TITLE: The Upside of Urban Gardening
DATE: 5/12/2009 10:31:00 AM
I moved into my house in the dead of winter 2002. I didn’t meet my new neighbors until the spring thaw when everyone ventured out to start cleaning up their yards.
One spring afternoon as I approached my house after running errands, I noticed three grey haired men, probably in their 70’s, hunched over a shovel in my front yard. Not yet familiar with the neighbors, I was quite suspicious. What could they be digging up?
As it turns out, they weren’t digging up; they were digging “down”. As in, they were transplanting lilac bushes into my yard. Louie, who lived in the house behind me, wanted to trim back his lilacs which had spread too much along his yard. Rather than throw away perfectly good plants, he decided to give them to me – the new kid on the block. He enlisted Tommy and Paul, who live next door, to help. They planted one tree in the front and one in the back. By the time I discovered them, Tommy was replacing the last shovelful of dirt over the exposed roots and Paul had pulled out my garden hose to give them a good soaking.
I adore fragrant spring flowers. Before I lived in a house, and could grow my own, I would buy hyacinth bulbs for my apartment. In the spring, I breathe extra-deep just to inhale as much wonderful scents as possible. I had never owned a lilac before, so I didn’t know what olfactory treat was in store.
I didn’t learn until later that lilacs require a 6 year recovery period from the transplant. Every spring, I would inspect the new growth for buds hoping that it would sprout flowers.
Finally, this year – my seventh spring in this house, the long wait is over. The lilacs bloomed.
Thank you Tommy, Paul and Louie for such a wonderful gift!
Labels: urban gardener
AUTHOR: noble pig
DATE:5/12/2009 12:17:00 PM
That is seriously an amazing gift. Congrats on the birth of the flowers!
DATE:5/12/2009 12:39:00 PM
Aww, 6 yrs to recover seem like a long time..
I love Lilac very much, I also planted them in my back yard couple years back, they haven't give me any single flower yet. Maybe that explain why.
DATE:5/12/2009 01:15:00 PM
What nice neighbours. You picked the right place to move.
DATE:5/12/2009 02:04:00 PM
This is truly a gift that says "we hope you will be in our neighborhood for a long time." It has the hopefulness of planting asparagus.
AUTHOR: Lydia (The Perfect Pantry)
DATE:5/12/2009 03:07:00 PM
Beautiful post, and how right you were to have patience, because now the lilacs are rewarding you.
DATE:5/12/2009 03:30:00 PM
Just think, someday you can thin your plants and pass on the gift to some new kid on the block.
From reading your blog, I'll bet that you have already thought of that.
Enjoy your gift each and every spring.
DATE:5/12/2009 06:48:00 PM
yay for lilacs! they're so beautiful :)
DATE:5/12/2009 08:18:00 PM
How sweet!! Our lilacs just bloomed for the first time in almost as many years.
DATE:5/12/2009 09:27:00 PM
What a lovely story!
DATE:5/13/2009 08:11:00 AM
noble pig -- Thanks!
Elra -- the other thing I learned this year, is that I was supposed to prune the trees. In future years, I'll get even more blooms.
giz -- I agree!
Karen -- I love the asparagus analogy. Those take 5 years, right?
Lydia -- I'm loving the fragrance... I even have enough to bring a cutting inside.
Penny -- I'm actually sharing my raspberry bush with my other neighbors. I have a few years before I can share the lilac.
Heather -- So true.
Reeni -- Great for you too!
Melissa -- thanks!
DATE:5/13/2009 10:19:00 AM
i had no idea it took so long for lilacs to recover like that--good to know! and it seems like you moved into a wonderful area, chock-full of kind old fellows. :)