To everything there is a season …

There are some people who would say that every blogger’s post is self-indulgent, but today’s post particularly is as I have written it knowing that I will be able to look back on in it in the future and remember – and for that I make no apology.

When big daughter was very small, I retrained as a gardener and one of my first clients was a lovely lady who had an equally lovely and very large Victorian walled garden.  Fifteen years later, the lady has sold her house and is moving on, and today was my last visit to the walled garden when I have spent very many hours in all kinds of weather.  We always knew this day was coming and it’s absolutely the right thing for her to be doing, but it’s still sad to know that the season has changed and something has come to an end.

I usually visited twice a year in the spring and the autumn; at either time the sun could be shining or the rain could be coming in horizontally.  I have been sunburnt and I have dripped home looking as if I have had a bath in my clothes.

I have wrestled with various plant pests and diseases, I have rescued crushed plants from beneath one of the walls when it fell down.  I have seen the magnificent magnolia tree – bigger than any I have ever seen – in glorious flower, and the forsythia looking like a bright yellow beacon at the end of the garden.

I have watched families of robins nest in the ivy, and a sleek red urban fox race from one side of the garden to the other, effortlessly leaping the walls between the gardens.  I have stood for long moments whilst baby robins pecked at the ground next to my boots, hardly daring to breathe in case they flew away.

I have listened to the radio; plays, news, music, talk shows … they have all kept me company whilst I have worked; clearing, digging, planting.

I have sat on the bench with my tea-break cup of tea made for me by the lovely lady who owns the garden and turned my face up to the sunshine.  Sometimes I have sat in the garage and watched the rain drip off the door frame.

I have planted geraniums every year, bright red and bright pink which have always lasted far longer than the ones in my garden, sheltered by the wall and the tall, tall trees which grow in this garden and adjoining ones.  This garden will always be about the geraniums for me.

Today, I said goodbye.  I’m rubbish at goodbyes.

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54 Responses

  1. Eilidh says:

    Maybe the new people will get you to do it for them?

    • Winwick Mum says:

      No, this was the last garden that I looked after as I don't work as a gardener for other people any more – too many socks to knit! – which is, I guess, part of why it felt so sad to leave, but I'm glad I had chance to say goodbye to it xx

  2. Christina says:

    How lovely, so many nice memories attached to this garden. Maybe you can peak over the wall from time to time and remind yourself of those lovely days spent digging, clearing and planting. x

  3. Zoe says:

    Beautiful post. Not self-indulgent at all. Thank you for sharing. It looks like a lovely garden, and I know you put a lot of love into it. I am sure the new owners will appreciate all you have done.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! There's enough of it to be a blank canvas for the new owners as well as keeping up with what is already there so I am sure they will enjoy putting their own stamp on it xx

  4. FB says:

    That must have been hard, such lovely memories though.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I thought I was fine until I actually came to say goodbye to the lady who owns the garden and that finished me off! 🙂 xx

  5. happy hooker says:

    What a lovely, if rather sad post. All the more poignant for me as I too am saying goodbye, to my father-in-law. Goodbyes, whatever the reason, are always hard.

  6. Ruth says:

    It's the little things undo us, Christine. Thank you for sharing your joy in this garden.

  7. Helen says:

    The memories live on.

  8. daydream in colour says:

    I'm glad that you have shared this post so that we can share in the joy and love you have for this beautiful garden as well. Warm hugs. xx Susan

  9. Lazy Days & Sundays says:

    Mascara warning needed for this one Christine. I left my cottage 18 months ago and still miss my lovely walled garden, but like your lady it was the right time to go and I love the house we are in now and the garden is a blank canvas, in fact it's huge. We have planted up one area so far and have made a start on a second. I'm not sure we will ever finish planting it before it becomes too much for us and we have to make the decision to move especially with D's back, but for now we will just enjoy the seasons.

    I do hope you will be able to stay in touch with the lady who owned the house especially as you have been visiting for so many years.


    • Winwick Mum says:

      It wasn't meant to make you cry too! 🙂 I think I read somewhere once that gardens are only ever borrowed but that doesn't make it any easier when you've spent so much time and effort in there. I hope you get to enjoy your garden for many years to come xx

  10. Susan Rayner says:

    End of an era – such lovely photographs and wonderful memories! I hope whoever is buying the house will love "your" garden as much as you do!

  11. Karenbeegood says:

    Such lovely memories. I have similar memories of helping an old lady in her garden when I was 7, she brought joy of gardening to me, I use to go round most days even after I got my brownie badge. I'm now 60 and still enjoy gardening. So glad I joined the brownies and did my helper badge.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I did that too! I'm sure I've still got my Brownie badges somewhere – I think I even got a gardening one as well! 🙂 xx

  12. selina says:

    awww lovely story & memories for you there
    thanx for sharing

  13. Caroline says:

    You sound so sad Christine. It has obviously been a special place for you but now it will become a special garden for someone else and the cuttings and the plants given from that garden will be growing and flourishing in gardens all over the place spreading gardeny love. Gardens are a bit like socks like that! Sending you a hug because it sounds like you need it.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I was very sad to say goodbye but at the same time happy because it's the right thing for the lady to move house and also the right thing for the new family to move in. Gardeny love – that's perfect xx

  14. luluknitts says:

    A bitter sweet post Christine, but so poignant. It's hard leaving a place you love, but remember the memories and all the happy moments you've had there. Magnolia and forsythia – two of my absolute favourites. xxx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      And the times that I won't miss so much, like when the rain came in sideways! 🙂 I hope you've got magnolia and forsythia in your new garden! xx

  15. Val says:

    Such a sad day ffor you..I am weeping into my coffee here. I am terrible at good bye.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh no, coffee and tears are not a good mix! I've always been terrible at goodbyes, it's definitely not something I've got better at as I've got older! xx

  16. The other Lynne says:

    What a lovely postcard of an English Garden. Reminds me very much of my Grans and later of my mum’s. She loved geraniums. Thanks for my taste of “ over home.”

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I never particularly liked geraniums until I came to this garden, or roses, and the garden is full of them – I've just realised that I didn't mention them at all and I guess it's because there weren't any left when I last visited. I've learnt an awful lot about roses thanks to that garden! 🙂 xx

  17. Gillie says:

    😢 but lovely (if sometimes wet!) memories

  18. Unknown says:

    A very sad day indeed. But you will enjoy your pictures and memories, I'm sure! Thanks for sharing.

  19. Janet says:

    I love reading your blogs Christine and this one was especially lovely as gardening is in my heart too.

  20. StitchyDragon says:

    Beautiful post which resonates deeply with me. The connection with the land once we begin to work a plot is deep and hard to sever. Yes, seasons change but the memories are ours forever. Wishing you a beautiful week ahead xx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Thank you! Yes, you are right, we do feel a connection whoever the garden belongs to and I would always spend time walking the garden before I started work 🙂 xx

  21. Unknown says:

    I loved this blog and the photography. It struck me however that you may have the opportunity to work with the new owners of this much loved garden whereas the owner is really saying goodbye to her home and garden after all these years. In life we have to be brave and grasp the nettle only to discover it is not so painful after all:) Thank you for sharing.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It's goodbye for both of us as I won't be going back, and I know it's going to be so much more difficult for the lady who owns the house as she's been there since before her children were born and they are all grown up now with families of their own but circumstances have dictated her decision. We've talked about her moving before now but this is the right time for her so although it's sad, she knows that it's the best thing too xx

    • Unknown says:

      Thanks for your comments – I hope I didn't upset you. You have a lovely talent with photography – I really enjoy your pictures and all the colours of the changing seasons. Rather than struggle and mangle botanical names I have over the years ended up calling my plants after the people who gifted them or gave me cuttings, so even deceased friends live on in my garden:)

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Oh no, you didn't upset me at all, Sheelagh 🙂 I do love your idea of calling plants after people – the closest I have to that is "Dad's paeony" or "MIL's paeony" … I seem to have only taken paeonies from their gardens! 🙂 xx

  22. happy hooker says:

    What a lovely, if rather sad, post. Goodbyes are always hard – some much harder than others. You have created some beautiful memories, not only for yourself but also I'm sure, for the lady whose garden you tended. I hope you were able to take some cuttings, so the garden you cared for can continue in yours. Planting memories is one of the joys of gardening.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I didn't take any cuttings but I do have geraniums in my garden now! I saw your earlier comment (I was late publishing these ones) and hope that everything is OK with you xx

  23. Julie says:

    We have a stone in our garden that says 'Hope never dies in a gardeners heart' I hope the times you enjoyed here will come back in your memories and fill you with smiles and happiness in times to come.

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Ha ha, that is so very true! The number of times I have thought "Ah well, there's always next year" when something hasn't grown as well as I wanted it to! 🙂 xx

  24. Attic24 says:

    I love the title of your post best of all – it is a comforting way to think about the phases of life as they come and go. And geraniums are always a good thing, even better when they hole lovely memories xxxxxxxx

    • Winwick Mum says:

      Yes, I do try to remember that nothing lasts forever and that the sad moments will always be replaced by good ones xx

  25. Morag says:

    "The kiss of the sun for pardon, The song of the birds for mirth, One is nearer God's heart in a garden:
    Than anywhere else on earth."
    Dorothy Frances Gurney
    The garden is entwined in your heart. xx Morag

    • Winwick Mum says:

      It really is! I have learnt a great deal from working in this garden and none of it will be wasted 🙂 xx

  26. Anonymous says:

    What a lovely, lovely post- I so enjoyed reading it. It reminded me of my mother's garden. She was a keen gardener, until she became to frail. Each time I visited I would work on her garden, enjoying not only the hard work but the pleasure of spending time with her. Finally of course the inevitable happened and my mum died. I debate each time I visit the town she lived in whether to walk down to where she lived. Somehow I am always drawn there, and even though few of her original flowers struggle to stand amongst the weeds that now cover the garden the memories of times spent give me some peace. jean/winnipeg

    • Winwick Mum says:

      I'm so glad that you still get some pleasure from your mother's garden – I felt bad that when my Dad's house was sold, his vegetable garden was terribly overgrown as I couldn't keep up with all self-seeded poppies, foxgloves and other flowers that had been waiting for the opportunity to grow in his beautiful organically-cultivated soil! At least the new owners will have dealt with them by now – but I do like to think that there'll be a few poppies and foxgloves springing up around the garden for years to come 🙂 xx

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