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March 2009, vol 5 no 1

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Barbara Strang



A Lack of Honesty

We shift in the middle of summer, the worst time for transplanting. My lawyer has warned me not to dig up any plants— they are chattels like floor coverings or curtains, fixed to the earth they grow in. I am sad to leave the hundreds I have nurtured or neglected: the lemon tree raised from infancy, the bay tree now towering overhead, the pear trees, ancient and reliable, my patch of violets. Will the small kowhai be watered again?

Abandoning the weeds also, like the bronze fennel given to me by another gardener, a handsome, useful herb, but now invading everywhere. Some of the weeds are old friends, like the creeping oxalis with its neat yellow flowers. Elegance in miniature.

With my tiny collection of pots and cuttings I shut the gate and leave for the new garden, with its own trees, shrubs, plants and weeds. Good soil, but it's so small. No honesty growing in this shade. Another peach tree, another bay, no compost heap. I didn't notice the creeping oxalis for a while, but there it is, in the driveway. A fennel raises its seed heads by the back fence.

first winter
waiting for the bulbs
to flower

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