In My Mind I'm Going ... Need Advice & ...?

drippy(7bAL)February 13, 2008

Hi, all - I am a born bred Yankee, living in near paradise on the southcoast of Massachusetts - soon to be moved to Greenville-Spartanburg area of SC. Never been there, but my DH, whom we think is making a positive career move by this, says it's really nice. Since he had the good taste to pick me :), I'm inclined to believe him. I find the concept of longer growing season attractive, but leaving my gardens in MA behind....waaaah!

Any advice, encouragement, etc is most welcome. I am not entirely unhappy about this, and as I have spent the last 12 and more years of my life in complacent living, I have nothing to complain about and, in fact, find the change a wee bit exciting. The logistics are a little nightmarish, but as I won't be leaving until after piano season ends (June), I have a little time.

Thanks in advance!


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bakemom_gw(z6 Central Ohio)

I have lived in OH, PA, NM, and OK. Moving is stressful. My best advice: be ruthless with your discards and start sifting through your stuff now.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 2:49PM
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kqcrna(z6 SW Oh)

After piano season? Care to elaborate on that? I'm not a piano player (I have no talents) but I never knew there was a piano season.

No advice on the move from where I sit in Ohio, but thoughts of a new garden, a blank slate, are pretty exciting. Ditto thoughts of mild winters and longer growing season. Congratulations!


    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 3:47PM
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Karen, I'm a piano teacher/accompanist - the season typically follows the school year. I have a recital in June, so I'll be staying until then. I have 40 students, and I want to see them through the completion of the year.

Bakemom, I am starting this weekend to do just that. However, convincing DH he can't bring all HIS stuff with him will be a real challenge.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 5:37PM
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shimla(5 Upstate, NY)

We were looking at the Carolina's last year but one of my family members bailed on the idea. I thought I would really love it. Have you been to their forum yet here? Over on the conversation side there are some threads about how people made the adjustment. Everyone seemed really friendly on the forum. If you haven't yet, why don't you do a posting? You have the location narrowed down quite a bit so I'm sure you'll get some very specific details about the area. It's also nice to be prepared mentally for any gardening challenges you may face in a different location (like clay)!

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:17PM
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albertar(z7 LINY)

I've never been to either of the Carolina's but I've heard alot about the area and its basically all good. I've got a brother in SC that has asked us to visit and I'm hemming and hawing about it, but I think I just might eventually. Good luck on the move, have you had the chance to visit yet, or see the house or area you'll be living? I agree with Shimla, get in touch with those NC gardeners and find out more about the area and the soil, water table, etc. Keep us posted.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 6:29PM
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Thanks, folks - I do have a posting on the CG forum; so far all the responses have been positive - seems both the natives and the transplants like it there. I am on this emotional roller-coaster over the whole thing - DH and I talked about doing this eventually, but it's happening a lot sooner than we thought. We are leaving aging parents in this area, I am leaving the gardens I have built up over the past 12 years, and such. This is very small-town, quaint, oceanside New England - because of my connection with the church & local schools, I know more people than not in the district. These things are all pulling at my heart-strings.

The up side is better work for DH, way longer growing season for me, much less snow shoveling, and supposedly lower cost of living. Add to that that we have some wonderful friends we went to school with right in the area, and several more within reasonable striking distance that we haven't seen in ages because we've been too far away in SE MA.

I think I will ship my clothes down so when I leave I can take a car full of plants with me! :)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:26PM
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stage_rat(5--Indiana Riviera)

Ah yes, piano season...there's the Hunting Season, when the pianos wisely shuffle carefully through the underbrush, careful to keep their keyboards covered.

Then there's Mating Season, when the male pianos will do almost anything in order to attract the attention of the females...


Drippy, I can understand why this would be a hard decision. Both places seem to have a lot to offer. If it helps you make the decision, tell yourself that the reasons for staying are reasons for staying the rest of your life, so if you decide against it now, the decision is made forever. That's either going to get you to SC, or save you from this situation in the future! (Your reasons for staying aren't going to go away, unless you become a recluse and force all the people you know to move away, taking all the plants from your garden with them.

I spent 3 summers in Charleston, and I do love it there. That song is my Charleston song. I don't know anything about Greenville, are there any bodies of water you could try to find a house near? That might help prevent some homesickness.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2008 at 10:47PM
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there is always a silver lining. you want suffer from zone envy during the growing season, only during the wsing time. i am in AL and i can't really get a good start until Feb. although i do a few things in jan., the bulk is in Feb.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 1:08AM
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Hi Kim, moving is both exciting and sad, the good thing is you will be close enough to visit within a days ride or a couple hrs flight. Just remember it takes a year to really be adjusted and to feel like home.
We have moved 8 times in the last 26 yrs while my husband was in the Coast Guard, and many of those moves were after being at a station for 5 yrs and being very established.
At first you will be excited, exploring your new surroundings, and busy settling in and then you begin to yearn for all the familiarity of back home but that will get better with time as you establish your new life. "One year" is what I always say to my kids and myself when the going gets rough.
Also, Go home when you need too for a couple days.
I think its admirable of you to support your husbands career and wish you the best!!


PS Last year when we left the Cape I Stockpiled seeds because I couldnt take anything from my garden :-(

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 2:31AM
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LOL, Stagerat - humor is good right now! Assuming the house sells, and it should, we are definitely going. Other than death and giving birth, though, I don't believe in forever - if we didn't accept this opportunity now, that wouldn't necessarily bar accepting another one down the road. Similarly, since it seems we move about every ten years or so, there's nothing that says we won't be back this way in another ten years, even though that's not in our plans now. DH is going to look for some property that has water somehow attached - since we're way inland (near NW corner of SC), it will be fresh water. But it will all depend on what we can afford at the time, of course. I don't worry too much about that - every time we have moved, although it's always supposedly to a better situation, we wind up at first scraping the dirt - and every time, we've wound up better than the place before. So whatever happens, it'll work out ok. I'm just hoping to take advantage of the growing season by getting at least an acre or two of land. I've never had more than a suburban lot - our current plot is about 1/3 acre. I really want to grow more vegetables, and flowers too.

Wendey, I remember when you were on the NE Gardening Forum. That must have been a huge change, going to the West Coast. I was thankful the SC opportunity worked out instead of some of the others that were further away. Because of the likelihood of parents needing some attention in the next few years, DH & I have agreed this move includes an understanding that he and/or I will fly back to SE MA when necessary to assist both his parents and my mom.

Well, Happy Valentine's Day to you all! I have another in-school concert today, so I'm off to prepare. And to remind my piano that it's human mating season, not piano season, LOL.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 7:34AM
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gdionelli(z6 WV)


I grew up in Greenville. Now I only visit my parents there, but I think it would be a great place to live. Incidentally, I'm a professional musician too, and the music scene there is quite lively. I imagine you can put up an ad or leave some business card's at Pecknell's Music store and build a new studio in no time.

The only thing I'd say about Greenville gardening is...RED CLAY! So be prepared to amend, amend, amend.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 9:10AM
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susandonb(NC 7)

Hi Again Drippy,
Love this convo thread, never saw this on GW before, I am sure it was always here I just didn't notice.

Stagerat, love the humor, that was great!

Drippy, just to add to my post on NC Gardening, I really missed the coast for about 2 years I had serious withdrawals. I use to do all my walking, reflecting and so on in Plymouth, which was about a 30 minute drive for me, so I can relate, now I am 4 hours from the coast. I also understand about the parents issue, mine are both gone now but I have siblings 20 years older than me and it pulls on me that I am away from them. We try to go up to MA once a year but I have not been up for 2 years now - planning a trip up this May.

Bring as many plants as you can that will help with homesickness. I still regret not getting any of my parents Lilacs. I am on the NC VA line and I beleive lilacs would do ok for me.

Like I said before, feel free to keep in touch with me and maybe we can do some seed swaps. It is good that you already have friends in SC. The people are great here you will have not problem making new friends here quickly. By the way, we got about 2 inches of unexpected snow last night, it looks like New England outside today!

Happy Piano Season,

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 9:21AM
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Drippy, I'm losing one of nearby neighbors that provided me so much advice on ws here in SNE. I can't imagine the stress and anxiety of moving such a distance. In my adult life I've moved 4-5 times all locations within 10 miles of each other and I've been in my current home since 1993. I know all will go well so good luck with your move and enjoy a more tropical garden. OH I think you should dig yourself a shovel full of dirt from under the Borne to bring with you and grow something to remind you of NE.

BTW could you please leave your jugs by the curbside when you leave so I can pick them up :).

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 10:27AM
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Hey Drippy..if you bump into my ex husband in Spartanburg (he's a house painter with a forced Liverpudlian accent), tell him he now has a grandson, and a grand-daughter he's never bothered to meet.
(Not that I resent him or anything) ;0)

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 11:31AM
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former New Yorker here - and we moved to North Carolina in 1993 and never looked back (or up?)... Anyway, we love it here and the climate is wonderful for gardening. I also love the fact that this area is a melting pot - there are people from all over the US living in the Carolinas.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 1:47PM
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not_a_contessa(z5b S Central PA mtns.)

I'm jealous...(loooooong sigh)

I spent Christmas week in SC and went to dinner in Charleston on Christmas Day. There were window boxes filled with flowers in bloom, and gardens galore in front of the pastel-colored buildings and homes. My daughter's neighbors had Camellias in bloom, in Cayce (West Columbia).

I really want to move to SC, especially after being indoors so much the past couple of winters here in the north. Besides that, my fig trees died from the cold, and I know I would be able to grow figs in the south. Being able to spend more of the year outdoors in the garden is so much more healthy than gazing out the windows and wishing all the white stuff would go away. I love the mountains, but I could love them a lot more further south! You'll be moving to an area I can only dream about, and I wish you all the happiness in the world, and let us know when you're ready for seeds.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 3:39PM
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Oh, my!! How exciting!! To be moving further south... where there is less snow... where there are the most beautiful Rhododendrons... where summers are longer... where - oh, who am I kidding. I'm going to miss your announcement of that first sprout which lets me know I'm about three weeks away.

But what a wonderful adventure to embark on! To be able to create new gardens and be inundated with lots of new things to keep life vibrant.

I will repeat Mary's soon-to-be famous last words, "Let us know when you're ready for seeds."!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 4:20PM
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Gdionelli, thanks for the tip on the music store - as a member of MTNA, I'll get in touch with the South Carolina chapter when I get there, and that will give me a networking base. As far as amending soil goes, that's been in the works here for several years - my soil is good part sand, and underneath that, rock, so compost is the name of the game. I have heard about the clay in the Carolinas. Any possibility I'll escape Japanese beetles?

Susan, plants have priority over clothes in this move, LOL. I'm hoping to take a piece of that Bluebird hibiscus that I gave Tiffy seeds from a few years ago (has that bloomed yet, Tiffy?). I also have some hydrangeas (one that bloomed beautifully after a 7-year wait, waaaah) I bent and pinned branches down to root in the fall (serendipity?); I hope that was successful and I can cut them loose and pot them up in the spring.

Rich, that something that will remind me of my NE home has to be a rosa rugosa - I have successfully grown them from seed from Planting Island Beach (how appropriate is that?), and I will try some alba seeds from the bush my Mom gave me when we moved here in '96 as well.

Mary and Tiffy, the other thing I'm taking in lieu of clothes is my overstuffed seed box. And I'm still trying to figure out a way to take the compost.

Thanks for all your support, folks - this has been a bit of a rough week. I announced the move (via email) to my students, and the feedback I'm getting is that they are pretty devastated about it, especially the younger ones. And because this is a small town, by the time I arrived at school for the concert today, the music teachers already knew. When I get teary about it, I remind myself that not everyone is sad - there will be a couple of neighbors doing the happy dance when I go (this is true, and not a huge deal :))!

    Bookmark   February 14, 2008 at 11:46PM
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Drippy..I made a totally inappropriate post and I apologise profusely..I just saw the word "Spartanburg" and my emotions kicked in..I'm sorry.
I wish you all the best in your new environment. I wish I could live at that latitude, it must be like heaven on earth for anyone having troubles with our severe winters. Your bones, if they're like mine, will be so happy with the new-found warmth all year, and OMG, Spring starts, when...February?
I wish you all the happiness, and excitement that a change can create, and I know that by next summer, you will have the best garden in the neighbourhood. (Watch out for those new neighbours!)
Thank you for being such a good mentor here on GW.


    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 12:19AM
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Good heavens, Wendy, I didn't take offense at your post at all - we all go through *stuff* in life! In fact, it sort of made me laugh, because my good friend that is down there is originally from the UK, on his second marriage - but although we've been out of touch for a couple of years, my DH saw him when he was down there, and I believe he's in touch with his girls, so I don't think he's the same person! Anyhow, I'm hoping for a little more land out of this deal, so the neighbors may have a little breathing space - we are not the world's best neighbors in terms of appearances, IMHO (DH would be not too happy if he knew I was writing this) - we have a cluttered yard (heck, I'm a wintersower) and the lawn is - well, it really ISN'T - not the best look for a suburban neighborhood. Plus I have, in what I thought was the nicest possible way, discussed the safety issues with people letting their toddlers play in the street unsupervised - very liberal area here - and I know that's been perceived as my being snotty & critical. Oh well. For the most part, I get along well with most of my neighbors, and I know the ones whose children I teach piano to will be sorry to see me go!

    Bookmark   February 17, 2008 at 7:39AM
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moonphase(z7 Ga)

drippy,I was born in Ga. and have been here all my life.I love it here.I live in North Ga so in an Hr.I can be in NC,Tenn,or Al easily.I go to NC quite often.My ex husband was born and raised in SC,Columbia.I love visiting Myrtle Beach,the moutains are gorgeous.The people are almost always friendly.You will love it here.The growing season is long and you will love all the things that are so easy to grow here.I live in a tourist town and we have tons of northern transplants living here and loving it.We have a wonderful north Ga. college,The army rangers are trained here,am I bragging,lol.I must admit I am partial to Ga. but if I had to move,it would be NC....Search the chamber of commerce,study their maps,you will feel right at home,even before you get there.I am so glad you are moving this way.

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 12:35AM
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Good luck, drippy - I didn't realize the move is going to be so soon - Lots of luck, you will love it in the Carolinas


    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:06PM
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mnwsgal 4 MN(4)

Good luck on your move, drippy. We have moved many times and have found good friends and interesting experiences everywhere. I didn't really start to garden seriously until moving back to MN but remember some of the different experiences gardening in St. Louis. Was glad not to have to dig the calla lily bulbs each year as they survived the winter in the ground there.

We drove two cars back to MN--one filled with plants!

    Bookmark   February 19, 2008 at 9:52PM
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Last night I did some WSing to save my sanity - which of course got me started thinking about WSing in the Carolinas. Any of you Carolinians, particularly SC, who might be reading this - when do you typically start? Do you get enough winter to do multiple dormancy plants, like trees? When do things typically start germinating for you? Do you have to water your containers before they germinate? (I don't in southern NE) What is the time frame, usually, between germination and seedling frying season?

Questions, questions, questions...

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 6:36AM
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I live in the middle of SC - miles south of where you will be and usually several degrees warmer. I start WS around Christmas with perennials and hardy annuals. Most are up within 3 weeks. Of course, that depends on what it is - some things are just slower to germinate.

I wet the mix in the containers VERY well before sowing and don't have to water again until after the tops come off. (And I keep them on even after true leaves form just to retain moisture.) Once they are off it's nip and tuck til time to plant them out. The warm temps and spring breezes really dry things out in a hurry. And the rain situation hasn't been good so that doesn't help. Here it is very important to have a good amount of potting mix in the container - none of those shallow ones worked for me - because it is a trick to keep them moist once the plants grow and the temperatures start to warm.

I haven't tried trees - at my age I still buy green bananas but I don't plant trees from seed!

Last year I planted bachelor button out into the flower bed in February and it worked just fine even though we had a very late freeze in April! The only WS babies I lost in that were some zinnias and cosmos. I didn't give them ANY extra protection, though, and they were already up by then. I'll be more careful when extra cold temperatures are predicted in the future.

Welcome, by the way! We can always use more good gardeners down here! I hope the positives (long growing season, vast array of plants to grow) will help offset the negatives (leaving your dear friends and a place you love).

    Bookmark   February 20, 2008 at 9:56AM
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Thanks, Linda - it all sounds good!

    Bookmark   February 21, 2008 at 9:06AM
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