Dave's Garden's heroes: Extreme reverse makeover saves the day
(Editor's Note: This article was originally published on October 3, 2008.)
"Daylilies: Just had to share my sad Garden story! Sob", the cry shattered through the virtual world of gardening.
Aggiegrl, a Dave's Garden member from Texas, wrote, "...I have about 400 named (daylilies) now, and quite a few unknowns or duplicates...and quite a bit of other plants in my yard...I have rented for about 2 1/2 yrs and had planned on staying for many years...Yesterday, (they) gave me notice that I have 30 days to vacate the property. Since my original lease expired over a year ago, I have been on a month to month lease. I am incredibly sad; my children are devastated. Of course, my daughter asked, 'What about your daylilies, mommy?' We also have 3 cats and 2 dogs. I am planning on moving the raised beds and potting up and taking as many plants as possible. I haven't stopped crying since yesterday and things seem pretty hopeless right now. I have asked for prayers from my friends and at Church. I would appreciate any good thoughts from you guys. Sorry to dump this on you; I hope you understand."
In addition to the hundreds of daylilies, aggiegrl had planted shrubs, grape hyacinths, daffodils, Dutch iris, hurricane lilies, surprise lilies, snowdrops, elephant ears, cast iron plants, cannas, caladiums, gladiolas, dinner-plate hibiscus, lots of seeds, thousands of crocus bulbs and miscellaneous other plants. When she moved in, the landscaping consisted of only six shrubs in front of the house. During the planting and preparation, aggiegrl added flower beds and improved the soil. Therefore, when the landlords came knocking, the property looked like a different house.
Dave's Garden members from all over the United States and even the world, sent virtual hugs, legal advice and love. Suddenly, another post appeared.
Smockette posted an offer to move the gardens, with information that this would not be the first time that Texas Dave's Garden members helped move an entire garden. Smockette even offered two acres of land as a holding place for the plants and promised the use of a truck. Two other DGers sent messages privately to aggiegrl, offering assistance in moving plants. Soon, discussion and organization threads appeared on Dave's Garden, like glimmers of hope sprouting in the Spring. The sun began to shine through the clouds of sadness. Smockette wrote; "You get that chin up, girl!!! This is just another challenge in life! & you are not alone!!!".
Aggiegrl responded with excitement and joy. The spirit of heaviness evaporated and hope shone brightly. Aggiegrl posted her thanks many times and added this comment in one of the posts, "When I started this thread, I just wanted to share my feelings with others I knew would understand. I really never anticipated the outpouring of well wishes, great advice, generosity and help that I have received. I am truly awestruck by you guys.".
What time was it? Daylily Savings Time
Volunteers arrived with buckets and shovels and elbow grease to move as many plants as possible to raised beds that aggiegrl's father had selflessly paid for and prepared on his property. The time had come to move the beds from one house to a home. Not only were daylilies moved, but also other plants were moved. Strangers worked in aggiegrl's lawn and became friends.
The following became evident: true gardeners are never really strangers for we are all connected with the vines of gardening. After much work many plants were moved; all but the cast iron plants, shrubs, cannas along the end of the house, a bunch of caladiums, miscellaneous plants like morning glories, and thousands of sleeping bulbs. DGers had stepped up to the plant and swung a homerun. Cheerful posts and sunshine were sparkling through the posts at Dave's Garden.
Here are a few pictures of moving day. Please note: To protect the privacy of the individuals, recognizable pictures of the crew are not posted here.
Aggiegrl's posted this soon afterwards, "Well, I feel sick! I just finished moving out of the house on Friday and went by this evening to pick up the mail. They had already been hard at work on the yard. They cut down or dug up everything that was left, except for the shrubs. The shrubs were trimmed down so far, they looked sooo pathetic and cookie cutter."
Here are before and after pictures. The last set of pictures were taken after the reverse make-over and after the landlord's crew destroyed the remaining above ground plants. Also, please note: The before and after pictures are not necessarily the same areas.
The story does not end
It simply continues. A family is growing and their hearts are overflowing with kindness from the DG community and friends. What better sunshine and atmosphere is there for children to grow up in? From now on, plants will hold another memory for the family; another generation of plant lovers has fertile ground in which to grow. Wait. Another crop of blessings have been given to the family in the following posts:
"I'll send you a bunch of my seedlings to help you get started again." and "If you like un-named daylilies, I have a few I could send when you find a new place." and "(If you) find that you need more daylilies or any other perennial; I'd be more than happy to share..."
Here is an additional post by aggiegrl, "A large envelope came from Oakes Daylilies today in the mail. I knew it probably contained a beautiful catalog of gorgeous daylilies. Since my recent problems...I almost just threw it away without opening it. I gave into temptation...to a wonderful surprise! Enclosed with the catalog was a wonderful note and a gift certificate from (a DG member)! I was so surprised and overwhelmed. The best part was the lovely note that was enclosed with words of hope and wisdom. I wanted to share this random act of kindness with all of you and I wanted to say thank you to (this DG member) and to every other person that has been so kind to my family and me during this tough time.".
The sun shines and the heart blooms again
Aggiegrl wrote, "The real story is the enormous amount of human spirit that is still to be found, especially among gardeners! I am simply overwhelmed by your kind comments, good advice and prayers. Although we don't know each other physically, I feel that you all are friends and I appreciate your comments more than you can know. When these type of things happen, you can feel so isolated and it helps to know others are sending positive energy to you.".
Through a DG member, National Public Radio broadcast the story. They highlighted Dave's Garden and the love that the Texas members shared. Texas Gardener Monthly Magazine is also crafting a story for publication soon.
Hope is restored. The sun shines and the plants will flower in their new home. The heart blooms again.
All of these pictures are copyrighted by Aggiegrl; this story may only be used by her permission. Thank you for reading this article detailing the wonderful hearts of Dave's Gardener members. Please feel free to comment.