Of all the things we can do in this life, moving ranks among the most trying and difficult.

My move involved far more than I ever imagined. The mind-boggling slue of laws, rules and regulations have me tossing and turning at night. Couple that with unforeseen costs and fees for things I don’t understand nor even thought I needed, and you get a recipe for stress, the magnitude of which surprises me.

Then there are the myriad changes, things like a new mailing address, new internet server, new TV hookup, and you can see how moving truly rates as a traumatic experience.

All this is not to mention the actual move itself, along with packing belongings in boxes. Besides that, there are things that won’t be coming along. What to do with unwanted items? Perhaps the new owner will want them and maybe friends have need of some things.

If ever there were a time to pare down and reduce clutter, moving time is it. Unfortunately for me, the people who owned the house I’m buying had a similar attitude, meaning I am left with a whole lot of things I don’t want and will never use. Yikes!

Important plants

When selling a home, it is understood that gardens and perennial plants go along with it, a sort of package deal. But some perennials can easily be divided, leaving some in the ground and taking the rest to new digs.

My first concern was horseradish. Fortunately, horseradish grows like a weed and my horseradish bed was jam-packed with the pungent roots. A tough customer, horseradish asks nothing more when being moved than being kept in a soil-filled container filled with semi-damp soil.

The roots, when planted in their new surroundings, will grow quickly and I anticipate having enough horseradish next year to make my signature, seafood sauce. For oysters on the half shell, nothing beats a freshly made seafood sauce, with fresh-dug, ground horseradish.

So with the horseradish safely stored in a large container, my next customer was sweetgrass. I love sweetgrass, its shiny leaves and vanilla aroma. So I dug a big plug of sweetgrass and set it in a pot. It, too, should take root quickly.

Next, I have a February daphne shrub that I took from the wild. One day many years ago, I was trout fishing and saw, growing in fissures between some rocks, several daphne plants. These no doubt were from self-seeding. Certainly, no one planted them along that rock-lined trout stream.

February daphne is the absolute earliest flowering shrub. It has an extremely sweet scent, kind of a cross between lilacs and roses. The lavender-colored flowers attach directly to the stem and once established, the plant makes a very attractive stand-alone, showcase shrub.

Anyway, I managed to pull a small bit of daphne from its rocky setting, after which I stuck it in my fishing creel. Back at the car, several trout in hand and a seedling in my creel, I found a paper towel, wet it, wrapped the daphne roots in the damp towel and then placed it in a plastic bag. This had the effect of keeping the roots and plant stock moist until I could get home and plant it.

The little shrub did amazingly well, even though the root system was minimal at best. But the roots grew and spread out, making for a very rugged plant. I eagerly monitor my daphne each April, watching as the flower buds swell and again as they acquire color. Then finally, one day, the flowers open. Spring has officially arrived and after sniffing the heady aroma of the daphne flowers, all is well with the world.

So you can see why I don’t wish to leave this little shrub. Digging it up was difficult, since it had several long roots stretching out over a great distance. I got a fairly decent root ball and left enough ancillary roots, along with some taproot, to start another plant. I hope the new owner enjoys this ethereal treat as much as I did.


I have been tardy regarding dividing my daylily bulbs. In this case, that’s a good thing, since there are now enough to give me some to start a new bed, while not harming the established bed one bit. In fact, the remaining bulbs should grow bigger and fatter, with a decrease in competition for soil-borne nutrients.

I will need to get my daylily bulbs in the ground at my new place before they realize they were dug up and moved. Again, bulbs are durable and transplanting won’t hurt a thing and in fact, it is beneficial.

I’ll add that these daylilies are bred right here in Waldo. My bulbs came from Maine Farm, Bill Warman’s place in Waldo. Bill has added to his daylily-breeding by getting into peonies and I recommend his plants to anyone, anywhere.

Resist temptation

With that, I can now say there are no more plants to move. It’s easy to say I’ll just take a few more, but at what point must we say, “enough,” and move on? Better to resist that temptation and look toward the new gardens and all the new possibilities.

I did, as mentioned in an earlier column, harvest seed from some of my favorite wildflowers. These, when scattered, should take off on their own, with no additional help from me.

This coming winter, then, will be filled with planning new garden beds, deciding what will grow best in them and ordering the appropriate seeds.

So to all who are in a similar position, just remember everything always works out fine in the end. Be happy and know that next spring, you’ll enter into another gardening season. May it be an exciting and rewarding one.

Tom Seymour of Waldo is a homeowner, gardener, forager, naturalist, Registered Maine Guide, amateur astronomer, magazine and newspaper columnist and book author.