The Home · The Soul

Mrs. Delpriore’s Garden

Our house was owned by the same family for years and years. Mrs. Delpriore was an avid gardener. She developed Alzheimer’s around 2000, and died in 2007 or so. The house was inhabited by her son and his wife, but they just kept the garden from being overgrown.

As we’ve been digging, putting in beds, clearing horrible vines that have no discernable purpose except to strangle other plants to death, we’ve gradually uncovered a lot of Mrs. Delpriore’s original work. It’s rather like The Secret Garden – and as endlessly gratifying. A few months ago, we found long-buried colonies of lily-of-the-valley (a favorite), and I’ve moved those into the back flowerbed – out from under the azaleas where they’d been hiding – so they get more visibility in the springtime.

One of my most treasured finds – after whacking away at six-foot-tall weeds, and large prickly bushes – is a rambling rose.

It produces these teeny tiny little flowers. I found four or five plants – I aim to let it take over the chain link fence.

I also found ferns:

Our fig tree is safely in the ground, getting over the trauma of transportation and transplantation, and producing baby figlets!

We also found evidence of an existing fig tree – there’s a sapling shooting up in the middle of our tomato bed. Bernardo’s going to try to re-root it.

Our Bosc pears are booming – the Bartletts not so much, but that will happen next year. The Bosc tree is adorable right now:

Our knockout roses are going full steam – our bank of roses looks pretty great.

That’s our next-door-neighbor Lou in his chair above the roses – he’s a history teacher and spends his weekends sitting in the sun, listening to music, and reading. Pretty blissful.

We also planted clematis, which Bernardo insists on mangling into “Clytemnestra” or “chlamydia” every time he tries to name it.

They should take over that bit of chain-link fencing as well. We aim to have it all covered with the rambling roses, honeysuckle, and clematis.


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