A Landscape Built by Friendship


When we first moved into our house eleven years ago, much of the landscape was either the wrong plant for the size of our yard (hello Western Red Cedar planted four feet off our fence line) or tiredly overgrown. We knew the day we moved in that many of the trees and shrubs would need to change over time. But, when you have a growing family, there is often not the growing stacks of cash to purchase new landscape plants. So, we learned to landscape with patience and friends. 
The majority of the plants currently in our garden have been given to us by our friends over the years. They were either springtime divisions, new starts or plants that were not working in a friend's landscape. The lilac above was one of two given to me by my first friend I made when we moved to SW Washington. She has a beautiful section of her garden that has many lilacs in it. I am sure the original owner of her early 1900s home, planted those shrubs many, many decades ago. And, I have been the lucky recipient of one of their offshoots.



The great majority of Hostas, Shasta Daisies, Rose Campen, Rhubarb, Lady's Mantle, Crocosmia, Autumn Joy Sedum and many other perennials are all divisions given to me by friends who knew I would love them and put them to use in my garden. In the years that these perennials have grown, I have been able to dig and divide and gift to new friends and gardeners. It's exciting to be able to return the favor of what was gifted to me.


There are a number of shrubs that have found their way into our garden via friends and family. We have beautiful Lacecap Hydrangea, Weigela, Blueberries, Hardy Fuschias throughout the garden because of our friends. This fall, Laura gave me two tea plants, an Osmanthus, and a Goji berry plant from her garden because she decided they were not working in her landscape. They are sitting in pots awaiting spring planting. All of these plants throughout our landscape are constant reminders of friends in our lives. What an amazing gift to give someone, and what a way to be remembered!



The fig I have growing in a container on the back deck was a sympathy gift from a nursery owner. One afternoon our dog Sadie, then a puppy, had thought my young fig tree a suitable chew toy. The fig had been in it's third growing year, and I was anxiously awaiting a couple of fresh figs that season. When I came home and found the small tree toppled over and chewed, I very nearly cried. The next week I happened to be in a local nursery. When I shared the story of my fig tree, the owner told me to pick out a new fig to bring home...she'd been through the puppy years before. I was so grateful for her generous offer!


Not all of our gifted landscaping have been of the plant variety. We have also been given beautiful rocks, planters, and birdbaths. Last year, friends of ours were moving to another state. The husband was a fellow plant enthusiast and a rock hound. He was not able to take his complete collection with him, but also did not want to leave them for 'just anyone.' So, part of his collection now resides in my front garden. 
With spring approaching, I have walked around my garden making note of what is ready to be dug, divided and gifted to friends and neighbors this year. It's an exciting prospect to be able to share something that you love. What about you? Have you been the recipient of plants from your friends? Or, have you been the plant giver? Setting aside divisions or seeds for fellow gardeners to appreciate?

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