Well, say around 1997. Our first garden was hemmed in by pine and hemlock forest, sited to take best advantage of the south-facing strip of land that had been cleared to put in the well at our new house.
Ten years ago we cleared some land to the left in this photo, put in a driveway and, five years later, a plot farther across the new driveway for an orchard. Last season we cleared to the right. Those spruce had grown 15′ to 20′ over ten years and the western half of the garden had become “shade plants only”.
We grew the same plants then as we do now with one exception; I used to have Asiatic lilies. White Madonna lilies and “Strawberry Fields”, red, orange and striped, they grew tall enough to tangle in the apple trees and leave great swaths of orange pollen on the sleeves of my garden clothes. Sadly, they attracted deer and repelled my partner in equal (and staggering) amounts. I couldn’t even pick them as bouquets for the office without feeling like I worked in a funeral parlour. I finally dug them out and carted the bushel-basket sized bulbs to a friend’s garden where I imagine them blooming still.