The Buffed Garden - [Flex Your Garden]
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Photos of the transition can be viewed at:

July 2006 [SF]
July 2006 [Pacifica]

[Life. Repotted.]

Life's hourglass has again turned and another season of change is upon me. For the past few years I have lived in this great city of San Francisco and I have grown much here. I have grown in love with this city, I have grown to love what was my patio garden, and I have grown to love my family deeper every day. Many milestones have been reached. Promotions came. Properties have been acquired and sold. And, at the speed of life, I have become a husband, and a father --and now a father once again. I've outgrown my space and now I will be moving back to my childhood home - a house of memories.

My garden is the concrete repository in which events of my life are recorded and tucked away. Each stem, each petal, and each leaf blade is a poem waiting to be discovered. One just has to listen. My garden is my journal - the collection of my memories that is open and read by all. Each plant is an icon of an event: they are the witnesses, they are the scribes, and they are the story tellers. Some plants have been passed on to me, and some I have only begun growing as I am leaving a legacy to pass on to future generations. With my patio garden expanding with so much vibrant growth, color, and botanical diversity - I realize perhaps that is only just a reflection of how much I have grown. I have everything from maples to mosses, bulbs to bromeliads, pachysandra to papyrus, cacti to carnivores.

On the afternoon of July 4, 2006, the de-construction of my patio began. A slight depression set in as my sadness began to manifest in increasing visible cold concrete. What was once lush and green and full of life on my patio began to slowly fade into a mundane and frigid facade of cement. Over the course of the next week, more and more bare concrete made itself visible as Jeff, Tom, and I moved plants to the other house.

The process of moving a patio garden is definitely not an easy one, so I must give much props to my cousin JEFF and my brother TOM for all of their help. The plants were loaded into several large plastic storage bins, and also into large cardboard boxes, (courtesy of the office) - and the larger plants we shipped bare root, wrapped in large garbage bags. I had to remove the bamboo from their large pots, some were ceramic and some were plastic, and those items saved themselves for another trip. It was quite a fiasco to try to get my garden all packed. Albertson's grocery carts were well utilized to transport plants from my patio to the cars. We were poked by the cacti and then sliced by the bromeliad leaves. We were beaten with bamboo canes, and then stuck to by the sticky the sundews. Apparently the plants did not want to move.

A Toyota and a Honda were filled to overflowing with my botanical beauties. Papyrus was looming out of my Accord sunroof as phormium flooded the Camry. It was not easy. The van was loaded with all sorts of things I never knew I had. I think the plants just multiplied without me knowing it. It took several trips over several days but the plants are at least all safe and sound at the new place.

Moving the patio hardscaping was another episode all itself. About 40 hollow block and 2 x 4's that I used for "shelving" took another several trips. The Accord and the Camry were literally "low riders" due to the weight of the blocks. I had to also empty my water-pond barrels as well. There was an unpleasant surprise waiting for me in one of them - the pond liner sprang a leak, so half of the barrel was filled with water from the past year. OH did it smell... My neighbors here probably thought there was some rotting carcass in the complex or something. I quickly cured the problem by mixing the swamp water with some a little bleach to kill the bacteria that was causing the stench, and also spraying Febreze! The water was then drained and the barrels dried out. Jeff was able to fit both barrels in the van and off we went. Still - those things smelled nasty I tell ya.

My dilemma at the new place is that there is not enough sun, so I need to cut down some trees, AND in winter time, we get lots of wind. Honestly, I am very overwhelmed with the seemingly infinite daunting array of projects that need to be completed. I have to focus on the roof and windows first, as well as other interior issues. I think next year I can begin on the landscaping aspect (I hope.)

Quite simply - I have outgrew my container here in my condo in SF and the season of expanding is at hand. Sure it's uncomfortable during this stage of moving - but with the lessons learned from the same situations in the past, it has only lead to one thing - more room to grow and expand. I have to think long term as I anticipate further growth in my garden and my life.

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