Saturday, June 25, 2011

Back in Collingswood

garden slightly overgrown but majestic

I am sorry for the long time between blogs. Between setting up one house and a garden and selling another and computer problems you guessed it...

Well, I am back in Collingswood packing the last of my things tending the garden for one final time. After visiting the house I don't know how many times, a couple fell in love with it - I hope. The buyers found my shaggy practices a bit too much for them and wanted it restrained a bit. Quite frankly the garden had not been tended in three months and it looked quite splendid before I started grooming. But in all honesty, it was way over the top. I had always compared its grand walk to Versailles and called it Versaillette due to its formal aspect. Upon my arrival the gravel walk looked more like the Amazon surrounded by the primeval tropical forest. You can imagine that I am slightly, just slightly exaggerating the obvious. A dear friend called it embellishing when he did it. As, he put it "the truth sometimes needs improvement." My garden doesn't look anymore like Versailles than it does the Amazon; enjoy it just the same....

another view of the overgrown state

It has been anticlimactic to be home in Collingswood. As much as I love the house and garden, I now consider Florida home and wish I could return there ASAP. Closing on the house is due in early July and until then, I will have time to enjoy and get time to see my local friends whom I miss very much. You don't live in a house (what would be 12 years in August) and don't get to know your neighbors and develop long lasting relationships, whereas in Tarpon, it has only been eight months since I bought the place and it will be awhile before those deep bonds of friendship are established. Most of my immediate neighbors speak Greek and keep to themselves. The people who I have met are exeni (non Greeks) or Greeks not from there and we are slowly working on friendships to come. It may take longer for the Greeks to accept an outsider.

Julia with goodies on hand

It was Limo's first big party

Last night my Collingswood crowd assembled for one last time at the house. My dearest friends some classmates from Graduate School at Penn, others from the neighborhood and one just born a few years ago who is a delightful young girl I have seen grow before me. It was my Swan Song Party or so I called it. This time it was not a grand sit down meal with Cassoulet, it was a pot luck of appetizers. People arrived with wonderful goodies concocted or bought and bottles of wines which we indulged into the late night.

Friends around the wine cooler

Noshing amongst the boxes

Part of the evening was about catching up with me as well as my friends catching up with one another. Groups went about discovering the food and assembling into small groups throughout the house and the garden. I tried to catch up with everyone bouncing around from one group to another. The evening progressed until I had an idea that had been sparked earlier during the week when Limo started digging a hole in the garden. Normally I would have filled it in without a second thought but this time I saw it as an opportunity. I announced to the crowd that I hoped it would not seem inappropriate if we buried Taxi ashes in the garden. As all gathered knew her it seemed appropriate that while we were assembled together we lay to rest her remains in her garden.

Vori's images of the garden after cleanup

Taxi had for years protected the boundaries I gave her with diligence, now it was our turn to honor her. We all filled our glasses and I took the ashes and placed them in the hole Limo provided us - a wonderful sense of continuity. We all drank a toast to her and to our moment together. The night was truly magical as though there were natural fireworks while hundreds of fireflies were sparkling all around honoring the event.

Another potential buyer

Now what is left is to finish the packing, the throwing away and the loading of the truck bound for Tarpon Springs. I will get to spend one more Independence day in the region that is known for this great summer festival of freedom. I will more than likely spend quite times enjoying the garden and seeing what new surprises it has in store for me.

Upon arrival last week I noticed a box turtle who was sunning itself cushioned by the liriope. Unfortunately it was in the front garden next to the driveway by the for sale sign and how it got there is a small miracle. I picked it up and placed it in the rear garden to join the rest of the wildlife that is currently in residence. I can't imagine that I will see a race between the turtle and the rabbits, but it is nice to know that I have created such a desirous habitat for man or beast. Happy Gardening!

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