Sunday, June 2, 2013

Remnants of the Past

The gardens associated with older homes have histories.  Established trees and shrubs may be the the most obvious remnants of prior owners.  In many cases, they're part of the curb appeal that attracts a buyer to a particular property.  That was certainly true of our current house - we drove by it when looking at homes in the area and I immediately felt pulled to it.  My husband took some convincing but, after touring many other houses over a couple of months, we eventually came back to this one.  That's not to say that I loved every feature and every plant - from the beginning, there were things I wanted to change about the garden - but I liked the foundation I was given.

When escrow closed and we moved in, one of the things that surprised me most was what prior owners had left behind in the garden.  Although this house is more than 60 years old, I didn't find any garden relics of the sort Loree of Danger Garden recently described (see her post on the subject here).   No old garden tools or interesting pots or evidence of decades-old plant purchases.  When I dig in the back yard, all I uncover are rocks, left over from the area's former incarnation as a rock quarry in the 1940s.  However, the prior owners did leave a number of yard and garden items, some useful, some not.

One very large artifact is this "snorkel spa."

This is basically a firewood-fueled hot tub.  We've used it a few times in the past 2 years but, overall, it's more trouble than its worth as I described in an earlier post.  Getting rid of it isn't so easy as it's big and heavy and there isn't a resale market for an item like this in our area.  My husband hopes to re-use the wood to build patio furniture (someday).  In the meantime, I use it to store outdoor cushions during rainstorms.

Another large, but more useful, item is the compost tumbler in the side yard.

Granted, it probably would be a pain in the neck to move something like this so I guess I understand the decision to leave it behind.  The maker's website says this model is designed for the "serious gardener."  It also claims that it can turn 18 bushels of garden debris into usable compost in as little as 2 weeks but I found that it takes several months even when I turn it a few times a week.  Still, I'm glad to have it.  The red and black item next to it that looks a little like one of Doctor Who's Daleks is a leaf shredder, also left behind by a prior owner.  It's rusted and doesn't work well so it may end up in the garbage soon.

A number of decorative items were left with the house as well.  Leaving the fountain is entirely understandable as I'm sure the cost of transporting it would be considerable.  The birds and I are very pleased to have it.

I was surprised to find two garden benches left by the front door, though.  (I added the cushions and pillows.)

Bench on the right side of the front door

Bench on the left side

And it doesn't seem as though this chiminea would have been that hard to move.

Hoses, a hose caddy, and a hose pot were also left behind.

As was a decorative rain chain.

And a small trellis I keep wondering why I haven't tossed every time I see it.

There are also some tiki torches, currently tucked behind the garage, and a number of drain pipes left over from someone's earlier irrigation project.

When we moved out of our old house, my husband insisted that we take EVERYTHING.  He said something to the effect that it wasn't right for me to leave my "old junk" behind for someone else to throw away.  I tried to leave this concrete pig, claiming the new owner's small children might like it, but even it went into the truck.

Concrete pig in vegetable garden, half-buried by mint (also left by the prior owner)

What would you leave behind in your garden if you moved?


  1. I would take every blasted thing! At least that's what I say now. :o) At our last house the yard was full of junk, literally. We had this house built so nothing was left behind except for some orange plastic fencing that had been buried in the sod. It was a pain in the butt to pull up. I think you lucked out and scored with some cool finds. Love the fountain and benches. :o)

    1. We most definitely did luck out (although I could have done without the tiki torches).

  2. The only relics we found here were some old booze bottles in the storm shelter! I would take anything I could use in my new space and give away to friends and relatives other things. If I liked the new owners and felt they would appreciate it, I would leave at least one nice garden ornament for them.

    1. Booze bottles in a storm shelter! I guess that makes some sense. Thanks for visiting, Deb!

  3. Wow they left even the benches? Must have been going somewhere they couldn't take them? Smart idea to use the snorkel spa for cushion storage. Storage is one thing we never can have enough of.

    1. Those benches were the things that surprised me most. They're nice benches too! It think they were actually left by the owners prior to the one we bought from -the earlier owners moved to Boise, whereas the last owner moved less than 5 miles away. Whatever he bought, I guess they didn't fit - or he just felt they came with the house and should stay with it.

  4. You definitely score some cool stuff but I have to admit I'm distracted by what appears to be a fabulous view from your back garden. Wow! Fire up the snorkel spa and crack open a bottle of wine. I bet it's great at night too.

    1. The view was admittedly one of the key attractions in the decision to buy the house. We overlook the LA Harbor, although we have city lights views too. It's frequently hazy, especially during our May Gray and June Gloom period but, when it's clear (as shown in the masthead of my blog), it can be spectacular.