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Three years ago today marks the anniversary of my brother’s death.
Today standing at my window gazing out towards my garden a lot of memories come flooding in. However, today is a much different day than it was back then.


Here’s the story of a lovely lady….wait! The Brady Bunch theme doesn’t exactly fit here. Hahahaha… my story about Hostas, moving, and the day I lost my brother happens to be much different. Really it’s a story about having patience. A lesson I for sure needed to learn.

Three years ago November 5, 2011, an unusually warm Sunday I was in what was to become my hosta shade garden. Digging like a mad woman.

We just moved to this place a few short months prior and with a lot of work that needed to take place before a garden would come to be I had to have patience. I kept telling myself to calm down, there’d be time. That day, three years ago, I was finally getting around to planting my Hostas which made an incredible journey to get to their final resting place. As did my brother.

The story about my Hostas takes us from Minnesota to Georgia and back with several houses in between.

It begins 10 years prior.

The year was 2001. September. I’m not sure what it is with me and life changing events happening in the fall, but as dramatic as they have been they need to stop.

I had recently been divorced and my ex was now the sole owner of what was “our” house where we lived for 15 years.

Over time, I created a huge perennial garden the length of our 150 foot property.

St.Stephen Hosta garden1
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After all, I was a landscaper by trade working in the landscape nursery industry for years. Which meant while planting pots to sell in the spring it was one plant for us, the rest for the customers. I was always bringing home plants. The nature of the beast I guess. This is where my fascination with Hostas came about. At that time, we couldn’t give them away, but we loved them seeing them for their true beauty. So each time we brought hosta plants in to sell we also took several home for ourselves. It was a win- win for me. 🙂

Not wanting much to do with a huge perennial garden my ex asked or rather told me to get rid of them. So I loaded up 6 pickup beds full of plants to be transplanted to my friend’s place. Which did not include the 85 hosta varieties I’d accumulated. Nor some 10 to 15 different daylilies and 10 to 15 different irises. They were coming with me. I was an avid collector and we were all moving halfway across the country from Minnesota to Georgia.

So, a day in September, of course fall, with the rental truck loaded, my friend who flew in from Georgia and I were off with all my belongings including my plants. With my car in tow the two of us set off back to her place where I’d be living for a while. Another story all to its own. Remind me some day to tell you about the rental truck needing to be towed the last 90 miles. Thinking one of my cats was going deaf from the loud clanging engine noise along with my car towed by another truck following behind the one towing the rental truck. This sounds a lot like what might happen to Kelly McKensie from Just Typikal. Just kidding Kelly….Laughing….

I’d been living down there on and off for a little over a year thinking this was a for sure thing for me, but I’d have this recurring gut instinct telling me that maybe I was making the wrong decision. I went anyway. In hindsight, I should have payed attention to my instinct and stayed in Minnesota.

Once I got down there, I was still unsettled as to whether or not I’d stay permanently so I didn’t plant my plants in the ground only to dig them up again. Instead, I chose to keep them in their pots. And true to the nature of instinct I knew I needed to come home.

I didn’t have the patience to tough it out down there.

After a few months back to Minnesota, I went.

Finding a place to live after arriving back in Minnesota late in the fall, it was, of course, too cold to plant. I had no choice but to over winter the plants in their pots above ground. Fortunately, as a Master Gardner working as a landscaper I knew what I was doing. I knew I could keep them alive through the winter fully expecting to plant them in the spring. I just needed a little patience is all. I had to calm down to know everything would all work out in the end.

Finally, spring came. And true to form so did the rush of clients. My clients came first needing their beautiful plants that provided all kinds of pretties maintained. And of course, my yard was a mess with a bunch of potted plants that desperately needed a home in the dirt where they could spread out. I kept telling my precious beauties to be patient. I’d get to them. I really would. So later that summer towards fall I finally got around to planting them where they’d be able to grow comfortably for what turned out to be five years.


This is where they stayed until I found myself dating. And then falling in love and finally selling my place to move in with Todd, affectionately called Handyman. Of course, it was fall. I had all I could do to get everything from the house moved into storage and to handyman’s house. And then to get my precious beauties potted up once again and moved over to what was now my new place. Of course, they were coming with me. I wasn’t about to leave them. Not after all we’d been through already.

I’d given handyman 2 years to live in that house so I didn’t plant my potted hostas. He lived in a small house with a small yard smack dab in the middle of the city. There was no way I could plant any of my plants there. Nor want to live there indefinitely. I’d be moving in a few short years anyway as it was an absolute mess there. The place needed a major overhaul in order for us to sell it. Remember that patience thing I had going on….well this was testing it BIG time.

A lesson in patience indeed.

Well, after finding myself there for 3 years I gave my now husband, handyman the ultimatum that I would be leaving even if we didn’t sell the house. And yes, my plants were still in their pots. Winter after winter they survived. They sure trusted me didn’t they. They had patience, but mine was wearing thin. And to top it off the squirrels found the pots. In order to save my plants I ended up transporting them to friends of ours that had a dog. Sandy, the dog, would not allow squirrels or chippies (chipmunks) into the yard so my plants would be safe neatly tucked behind their shed still in pots.

Day after day I would drive out of town 10 miles to make sure they were watered. This was their home for the next two years. And yes, they were still in their pots.

Finally, we sold our house in town and moved out to the country where we are now, in August of 2011. Just shy of it being fall. Being summer nothing major could happen right?? Not true…We couldn’t close on our property right away. But, having to move out of the house in town, I ended up living in our motorhome for the first three weeks on our friend’s property not far from our new home. And then, for another month on the property we were buying from the bank. While handyman was living in a camper working in North Dakota.

It was now officially fall….And I was a mess.

I had that patience thing I was working on going in all directions but not once was it feeling like I had it under control.

I told the bank to get their sh.. together or we’d be walking away from the deal. Having it taken them two years to sell this property to us they quickly got there mess in order and we finally closed and were able to move in.

After successfully accomplishing some major repairs that needed to be done I was finally able to get to my garden.

It was now Sunday, November 5, 2011. I just saw my brother and sister-in- law the weekend before celebrating her 50th birthday. Everything was good. I was in the garden finally able to plant. Something that I truly love to do. I was now feeling like everything was starting to get back to normal after a long process of movement in my life. And then, the phone rang….It was my sister-in- law. She was crying uncontrollably….Me..”WHAT’S WRONG!!” I could feel it…her saying…”He’s DEAD!!”…”Kel-li, he’s de-ad!!” “WHAT??” Her crying as she said “He fell out of the tree. His gun went off shooting him on the way down!!” More crying!!!!!! Me yelling “I’ll be right there!!” Handyman and I jumped in the truck and took off. Driving the miserably longest hour and a half I’ve ever endured in my life getting to the cabin. She was up there all alone. No family with her. It was just her and a few friends she knew to call that were in the area that could come to help here find him. He had not come back and having no idea where he placed his stand they looked late into the night finding him that Sunday morning.

As we were pulling in I saw her. Her brother had come too. I jumped out of the truck and ran towards her. Hugging and crying uncontrollably.

Forgetting everything that was needing to be done at home we proceeded to spend the next 6 days with the family an hour away.My husband was my rock! Everything was much like we left it when we finally got back into our routine at home.

My life was shattered and my plants were still in their pots just hanging out waiting to be rescued and winter was approaching. How could I plant now?? I didn’t have the strength. But, I needed to. So with a design in my head, weeds and grass still in the way I planted all of them. I just wanted one thing to feel somewhat normal.

That was three years ago.

Since then I have not been able to work in there. Even when I tried I couldn’t seem to get anything accomplished. Every time I tried, I’d feel so overwhelmed what with all the growing weeds and everything that needed to be done to make it look like a garden.

Until this year…I vowed with a little patience that I’d get everything finished.

With my patience intact and a new outlook, having patience with the memories, and patience to get all the plants I bought since, which, of course, were still in pots, planted as well. Spring came and went…Summer was in full force.

And then of course fall fell upon us once again. This time I finally began to work.

These weeds were left after removing the ones that were 4 Ft. tall.

This time handyman pitched in and together we conquered the weed problem.

I was able to plant all the pots I purchased since we moved here. I even had a massive amount of rice hull mulch delivered earlier in the spring. I’ve got most of it down in order to keep the weeds from growing back and moisture in the soil.

Like I said…almost.

Well, I guess you always need something to look forward to for next spring.

And now, I find myself looking out towards my garden as the snow begins to fall thinking of my brother and the events that took place that day and all the days that came before it. I find myself still needing to have patience. Thinking that one more year will have to come before I can actually have a beautiful garden. And, to possibly find peace with it.

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