Despite my belief that we had sold Chipmunk Ridge to people who would be good neighbors to our former good neighbors, we were wrong. The primary buyer (the retired head of a charitable organization and friendly with a dear colleague) and her husband (recently retired from the same company that three of our neighbors worked for and described as a Master Gardener) came with what seemed like good references. The buyer stated that they had been looking for a smaller house in town and that her husband loved to garden. Perfect.
No. They were looking for a smaller house in town to gut, add on to, and flip. All of the pollinator gardens were removed. Every. Single. One. A single crabapple remains. Everything else is turfgrass. No physocarpus hedge where baby doves can hide, no daisy meadow, no butterfly garden along the driveway. Not a single flower for a hummingbird to visit. The good news is that Master Gardeners were brought in to remove and rehome a good many plants, but even though I had been assured that anything not wanted would pass to the college pollinator habitat, we were never called. Because I am not a nice person, I have sincerely wished these buyers an eternity
in one of the more unpleasant levels of Dante's Inferno and the complete loss of their not inconsiderable investment in the property. Financial ruin would be fair, wouldn't it?
Several mornings found me waking to a pounding heart and the fear that I will never be able to undo the damage caused by my wanting to leave West Virginia. Thousands of creatures displaced, the small pollinators most likely dead in landfills or fated to starve when they emerge in the spring to no food. No place for a mama monarch to lay her eggs. No chipmunks.
But at the lowest point of my despair, it was time to gather seeds for an Earth Day project. Our tiny lawn strip garden produced a bounty,
less of a variety than the old place held, but enough for student volunteers to create at least a hundred pollinator garden seed packets to distribute at a campus event in the spring. Several kinds of asters, echinacea, rudbeckia, agastache, butterfly weed, "Fireworks" goldenrod, and liatris will find their way to new homes and in the process create new homes for small creatures, who seem to find their way to anyplace we humans manage to leave for them.
And I made a discovery: liatris seedheads are gorgeous in their own subtle way.