I think I can finally write this post.
For many past months now I've frozen on blogging, both posting my own and following those of my friends. This is not because I'm any less interested in the things we love in common - the cheerful faces of flowers peeping at us in the morning and wishing us good-night at sunset; the graceful, reassuring fingers of foliage reaching to us across garden paths; the scent of roses drifting dreamily across a warm room; the sense of well-being as we hear the soft drip of rain on thirsty roots, the silence of sunlight on a canopy of leaves. No, all those loves are as strong as ever inside me. But lately I have had to reorient my plans and thinking as never before.
I suppose we each have our own unspoken boundaries when blogging: the things we do say and the things we keep quietly to ourselves. I will say that I believe my friends online know more about who I actually am than almost anyone in what is casually termed 'real life'. But there is a lot that none of you do know about me, and that is going to change a little today.
Because it must. Because life is taking a rather abrupt turn.
By Christmas my sister and I hope to be starting a new life in a little single wide mobile home on bare desert acreage in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Yes, of course there will be a garden. I hope to take all of you (or as many as are interested) along on the journey.
The sober tone of this post is due to the fact that this relocation is formed out of a life-long tragedy for myself and my sister. We are, sadly, the children of a woman who wanted nothing else in life other than to control our lives. To keep us permanently within her sphere. Growing up in a situation like this, there is a very natural tendency for a child in love with normalcy to normalize the difficulties of such a relationship. And if the relationship is built on keeping the children isolated from outside influence, this can go on for a long, long time before the breaking point comes. In the meantime other controls can be built up.
Imagine, if you will, living with someone who enjoys harassing you and then watching your pain and frustration. Someone who seldom respects a closed door or a private conversation. Who expects to be taken along on any and every shopping trip and invading even your personal choices over things like clothing.
Someone who can keep verbally wounding you while you are visibly in tears and begging them to stop. Someone who does not mind counterfeiting stupidity and even insanity to get her way. Someone who once threatened to kill your dog. And who has tried to drive a wedge between you and your closest friend, who happens to be her other daughter.
And who makes it impossible for you to get a job to earn money to move away.
Now, thanks to some assets that once belonged to our late grandmother, we are in a position to make a break for freedom from all this. Life is likely to be a bit tight for a while as we try to get on our feet, but I firmly believe it will be worth the potential distresses and that we will succeed.
I am losing a lot here - the garden most of all, but also a home I have loved and a place I have dreamed of spending the rest of my days. But we are keeping so much - above all, our own selves and our beloved animals, most of our possessions, the far-distant friendships that we have formed across the internet, and all the potential that we have built up over the years.
My attempt to finally open my own shop here was one of the things that made it brutally obvious that I could not keep going on as I had been. By anyone's calculations, it is difficult to start a small business, but to do that while constantly bracing against intense resentment from someone you are living with - well, it was just too much to deal with.
So, for now, I am closing shop until the move is complete. My sister is helping me pack up the pots (I have a good many ready to go!) to trundle along with her sculptures and all the rest of the projects we could never quite see through to completion under our rather dire circumstances. I anticipate reopening as soon as possible!
In the meantime, now that I have finally broken my silence here on the blog, I look forward to beginning to post again, taking all of you to a new desert and the beginnings of a new garden. I admit to being thrilled that I can stay in the desert southwest. For a while it looked as though the most practical course was to move back into the Midwest. But then there was a price reduction on a particular property in Las Cruces, and we seized it. Things are not quite finalized, but there are no visible roadblocks in the process now. It seems impossible to explain how much it means to me to know that I will still be able to see the drylands beneath my feet and the purple desert mountains in the distance, to feel the undying sunlight, and to smell the strange, wild scent of creosote on those rare wet mornings.
I've already begun taking up some of my plants, especially focusing on specialty bulbs. As Las Cruces is in the high desert, conditions will be colder in winter and the range of plants will be somewhat different, but I feel justified in taking along things that would otherwise be costly to replace, as well as some that are simply favorites. I'm sure you'll be seeing more about my choices over the next few weeks.
And now, as it is, after all, Monday, I leave you with a vase that I made and photographed several weeks ago. Usually I am so demoralized by day's end that I just can't get a regular blog post completed, which is why this site has languished so badly over recent months. But perhaps you will enjoy this now.
The roses have bloomed better than ever this autumn: a bittersweet send-off. Here we have 'James Galway', 'Crown Princess Margareta', and the pale pinks of 'The Generous Gardener' and 'St. Swithun'.
To support them, there are the rich hues of Lavandula multifida, Bulbine frutescens 'Tiny Tangerine', and rosemary 'Tuscan Blue'.
They are in a dark-glazed, handthrown vase.
Thank you to Cathy at Rambling in the Garden for her wonderful In a Vase on Monday, which has done more to keep me posting than anything else could have! It will be interesting to discover what to do for winter vases once I have moved where there is frost!
And finally, I want to thank all of you for your kindness and encouragement and camaraderie along the way: you have done so much to help me keep moving forward. I can only say 'thank you', but I say it from the very bottom of my heart.
Weather Diary: Mostly sunny; High: 77 F (25 C)/Low: 57 F (14 C); Humidity: 12%-26%
Write a comment
Kris P (Monday, 26 November 2018 20:39)
It takes a lot of courage to pull up stakes and start anew, Amy. Kudos to you - and your sister - for mustering the strength to take control of your own futures. I look forward to hearing of your journey, your new home, and the garden you create. I hope to see more of your beautiful roses featured in the equally beautiful vases of your own creation. Best wishes!
Marcelo (Monday, 26 November 2018 22:32)
Dear Amy, I wish you all the best in this new stage of your life. I am sure your new garden will be gorgeous!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 26 November 2018 23:01)
Thanks a million, Kris! It will be fabulous to finally have the sense that I can work freely. I confess to already planning for the roses... ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Monday, 26 November 2018 23:03)
Thank you for your kind words, Marcelo! I will do my best to make the garden! I will have much to learn - but that is always true! ;-)
Loree (Monday, 26 November 2018 23:26)
I am sending you all the positive energy and strength I can. What a wonderful new beginning you have ahead, which is not said to minimize the hard parts, but I hope they will be tiny compared to the good. I look forward to reading about your new garden. I have a couple of Las Cruces nursery posts yet to do, from my visit there last summer. I need to get on that and share them with you. Oh, and that’s a beautiful vase.
AJ (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 00:18)
"Good things come to those who wait" ........ "Every cloud has a silver lining". Good luck to you, your sister, pets and favourite plants. I am so pleased you have each other to support each other. I am sure you will be very happy in your new home and garden and a wonderful new chapter is beginng for you.
rusty duck (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 02:38)
What you are doing is brave beyond words Amy. A lot of us stick with a situation that isn’t right because it’s too hard to change. You are an inspiration. I wish you and your sister all the very best in your new life. Thank goodness you have each other. I’m so glad you will still be writing here and I will be following your journey. Good luck with the move. x
Cathy (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 02:45)
Amy, what can I say? What a brave post, baring your heart as you did and telling us with brutal honesty, how things have ben for you. We cannot possibly really appreciate the pain and suffering that you and your sister have endured but can empathise to the best our respective abilities. Moving on like this is another act of bravery, but what an incentive you have - freedom from the constraints you have endured for so long. You will still take memories with you of this previous ife, but now you can look forward to a better and happier one and I wish you much joy amid the turmoil. Your vase is a fitting tribute to your departure, as it your roses that have always stood out in you Monday vases and of course your own lovely pots. You will be pleased to know that it was seeing Wolletton Old Hall in your vases over and over that finally encouraged me to create a spot for them here! How would you expect roses to do in your new garden?
Polytunnel27 /steve (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 03:13)
Well,This is the best thing,a new beginning for you both,freedom and independance,we all treasure.
Everything will all work out,for you both. Discipline is the bridge between goals and achievment (Mother Teresa)
Love and Best wishes from steve�
Sandra (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 03:24)
What bravery, what courage! I wish you both the very best and hope for a smooth transition for you into your new life.
A beautiful vase - full of colour, hope and joy!
Noelle (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 04:09)
You have opened your heart to us....Bon Courage! You have already taken charge of your destiny. I can see that you have focused on important matters for you. Sending you love and best wishes.
Anna@suffolkpebbles (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 07:46)
... heartfelt good wishes to you and Sarah xx
Lynda Price (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 12:22)
I admire you so much Amy, I grew up in a family which was like yours in too many ways, but I was lucky in that my mom wasn't like this.But I then married a man who was, and I left both family and husband. I admire you for your courage, and just a word of advice, the old may seem attractive for a while, but resist it, new plants will grow, flowers in your garden and your heart that you could not have imagined. You will attract and give out more love and beauty than you knew existed. And you will sadly but slowly realise how much negativity you are leaving in the far distance. Freedom from hate is a glorious thing, I wish you every joy, every beauty and lots and lots of love, cascading down around you in your mountain heaven. I look forward to seeing more photos and reading your beautiful words. You must write a book.
Jocelyn Morris (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 15:18)
Courage, bravery, resilience, strength. You have demonstrated all these attributes throughout your life so far. You will need them in the next stage, but you will succeed because you have made this momentous decision and you will soar and your spirit will be free.
Keep writing & sharing your journey. Wishing you peace & joy.
Diana Studer (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 16:17)
Huge admiration for the fresh start you and your sister go into.
Will be exciting to cheer you on from the distant sidelines.
For the new garden, is this blog on your list?
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 22:29)
Loree - Thank you for the encouragement, Loree - I needs lots of positive energy as I have dealt with so much negativity. I'll look forward to your Las Cruces posts. To the best of my memory, I first discovered your blog through a post about Elgin's Nursery in Tolleson. ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 22:36)
AJ - Thank you so much for the kind words - we are looking forward to that new chapter with some trepidation but a great deal of hope!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 27 November 2018 22:45)
RD - Thanks very much, Jessica - I must admit it's about 90% desperation with a strong dash of opportunism... But it means a great deal to know I can continue to share it all with all of you.
Jane (Wednesday, 28 November 2018 01:25)
Hello Amy, how courageous you both are to strike out into a new situation, and also to write so honestly about what has happened to you. I had to go to google maps to fine Las Cruces as I had no idea about where it is. I’m sure your new life and garden will be a success and I look forward to reading more about your journey. Sending warm thoughts across the miles from Australia. Jane.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:13)
Cathy - I'm so pleased to know you will be growing Wollerton Old Hall; it's been such a pleasure in the garden (and vases) here. There's a chance the summers will be gentler on roses in the new garden as it does not get quite so hot though other conditions will be similar; while the winters will drop a little below freezing, it certainly won't be cold enough to harm a rose bush! ;-) I want to thank you so much for your kind words and thoughts - we are looking forward as best we can to brighter times! :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:15)
Polytunnel/Steve - Sending you a big thank you, Steve! And I will certainly keep those words from Mother Theresa in mind! :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Wednesday, 28 November 2018 16:16)
Thank you kindly, Sandra! :) The encouragement is so much appreciated!
Cathy (Thursday, 29 November 2018 06:58)
Oh Amy, what should I say except that I wish you all the luck in the world! Something good always comes of something bad, I was once told. I do hope this works out for you and your sister. Being independent and happy is so important for self esteem and I only wish I could physically lend you a hand with packing up and starting from fresh. All the best! xxx
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 11:27)
Noelle - Thank you so much! Planning where to go from here has certainly clarified our priorities. While there was never any question about keeping our animals (two precious dogs and four beloved horses), I think we were both a bit surprised at just how much we wanted to stay in the southwest.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 11:28)
Anna@Suffolk Pebbles - Thank you again for the kind good wishes! :)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 16:18)
Lynda - Sending many thanks for your precious comments here and on the FB post, which I can't seem to load now (our internet is down to a trickle at present). It is so incredibly reassuring to hear encouragement from people that know from experience that it really is better on the other side of this dilemma. Making all the arrangements while still living here is taking all the strength we've got at the moment, but I'm beginning to dream a bit more freely of 'after'.
P.S. After reading your FB comment I began making arrangements to take more plants... ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 20:20)
Jocelyn - Thank you so much for the kind words and good wishes! So looking forward to moving on...!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 20:24)
Diana - Oh yes, I've followed 'It's a Dry Heat' for some time - one of my favorite SW landscape blogs. We so appreciate all the encouragement from the sidelines; it really does make things brighter and easier.
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 20:32)
Jane - Many thanks - it's good to finally feel I can talk about it a little as we work to leave it behind. Las Cruces isn't exactly a well-known spot - a university town in a sparsely settled state, but in a region which we have always enjoyed passing through and now hope to enjoy living in. It's lovely to get so many kind thoughts from across the seven seas! ;-)
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Thursday, 29 November 2018 20:37)
Cathy - Thank you kindly, and I'm sure if you were here I would take you up on the packing help! ;-) Despite two recent cross-country moves (with our mother, of course) I am only slowly getting down to business with actually putting things in packing boxes. And as Sarah and I are both book lovers, there is plenty to pack! But starting from fresh is the main thing! :)
David C. (Monday, 03 December 2018 12:40)
Thanks for opening up - that's very important given what you're dealing with. Best wishes on your leaving that all behind, but may you find rest even while still there getting things ready for the move. Soon you'll be in Las Cruces to start living, including making a living at something you like. I'll try to help you find some plant nerd friends after you settle in. You'll be welcome in my now-hometown!
Amy@smallsunnygarden (Tuesday, 04 December 2018 00:57)
David - Thanks a million - just looking forward to it is helping with the stress of moving. And plant nerd friends sound wonderful... ;-)