One of my challenges with continuing the blog is its name. I called it Country Gardener when I started, a name that would now be cumbersome to change for technical reasons, but I need to go beyond country gardening. I plan to continue to write about gardening, but not exclusively from the country perspective, and I want to cover more than horticultural topics, branching out into design, food, cooking, houses, how we live, aging, and more.
The past year was full of big changes for us, the most important ones being selling our country property and moving into town and planning for my husband’s upcoming retirement from his university job.
The other big change was the death of our dog, Toby, and for me that means the (temporary?) end of 23 years of being a dog mom. I would like to do a little more traveling in the coming years and that will be easier without a dog. (I don’t like putting them in kennels — Toby would never have stood for that.)As for the move, it has gone well and and the new owners love the country garden and the house that we renovated over the years. We are lucky to have a good relationship with them and I will be giving them advice on how to manage the garden and how to divide perennials in the spring. In return, I’ve been promised plant divisions for my new garden. We are enjoying our new neighborhood. It’s an older suburb of large lots at the back of the Hamilton Golf and Country Club. Most of the homes were built in the 1950s and early 60s and many of them are being torn down to build larger, up-to-date houses.
Four old homes came down last year to make way for new ones, and the one across from us just sold and will be demolished this spring. There’s never a dull moment.
Our house is little bungalow, surrounded by mature maples and oaks and I will be writing about what we’re doing to revitalize the garden. The garden is a change for me as it is mostly shady, unlike our country garden where we had lots and lots of sun. But I love shade gardens, so I’m content.
We have many things to be grateful for and New Year’s day is a good time to reflect on that. I’m so pleased that we landed in a place where we are happy, and that our country property is well loved by the new owners. My husband is turning 65 next week and he’s looking forward to lightening his workload as of the summer. He plans to retire from his biggest, most onerous responsibilities and then work part-time after taking two months off next fall.I’m particularly grateful that our Toby-dog, who looked like he was on his last legs in the fall of 2011, rallied through the winter. That autumn he could hardly walk before he needed to sit down and rest. Then, gradually he got better and by February, he was trotting through full golf course walks again.
He was lucky to get two-and-a-half more years of reasonable health after he was diagnosed with the illness that would end his life. Those years were truly a bonus.