How to create a garden and how to say goodbye to a garden!


One year ago we sold our house in the country, and instead bought a lovely old house in a community. Most people probably miss something from their last house, but what I miss the most is the garden! I don’t regret moving, absolutely not, but the garden! If I only could have been able to move the garden with me!

We stayed in our last house for twenty years. It was located far out in the woods, no neighbours, no street light, no signs of humans. Our neighbour was the forest and the forest dwellers. It was also a life with many animals like dogs, cats, chickens and ducks and it was a life I loved during that time. But things change. Kids grow up, new job elsewhere and living far out in the countryside wasn't so easy any more.

When we purchased the property twenty years ago, there was no garden, as I see it. It was an endless boring 2 000 square meters flat green lawn with few trees and shrubs and some very narrow flower beds full of weeds, etc.

I have never understood the fascination or interest with a large lawn. The only thing you can do with it or use it for, is games and ball games, and for that you don’t need 2 000 square meters anyway. We did spend many, many hours with taking care of the lawn those first 6 years; mow, rake, fertilize. And for what? No, after a few years we decided that enough is enough and the transformation began.

My dear Rhodendendron and a glimps of the always present wheelbarrow!
My dear Rhodendendron and a glimps of the always present wheelbarrow! | Source
Every flat garden should have a pergola!
Every flat garden should have a pergola! | Source
A wild part in the garden!
A wild part in the garden! | Source

Bit by bit of the lawn was dug out and replaced with a GARDEN! I am not a garden designer, but I’ve learned a few tricks by trial and error and got some experience. In the beginning, our economy wasn’t so well, so therefore everything had to be done by hand, using a shovel and a wheelbarrow. We started small, tiny flower beds here and there. But as the years went by, the flower beds had to be enlarged and sort of grow together. And with bigger flower beds came the need for plants and shrubs. In order to save money, I sowed the seeds of perennials and shrubs. The place of seedlings grew each year, and with the larger numbers of plants, grew the need of larger flowerbeds. So we kept on digging. Our friends and relatives probably wondered now and then, when they saw the big areas that we took on.

But to dig by hand has many advantages; there is time to think and you see how the garden slowly emerging. In the process, you can make small adjustments which are important, because, no matter how good you are with the sketch block, there are always small adjustments required when it should be performed in real.

You will also get exercise and the advantage of spending time in the garden – gardening as therapy is underestimated. And a wheelbarrow and a shovel do not make much damage in our garden and you have access to even the narrowest place in the garden. If you bring in a big excavator to perform the work, everything goes quickly, but that requires a very detailed plan from the beginning, and the machine destroys a lot with their big wheels. Even now, when we can afford to hire someone, I prefer the shovel and wheelbarrow! And the satisfaction when you have finished a big job is great, then you can pat yourself on the back, sit down and enjoy!

Since this garden was flat, and the soil was fertile and a bit muddy, I decided to build raised flower beds. This was also an advantage to prevent that plant roots stood deep into the ground where it at times were very wet, specially during fall and winter. With slightly raised beds I had several advantages, the soil warmed up earlier in the spring, the plants did not have to stand with their feet in water, but at the same time, the somewhat wet ground kept the garden moisture most of the hot summer without to much aid from me.

A bit of the pond!
A bit of the pond! | Source
A place to sit and enjoy!
A place to sit and enjoy! | Source

After a few years our dreams increased and we wanted a pond in the garden. So, we had to start digging! Through experience, we learned how much left over soil there was when the ponds and gravel paths was dug. And over the years, we did developed a way to save both power and time by quit transporting leftover masses across the whole garden. We simply did the same as they do when roads and other infrastructure are built; we calculated the masses from the beginning and tried to use the leftover masses very near where they arisen. So instead of transporting the soil with the aid of a wheelbarrow we used the soil on the spot in big uplifted flower beds!

Just before we sold the property, the garden in front of the house was ready. And I can still see it before my eyes. I can remember how it felt to sit by the pond; hear the murmuring from the small waterfall and the birds. I remember the well-being from my walks through the garden on the gravel paths, when I every morning investigated what has happened in the flower beds during night. I noticed which perennials that where blooming and which ones that needed a little care. Those morning walks with my morning coffee was a cherished habit.

I brought some of the plants with me when we moved. I only took the most beloved plants and shrubs, those that mattered most to me. It was those plants and shrubs that where given to me by people that means a lot to me, some plants I bought on trips or special places with many memories attached to them. But I had to leave behind most of the plants, and there are many old friends that I miss. I took a last slow walk through the garden before we left the house for the last time, I kind of said goodbye to those left behind. (I know that they are just plants, but I talk to them anyway). I console myself with that the garden lives on, because the property was purchased by a couple with a large garden interest. And the lovely lady who purchased the property assured me that I could come back at any time. So, now the garden brings joy to others and I keep my garden in my memory.

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Comments 22 comments

carrie450 profile image

carrie450 6 years ago from Winnipeg, Canada

I can see why you miss your garden thougtforce. It is absolutely beautiful. I can see all of the hard work it must have been. What a nice seating area to have coffee and hear nothing the birds in the morning or watch the stars at night. A wonderful place to meditate.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi carrie, Yes it is a place to relax and find peace! We spend many hours in that garden, but I think it is both relaxing and fun to work in the garden. It is pure meditation to dig! Thanks for your kind comment!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 6 years ago from South Africa

I can so much relate to this. I had to leave my garden too - it was so hard. But after missing one for 13 years I once again got the opportunity to create one. And I'm enjoying it more than the 1st one. Great-great hub - your garden was beautiful!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Martie, yes it is hard to leave a garden, but as you say, there are other gardens! I also see it as an useful and fun experience! Glad to hear of your new garden too, and I know what you mean, I also have a new garden that I still just look at and try to figure what the site is suitable for. After one year it begins to clear, and I look forward to next spring. Every house and garden has its own atmosphere! Glad to see you, and thanks for stopping by!

LillyGrillzit profile image

LillyGrillzit 6 years ago from The River Valley, Arkansas

dear thoughtforce, I am with you 100%. In one rental I lived in, I spent much angst in my yard. I created a beautiful yard. I still do drive-bys to see how it is doing 6 years later. Thanks for sharing the love of gardening, and I am happy you have the photos to remind you of the beauty and love of your gardens

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Lilly, a garden is like a dear friend that we miss especially when we, like you say, have spent much angst in the garden. The photos are very valuable for me. I´ve driven past my last garden once, but for some reason, I didn´t want to stop. But it looked quite the same:)

Thanks for stopping by, your visit is always appreciated!

kashmir56 profile image

kashmir56 6 years ago from Massachusetts

Hi thoughtforce i can understand you missing your very beautiful garden. I miss mine every winter,i can only imagine what it would be like not to have a garden at all, especially one has beautiful has your's was.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

Tom, Thanks for your kind comment! To be without a garden would be awful! The property where we now live is large, but I wouldn´t call it a garden! Not yet, but it will be! I long for the spring, now everything is snow covered and cold. For us who love garden and gardening, the winter sometimes seems like an endless yearning for spring! I appreciate you stopped by!

D.A.L. profile image

D.A.L. 6 years ago from Lancashire north west England

thoughtforce, I know from your comments that you love nature and as gardening is an extension of nature, I realise what a pull your beautiful garden as on you. For when you are in a garden you are at one with nature. You have the garden that you created in your memory and well photographed. The wider countryside will now become your garden. Lovely hub, thank you for sharing.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 6 years ago from Sweden Author

D.A.L. I do love gardening because a garden is a place where you are free to create your garden as you want. There isn´t any rigt or wrong, and if you do something wrong, you can try again and succeed. Yes, it is a little bit of nature. A garden is like therapy and mindfulness at the same time! I am happy to share it with you, Thanks!

bee 5 years ago

i know it is the hardest thing i have ever had to do. my garden was the place of my heart and soul. my plants were my dearest friends, the deepest ways of loving a garden are not understood by many people, except those with this connection to the land. thank you for writing.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 5 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi bee! Plants are great friends and give us so much in return if we treat them well. Some of them don’t need any care at all but still give us everything they have! It is a special love we have for our gardens:)) Now I have a new garden where I can be creative and inventive. But it is a new garden and nothing like the one I have written about here. The former was flat and had fertile soil located in an arable landscape. My present garden has steep slops and is located in forest terrain with dry and hard soil. So it is a totally different garden with special challenges:))

I am sorry to hear you had to leave your garden too!

Thank you for your comment!


Jools99 profile image

Jools99 4 years ago from North-East UK

Wow, what a fantastic hub. I am only now getting into gardening; I need a hobby to get me outside instead of always at the computer (or TV) and I have found the last few weeks amongst some of the most pleasant I have spent for a long time. I am currently growing vegetable seeds on my kitchen windowsill and will soon create a vegetable patch in the back garden - we also have a long lawn doing nothing - time to get creative! Voted up!

Lauryallan profile image

Lauryallan 4 years ago

Waw thougtforce! That's a beautiful garden and it's even more amazing to learn that you transformed it from a normal lawn, to a work of art.

I can imagine it was a very peaceful and relaxing place. It reminds me of time we used to spend in the garden as children, hiding in strange places and discovering all the interesting bugs and plant life.

Cheds profile image

Cheds 4 years ago from Maine

This spring is my first experience with any sort of gardening. My daughters (ages 4+5) and I went to an event at their school that was themed around the Lorax. We ended up doing "green" projects as a group and our project was planting seeds in egg cartons. My daughters loved it so much that we decided to go out the next day and get more seeds. We planted seeds in little plastic containers from leftovers and watched as they grew taller and taller. Now we have actual bean, jalapeno and sunflower plants in huge pots. We live in an apartment in the city, but we have a deck that we can put plants on. Friday night we planted another batch of different seeds. I think I am getting addicted. :P

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Jools! Oh, it sounds like you will have a great time in your garden! A big lawn is the best start for a wonderful garden and the best part is that you can take it in parts and create a garden in your own pace. I wish you a wonderful time in your garden and I am so glad to know that my hub gave you some inspiration!

Thanks for the positive feedback and the votes!!


thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Cheds! That sounds so fun, and planting seeds is a great way to get started with gardening! It is a special feeling to see something grow from a seed, give it water it and take care of the small plants and then see the transformation when it starts to grow for real. It is like seeing life itself. It is easy to get addicted and a deck is great for many different types of plants and it can be used as a garden but it is a more restricted area of course. I wish you a happy gardening season with your family! Thanks for the lovely comment!

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi Lauryallan, Yes, I can still feel the relaxation in that garden and I miss it very much. I am now trying to create a new garden but since it is totally different from my old garden it will also be a completely different garden when it is finished. Every garden has its possibilities even if it can take some time to figure out the best way to create something you like in a particular garden. A garden is a wonderful place and I still enjoy the time and the life in the garden. Thanks you so much for the wonderful comment, I appreciate it!


adjkp25 profile image

adjkp25 4 years ago from Northern California

When we first bought our place the yard was a mess. Our property is about an acre and the elderly lady living there just couldn’t keep up with it anymore. I remember mowing the back of the property took me about six or seven hours the first time because everything was so overgrown; I was even using a riding lawn mower.

Now we have a very large garden, somewhere around 3,000 square feet, and about a dozen fruit trees; definitely much better than two foot tall weeds.

I’m sorry you had to say goodbye to your garden, we love ours and it would be sad to say goodbye.

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Hi adjkp25! Thanks for your kind words! Yes it definitely feel as if I have lost something. Even now when I have a new garden to care for I often think about a special plant or a bush, or a special place in my old garden and I feel sad because I don't have the opportunity to see how it looks now.

3,000 square foot is very large and I can imagine that it takes a bit of work to maintain it. I have some old fruit trees in my new garden too and the trees definitely adds to the garden and makes it beautiful as well as useful. Thank you for the understanding and insightful comment, I appreciate it!


Pfennig profile image

Pfennig 4 years ago

I also understand this. But have never been able to "take it with me".

thougtforce profile image

thougtforce 4 years ago from Sweden Author

Pfennig, at least we can take the memories with us! Thank you for reading and for leaving a comment!


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