My ‘temporary garden’ isn’t what you might think; it’s not a container garden, nor one filled with tender plants to be discarded at season’s end, nor a rented-space garden, nor a garden that I plan to rip out and remake. In fact it’s what most people would probably consider to be a “mature” garden: there are perennials, shrubs, and trees of various sorts – including oaks. (Oh, those oaks! but more about those later)

No, I consider my current garden “temporary” because although I do own it, I don’t plan or hope to for very long; the problem is, I’ve no idea how long. To summarize a complicated story without inducing stultifying boredom: I first saw this house/garden during a prior winter’s blizzard, saw it the second time during yet another major snowstorm, and purchased it not long after. Both the house and garden appeared to be eminently suitable but you know the old adage about judging books via covers…

Despite the mountains of snow, I could at least see that the garden had decent ‘bones’. It was a half acre which is larger than average for my region, it had hardscaping in the form of brick walkways and a patio, several raised beds in the rear yard, exterior lighting, an irrigation system, and various leafless shrubs which the seller pointed out – from the windows, because of the vicious weather and snowdrifts – to be such things as corkscrew willow, smokebush, dogwood, flowering cherry, and so forth. I could see a beautifully colored coralbark maple (which I guessed at being the variety ‘Sango-Kaku’ although the owner had no idea) against the snow. It was also mentioned that there were a few ornamental grasses that had been cut down for the winter. And there was also a shed conveniently tucked into a back corner.

Another huge selling point for any gardening house-hunter was that the backyard was fenced (good) and also ringed by various conifers and evergreens, including an seven-foot-tall yew hedge running the length of the rear property line (even better) and actually belonging to the neighbor (fantastic! because thus I would not need to deal with trimming it).

Well, I will pass over all the concealed problems within the house that came to light after purchase, during what was supposed to have been some minor remodeling; suffice to say that they were and are such as to have put me on the house-hunting trail once again. The problem is, I’ve no idea when something suitable (and affordable, after having had to immediately address the most egregious issues here) will turn up, and in the meanwhile I find myself the caretaker of a garden that is mine in law but definitely not in spirit. Because, sad to say, the house was not the only thing that turned out to harbor hidden horrors…

So from time to time you will see posts about my Temporary Garden. For now, here is a view from my kitchen window – because I have no inclination to go hopping around in the ice-and-snowdrifts while the thermometer is in the single digits F, accompanied by wind chills preceded by a minus sign!

February garden