From a sprawling backyard garden to an urbane rooftop escape visible only to neighboring high rises, Lolita Aaron’s transformation from suburban gardener to urban gardener provides unlikely lessons in renewal and regeneration.
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Lolita spent 28 years looking out her kitchen window at a garden full of years of living, and loving (pictured left).
“My husband and I were moving in 7 weeks, and it felt as if my life was ending,” she recalls of her suburban garden. “Intellectually, I was aware we had ‘lucked out’ so to speak. That we sold the house at a good price and that we were moving to a lovely area, fun and vibrant, and funky. We would have a roof terrace, and be on one level and all that practical stuff.”
But leaving a home and a garden you’ve tended for so long comes with inevitable sorrow. “We had loved the house; we had loved the garden and taken care of it. We had shared it with visitors and showed it off. Often I cursed it, especially in November when every deciduous tree shed its leaves. But I loved it again in winter when it showed off its structure. And again when I saw the first limey green appearance of the maples unfurling their foliage. It never ended. The love affair went on for years and years.
“Gardening has taught me the lesson of beginnings and endings, and of cycles and of renewal. It isn’t about the plants. It’s about the things that have happened in the garden. Those things don’t stop, it just means we have to go up a flight of stairs now.”