You may recognize this photo of podcaster Leslie Harris’s garden in Charlottesville, VA from my visit in early April.

Well, it wasn’t long after that that Leslie announced that she and husband Jeff were MOVING.  And not just selling the masterpiece she’d created over nine years, but downsizing BIG-TIME, from this almost-acre lot to a mere townhouse-size garden. The purpose, she told listeners, was to make it easier to travel, especially to Connecticut where all their grandkids now live.  I bet some of you recognize the strong gravitational pull of grandchildren.

Leslie’s listeners and Instagram followers have followed updates on the move, including generously getting this garden in perfect condition to turn over to the buyers, who are gardeners and will love it, maybe as much as she does.  Plus, the (contractually allowed) cuttings she potted up for planting in the next garden and mere weeks before going to closing, having no choice but to go to Scandinavia, a trip planned and paid for long before the decision to move.

But it all somehow got done, as Leslie announced in an episode entitled “We did it! We moved!” Moving is, in her words, “a full contact sport,” but add to the normal stresses a very painful sting by a “hornet as big as a Clementine that had me lose the use of one hand for two days and the full use of both hands up until… we’re still waiting!” Yikes!  Oh, and on top of which, it all happened during a brutal heat wave. And on moving day her husband was absent, having been called away to tend to his ailing mother. 

All of which she sums up thusly: “So it wasn’t the smoothest thing ever, but everything’s coming along.”

I was fascinated and horrified by all that but what prompted this post was the recording she made the night before the big move, “on my second Bud Lite, overlooking my garden” when she “felt a certain catch in my throat.” 

And yes, in my last go-around of the garden, going all around, I got to a place where it was just a little overwhelming and I had a big old cry, at the same time I was pruning a Salix. I was sobbing as I was cutting that lollipop down for the last time. 

But gardens are happy places, so let us move on…I have loved this place but it does not define me.  I am a gardener who can garden at other places. Yeah.

Those sobs must have been SO cathartic! Then like the resilient gardener she is, she revealed some plans for her new garden. “Mr. Nandina, you are SO out of here!”

Leslie posted this shot of her “bowling alley garden to be” on Instagram.

Leslie’s story brought back memories of my own move from a garden I’d created over 26 years (!) to a townhouse garden in late 2011. (And covered in posts like “Who fill buy my lawnless garden?” and  “Downsizing and Downscaling in House and Garden.”)

My old garden, on a third of an acre, overlooked a lovely wooded valley, seen here as it looked to potential buyers that fall. My gardenblogging friend Layanee DeMerchant happened to visit after the house had been sold (to gardeners!) and she snapped this photo of me sadly surveying the view I’d soon be leaving.

Moving day was in late December, when the trees were bare and my garden looked its worst. That didn’t stop one of the movers from surveying the view and asking me “How can you leave this?”

Yeah, that didn’t help.

But what came next was liberation from caring for a large, old garden and the thrill of creating something new with a clean slate. And the smaller the garden, the cheaper and easier it is to go whole hog! Which I did.