6 inches of the ground. I asked for the root and stump and transplanted it to my new home where it flourished. When I sold that home in 1997 I had not settled on a place to build so in identifying the camelias in the yard to the new owner I mentioned that I did not know the name of that one camelia as it had been given to me when I was born almost 70 years ago. She said that I had to take it with me but I had no place to to put it yet, so I was told to come back and get it when I had the place which I did in summer of 1999. Fortunately it flourished again and we are able to enjoy its blooms every year. I still don't know its name but I doubt they were naming them 76 years ago. You might call that a moving story!

--Ed Ball
Mt Pleasant, SC

After living in apartments for too many years in several cities and towns, in 1990 I bought a house with a barren yard in Sacramento. I had grown up with a garden of roses, lilacs, iris, and whatever else my mom and dad could find to grow. I remember my mother using the gray water from the sink to make sure her plants had water in the hot summer when we
couldn't spare fresh water for the plants.

Many years before my father had given me a small shrub he'd started from a cutting from my mother's purple lilac tree. Mom's huge lilac was a the result of a cutting she had brought from her mother's garden in Massachusetts in the 1940s.
In 1990, with both my parents gone, it meant a lot that the shrub was still around. Though it had bloomed many times in the container, it was still small, about 2-1/2 to 3 feet high. I was able to plant the rhizomes for tall bearded purple iris that I took from my mother's yard and had also kept in a container.

The first year in the ground the lilac grew almost two feet. The tree gave us many days of beauty and scent during our 10 years in that house. I added roses, other trees and plants to the garden, but nothing meant more to me than that lilac because it was a connection to my mother's garden.

Although really too warm here in central California for lilacs, I read about icing the ground around a lilac to keep it dormant to produce blooms. So, before work in the morning I would go out in the warm winter days and put ice under the tree to keep it from getting too warm too soon. Every year I was rewarded with a lovely bounty of lilacs.

When I bought a new house I was determined to take at least that lilac with me. Even though it was late February and I was told it would harm the plant [to move it], I couldn't leave it. It was well over 6 feet tall by then and nearly as wide. It
took me three days of gentle digging to loosen the root ball causing the least harm I could manage. Then it was so big I could barely move it. But move it I did.

The new garden was a sea of mud and construction debris. I tried to dig the hole but discovered the mud was what was left of the topsoil that covered clay and hardpan. It took a week of digging with a pick to fashion a hole sufficient to allow amending the soil and planting the lilac.

All the first leaves that had come out had fallen off during the move. I thought it would be another year before I knew if the tree had taken or died. By the end of March I was surprised to see the beginnings of buds on the branches, by April I had a gorgeous bouquet of purple lilacs.

It has been five years since I moved my lilac, it's grown a bit more, and every March/April I have a lovely display of purple
lilacs that brighten and scent my garden. The descendents of the tall bearded iris continue to multiply and brighten my garden as well as those of friends.

I miss all the plants I couldn't bring with me from that first garden [but] I still have a slice of my mother's garden with me, and I feel certain she is watching over that tree and me.

--J. Gordo
Sacramento

Leaving a garden behind is like leaving a best friend. I moved from a garden I had spent three years building in Richmond, VA. The soil there is hard due to the clay content so the task of digging garden beds and conditioning the soil was quite an effort but it paid off. When it all came together and the perennials began to take off and mature, the work was well worth it. It was filled with climbing roses, clematis, coreopsis, jasmine, black-eyed susans, daylilies, etc. I had created numerous paths and walkways from crushed stone and large slate that I hauled in my truck from a nearby quarry. The people who bought my home in Virginia made their decision based on the gardens and path ways that went all through out the property.

I really wanted to take the garden with me and transplant some of my special perennials, but I think this is wrong. I feel that the garden you create around your home is really part of the home. To take the plants or perennials with you from the garden would be destroying part of the personality of the home you worked so hard to create. As much as these plants are beloved and meaningful, the new owners of the home deserve to enjoy them as well. I think the saying rings true "if you really love something you will let it go." So take some photos of the garden before you leave and frame them. You can hang them in your next home in the kitchen or bathroom so you can always remember your garden.

I am currently in the process of restarting yet another garden from scratch in Pennsylvania. The soil here is very rocky and

I am going to accept the soil as it is and use raised beds. My back yard is narrow and long. This is also creating a challenge because I have a 5-year-old son who loves to play catch in the backyard. I believe that a garden should integrate with the needs of how the yard will be used by all family members; not just the gardener! So I am going to go with raised beds that have gradual curves created with field wall stone. The beds will not extend too far into the property from the edges but will be two tiered. That way I can vary the heights of my plants to create more depth. The plants will be very sturdy perennials like daylilies, black eyed susans, Phlox, russian sage,etc. The curves in the beds will soften the straight property lines yet give my son room to move around the yard without fearing he will run into a wall. By planting hardier perennials, I don't have to worry about the occasional ball that goes into the plants from totally destroying them. I think I have conquered the design challenge and now it is time to start the garden.

--Kim Equi

For over four years I lived in a half-plex with so much rock in the ground it was impossible to dig for planting. So I became a container gardener. I used old buckets, old metal cooking pots, terra-cotta chimney pipes and sewer pipes. Sewer pipes are great for herbs. I finally sold that half-plex and moved to a small home on 1/4 acre. I moved every one of those plants in the back of Old Yeller, a 1969 pickup, and it took two trips [to do it]. Looked like a garden moving down the road. I am slowly planting after moving [my plants] around the yard several times to see where they are the happiest. That method seems to work the best. Now the only problem is I have all these planters just begging to be filled, but I am trying to resist the urge.

— Jean Radcliffe
Folsom, CAI lived in Dillon, Colorado, for 10 years where the altitude was approximately 10,000 feet. I spent a lot of time and money landscaping our backyard, doing most of the work myself. I put in a beautiful stone patio that was set in a sand base and I spent many hours planting woolly thyme between all of the rocks to give it a very soft feel. My kids learned to walk on that patio, and they were fascinated by the fuzzy green plants that sprung up everywhere beneath their tiny feet. The patio was flanked by long raised beds that I filled with fat orange Oriental poppies and endless colors of columbine. Below the beds I planted a sea of wildflowers that somehow always bloomed in reds, whites and blues in time for the Fourth of July, which happens to be my son's birthday.

The growing season there was very short but very sweet. I've lived in northeast Ohio now for the last five years where the summers can be sweltering. I brought a five-pound bag of Colorado wildflower seed mix with me, and when we moved into our current home I sprinkled that seed mix everywhere. I have some of the most beautiful columbines and lupines that take me back to that wonderful garden I created in Colorado. And when we go to the local greenhouses and nurseries here in Ohio, my kids always want to "pet" the woolly thyme and bring some home.

— Kim Reed

A few years ago (1991) I had to move from a house that I had lived in for several years. I borrowed a neighbor's truck and moved my plants and bushes also, like about 10 pick-up truck loads. When I moved again in 1997 I moved plants again, even azaleas. I laugh and say that I have plants that have more miles on them than a used car. I have a plant, a primrose, that my grandmother dug up from a hillside behind her homeplace in Eastern Kentucky years ago. They called them Cowslips and she brought it to her home in Ravenna, Ky., and planted it on the hillside. It grew for years and she got to where she couldn't get up in the yard, due to her age, to see the plant so she called me and asked me to come and get it. I dug it up and took it to my home. When I moved in 1991 it came to town with me and then after my grandmother's death in 1997, I moved into her house and brought my plants with me including that "Cowslip" that had been in her yard so many years ago. That plant has made a round trip back to her yard and is still growing.

--Terry Edwards

Twenty-two years ago, my husband and I bought a small rambler on a little more than an acre. The front yard went from just a lawn to a glorious garden with beautiful flowering beds, a cactus garden and a beautiful pond and stone patio beneath a large oak. Many of our best times were shared in this garden with family and friends. It was where we went to relax, to listen to the birds, to enjoy the dogs, the children, our lives together.

Time marches forward, though ... [With] increasing development in northern Virginia, our house and neighborhood were slated for demolition and redevelopment. Where once stood 27 homes on a little more than 30 acres [there would be] hundreds of apartments and townhomes. All that we had tended so lovingly and all that our neighbors had cherished were to be reduced to a flat building plat with the work of a few bulldozers. It was a very emotional time for us all.

In the interest of preserving all that I could, we set about finding a piece of property that would be secure from the threat of development and began moving everything. We moved almost our entire yard and gathered plants from [all] 26 neighbors. The trees that were too large to move, we had cut down and I took them to the saw mill. They now await a woodworker to turn them into a grandfather clock for my husband and perhaps some silverware chests for our children, maybe even a cradle or two.

As I look out my window now, I can see the blue spruce that my oldest son had his first-day-of-school picture taken by 19 years ago. I can walk about my yard and recall the neighbors even though we all relocated in different areas. Moving the garden was a huge task but I am so happy that I did everything I could to preserve the neighborhood in my new home. We had lived there for almost 20 years and we wanted to have the garden we had worked so hard come with us.

Over 90 percent of the plants we moved survived; from astilbe to viburnum, our plants flourish in our new location, and a walk around our yard reminds us of all our friends.

--Evelyn A. Carr

I had lived in a townhouse for about 12 years and had built my own garden by hand, so when we purchased our first house in 1999, there was no way I was leaving my hollyhocks, baby's breath and roses behind.

So without really knowing what I was doing, I took it with me. First I figured out where in the new yard I'd put the hollyhocks and baby's breath. Both have thrived. Hollyhocks, for me, are really foolproof and since I put them in, they've reseeded so I have a long row of them, all in different colors. The baby's breath was touch-and-go at first; it came back the next year and didn't really flower, but the second year it was right back to a big ball of white flowers.

I had mixed results with the roses. I dug up hybrid teas, some beautiful old Victorian cottage-type roses, and prayed that they'd survive and a few did — a climbing rose flourished, but a 'Princess Diana' bloomed once and then went away. I soaked them before transplanting them and think that the ones that soaked longer had a better survival rate.

I am really happy I moved those treasured plants with me.

— Marlene B. Colangelo

Next Up

Catch Up With Our Blogs

We're serving up the latest news, gorgeous style, crafty DIY projects, clever entertaining tips and more. Consider these your design digests.

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.