We recently bought a new house in Bath and we’ve all been so busy packing and unpacking, none of us have had time for anything else. I say “new” but like most of the houses in this small historic shipbuilding city on the coast of Maine, ours is not new at all but pretty old. Built in 1900, it sits on a dead end road just outside the historic district and is just two streets over from the Kennebec River. It’s a classic New Englander with three bedrooms, two floors, a quaint front porch and front hall entry. With an antique property, you really don’t know for sure what you’re getting into until you move in and live there for a time. Some things are apparent, others not so much. For us, the question became how much fixer upper could we handle? Old houses are a big commitment; they take lots of hard work, patience, determination, and, of course, money. This one had already undergone several smart upgrades, including new windows and a new front porch, while what still needed to be done seemed reasonable and within budget. We think the place has amazing potential and something for each of us – a patio and gardens for mom, a “man-cave” barn for dad and the boys, and a new kitchen and bathroom for all. A big part of the moving process has involved moving plants from our old place to the new. There are certain plants that I consider too precious to leave behind: my green-yellow spider lilies, my monarda, my magenta rose campion, my small bed of lavender. Some I’ve enjoyed for years, others are living reminders of friends and family, others are just new favorites.
During this move, I also transferred a lot of my dirt, which I prize as much as my plants. (Who does that?) I am lucky to have a partner who understands this, and, in fact, Bill read my mind and loaded up the bed of his pick up without even saying one word to me. A very pleasant aspect of moving into this new old house has been the discovery of what’s in the garden. It has 115 years of structures, dirt and plants including a variety of rugosa and miniature roses, day lilies, rhubarb and strawberries, plus a very old clematis that I look forward to pruning and nurturing back to health.
Over the next months, I’ll be sharing our progress on our new old house here on The Garden Spotter, especially on some of the outdoor areas of this small city lot. Stay tuned.