A Gardening Benefit: Sharing

“Not what we have but what we enjoy, constitutes our abundance.”
— Epicurus 

Any gardener knows that one of the best benefits of having a flourishing garden (and knowing a community of gardeners) leads to everyone’s favorite thing: sharing.

Plants grow. Many plants are fantastic colonizers. You divide them year after year, and when you’ve run out of space for your new colonies, what can you do?

You give plants away. To neighbors, to friends, to family, to anyone who will take them, because there is such abundance!

This past week, I was fortunate enough to be the receiver of many native species of plants from a fellow gardener who has decided to sell her home. She lives in a town where many older, smaller houses are torn down, the land is leveled, the green turf is rolled out, and a McMansion is plunked down. In lieu of potentially losing the many native plants that populate her garden, she has opted to give away most of her garden – and she has plenty of garden to give away.

This has lead to a strange hodgepodge in my garden. Currently, the majority of the plants I dug from her garden are going dormant – it is fall, after all. So, they aren’t looking so good – as my husband said, “that one looks dead.” But, I gathered the soil around their root balls, used plenty of water, and planted them during a surprisingly warm week. I expect, being that they evolved with this New England climate, most of the transplants will survive to spring.

There are figworts (Scrophularia lanceolata), ostrich ferns (Matteuccia struthiopteris), Bluestar (Amsonia tabernaemontana), sweetferns (Comptonia peregrina), stokes aster (Stokesia laevis), woodland sunflowers (Helianthus divaricatus), goldenrod (Solidago sp.), golden alexanders (Zizea aurea), golden ragwort (Packera annua), butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa), and prickly pear (Opuntia humifusa). I also got to take a small mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)!

I worked the ostrich ferns in with the alternating bearberry and red twig dogwoods. The sweetferns went along a section of the back of the garage, along the patio, where I plan to plant fragrant herbs and place potted mints. The rest went into an old garden space in the sunny part of the back yard, where nothing but some coreopsis and azaleas are growing. I’m eager to see how it looks next spring, when it all comes back, and I will have a better idea of how I want things to look in the future.