One of the things that really bothered me when we began remodeling our house was losing some of the plants that we really liked. I could care less about the cherry tree that kept regrowing each time we cut it back, and I certainly had nothing but hard feelings for the poison ivy that was creeping down the basement stairwell. It felt like I was giving up on the things that I liked, but there simply wasn’t time to dig up and relocate all of the plants we wanted to save — the butterfly bush, a Carolina Allspice bush, a hop plant, and about a hundred wonderful little lily of the valley flowers in shades of white and pink.
Ben made an effort to dig up the butterfly bush that had taken residence outside of one of the windows on the north side of the house. The bush was only a couple of years old, and had appeared on its own one summer. It had taken root from seeds from another butterfly bush that we had planted years ago in another part of the yard. The old bush wasn’t doing too well because it was in a shady area of the yard, but this new plant was in direct sunlight, and its trunk was at least three inches in diameter. However, the root system was buried in dirt that had the consistency of concrete. That Saturday, the temperature was about 98 degrees and after about 10 minutes, Ben announced that it would simply be easier to purchase a new bush after the construction was done. We decided that would apply to about everything else, too.
In the last two months, all the plants that were in the small garden at the front of the house and those along the northern side have been cut down, trampled by men and machinery, crunched under roofing beams and drywall and toolboxes, and trampled some more. The grass has long since receded from the front yard, no doubt heading for better pastureland.
It seems that we gave up too soon on these plants. The butterfly bush has staged a comeback, and a multitude of branches are springing out of the old trunk. It’s only about a foot and a half tall at this point, but it’s a vigorous grower — it’s only taken about two or three weeks to get this big. We might still have to move the plant out from the porch a little, but now at least we have the time to soak the ground and dig up the plant when it goes dormant in the late fall. The best part is going to be when the plant blooms next year, because those fragrant purple flowers are going to be right off our new porch, right where we can see and smell them. And the butterflies are going to be there, too.