the last week of summer

When my wife died, quite a few people told me I should move out of my house. Move out of a paid-for house and get another mortgage, with no job? Totally insane. And I’d probably have to take the shed we built together with me, wherever I moved.

she carved this in the shed

I can just see me living in a shack in the Portland area, getting calls from the bank about the almost daily activity on my debit card going to this place as though there were something wrong about living in a shack and surrounding yourself with plants.

Fortunately for my need to eat and feed the dog, there is a vague delineation, not even hinted at on the hardiness zone maps, between what I can reasonably expect to be able to overwinter here and what is completely hopeless. In truth, oversummering new plants is much more of a challenge.

Some plants I got from Digging Dog and of course Cistus, the latter possibly representing a whole boxload of zonal denial, but what fun is gardening if you stick to things that are “safe”? And if the plants don’t make it? Look at the first four words of this post, Mister Winter, to see if I really care. I’ll just buy more plants; probably the same ones, too, because I’ll rationalize a reason for their demise that has nothing to do with the ultimate provenance of the plants. So there.

Meanwhile, in the real garden, the first autumn crocus opened today.

Crocus kotschyanus ‘Reliant’

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6 Responses to the last week of summer

  1. Loree says:

    Living in a shack in Portland surrounded with plants from Cistus sounds kind of like my life!

  2. Desert Dweller says:

    “a whole boxload of zonal denial” – oh yeah! Too bad I’m too lame to do that, though all the flunkies here think what I have is that, since it is not the height of Des Moines / Helena / Alamosa horticulture. With that carving on the shed, why not just stay, like you have?

    Glad I found your blog, somehow, and nice meeting you this August.

    • paridevita says:

      Same here.
      If you look at all the plants popular in Denver right now, hardy ice plants, agastaches, Salvia greggii. etc., there’s no way those are zone 5 or 6 or maybe even 7 in real life. So I don’t feel so foolish. Dry winters make a big difference with some otherwise marginal plants.


  3. I have an acquaintance, someone I am getting to know a little better, whose husband died, too young, and very suddenly, probably about the same age as Cindy, after they had built a perfect little house together. She does not drive, and did not really plan about how far the house is from the bus, and how she would get anywhere without her husband as driver. Now she is in her late 50s and has to walk half an hour in all weather to get anywhere on the bus. Fortunately, she does not have to go to a daily job. I asked her if she thought of moving to make her life easier by being on the bus line and she said she could not leave the home they had made together. She calls it Homewood and she lives a quiet life there, and finds peace in her books and her garden and in volunteer work. And I am sure has many many pangs of memory.

    • paridevita says:

      Yes, exactly. People told me I should move, and I thought about it, but not for very long. Okay, if a long-lost ancestor left me a beautiful little cottage in Scotland, I might think twice, but I live in her house, the one she made so cozy, surrounded by her stuff. And, of course, I live with her dog. She was the one who spoiled him rotten.

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