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Silly things the neighbors say about your garden?

11 years ago

I have gotten soooo many comments. But the strangest was the woman who would walk by every spring, and accuse me of naming my roses after old boyfriends. Each conversation ended with "Maybe next time you'll tell me what happened between William Baffin and you."

This year I am in a new place and the only one within blocks who grows so many roses. Or any roses. No strange comments yet. Everyone seems to love the roses. Mostly they just tell me I am working too hard (but it's not work to me!)

Comments (51)

  • 11 years ago

    Catsrose, 12? I have only four, and my grandchildren still laughingly call me the crazy cat lady. AND a stone cow? I would love to have a stone cow. The closest I can come is a piece of an old fountain with a boy riding a fish. The kids call him fishboy.

    The most common comment I get is that I have way too much to take care of, which may actually be true. But then I read the thread about do you have a gardener on the rose forum, and I've got nothing to compare to what some of you are taking care of.

    Well, what did happen between you and old Will?

  • 11 years ago

    People seem to be very concerned, given that I am growing over a thousand varities, that I should be doing something practical or making money from my roses. The first question is almost always, "Do you sell them"? Then come the suggestions. I had a brandy maker offer me a case of liquere for my entire spring bloom. One neighbor wanted to pick up prunings to feed goats. It's always. "What do you do with them all"?

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  • 11 years ago

    What do you do Mendocino LOL! hahahehe

  • 11 years ago

    LOL! I'd like to know if she thinks you also had a falling out with the Queen of Denmark? :)

  • 11 years ago

    Not totally about my garden, but it's a funny story.

    This year at the end of February, my husband and I spent several hours working on the front garden beds. Put in some baby roses, new annuals and fresh mulch. It all looked pretty good! Just as we were surveying our hard work, our neighbor arrives home next door with his wife and kids. A casual conversation develops, and our neighbor, seeing our efforts, begins talking about how he's going to have a better lawn this year. (The drought last year took a toll.) He says in a rather gradiose manner , "I don't really care about all that (points to my garden), I'm fine with what we have."

    OMG, the second he said that I couldn't even help it.. I pointedly looked over at his front garden which consisted of only 5 plain bushes and several weeds three feet tall. It hadn't been tended to in many, many months. Surely my face said it all... Really? Anywho he sort of went on about his lawn for a minute and then they all shuffled inside. The next day we went out to lunch and did some shopping, and what did we see when we pulled into our driveway? Our neighbor's entire family pulling weeds out of their front garden and fixing it up. They looked so embarrassed to be seen! We still get a giggle out of that. :)

  • 11 years ago

    My dad was always proud of his garden and could see it in what he thought it could be, the neighbors I think all saw it as bringing down their property values and a candidate for hoarders. Most of the neighbors rarely said hi. He did have a pilot stop by once to see just what all that green was about. And he always gave garden tours, he did have an incredible number and variety of fruit trees growing.

    When we started cleaning it up, after the insurance company said enough-mom thought a few fresh ropes would do the trick. Everyone thought we were selling. We would get stopped by neighbors who never talked to us and ask, with a big lot they figured it was getting split up and homes built.

    We are just finishing the clean up, after 6+ years! But the whole lot is transformed in to useful and no junk piles.

    One accidental change has been that my thinning and lowering the fruit trees to levels we can pick, is that this spring then in bloom, the garden had almost an umbrella of flowers over it. Neighbors who had never realized those were fruit trees all stopped to look and the patchwork quilt of pinks and whites and enjoy it.

    And, our formerly not so friendly street is having their second annual garden party at the house next door, thanks to those neighbors! I hope by next year we can have a rotating garden party and visit each others gardens, because there are a few incredible ones on our street.

  • 11 years ago

    People say really nice things. They do say "Isn't that a lot of work?

    I think to myself, "Roses are work?!?"

  • 11 years ago

    One neighbor always ask me if the flowers are real. There is one strange house in our neighborhood where the lady puts out plastic flowers in the winter :)

  • 11 years ago

    Ours is the only house on Gypsy Lane where roses grow. Or, for that matter, brugmansias, plumerias, or fuchsias.

    Two neighbors "collect" cars that no longer run.
    One neighbor has turned her home into an unofficial "half-way" house for homeless, drug-using youth.
    One neighbor quit watering decades ago, and has a front yard full of weeds. Usually dead weeds. (But ladybugs do reproduce there in large numbers.)

    The only comments we get on our garden are: "Surely, THAT is not a rose." or "What is THAT?" or "Oh my, THAT smells wonderful.)

    Jeri

  • 11 years ago

    Buford

    I had a photo buddy in NJ who did fountains that dropped all the water in to rock ponds, he did not want cats to drink his water. Complete with every garden statue you can imagine and fake water lilies. Of course the fake flowers matched all of his "flower beds" also filled with fake flowers. He would paint them every spring so he could change the "landscape" colors

  • 11 years ago

    While looking out over my back yard garden with all the plants, pots, bird baths, towers, trellises, statues, bird houses, etc., one friend said while shaking her head with mock disdain; "What you need is some more sh*t in your back yard."

    I'm still laughing about that.

  • 11 years ago

    Mine ask "What kind of flower is that?" Mind you, there are ~75 roses in the front of the house. And when I respond, "it is a rose", they respond, "No, really, what kind of flower is that?"

    And, like Buford, I get a few "Are they real?"

  • 11 years ago

    we are very cheek by jowl here in Cambridge and we can all see into each others gardens but I know my neighbours like mine and I like theirs too. We have all, as a street, raised our game in the last few years - there are 9 houses and although I am not the first obsessive gardener, I am certainly the most flamboyuant - my garden has been spilling out onto public paths for a few years. A man did used to behead the odd lily a few years ago and the occasional pot has been nicked....but anyway, 4 houses have pots on the pavement outside (there is no garden, just front door then pavement so this is quite a statement - 'reclaim the pavement/sidewalk'. It is a really mixed street but gardening seems to be, if not a great leveller, at least a beneficient force. I would guess my neighbours may well have various reasons to moan about me - the elderly barking collie for one, but gardening has always been a very positive force in our street and near locale for which I count myself fortunate - there have been murders in the UK over hedges and theft of clematis and vegetables.

  • 11 years ago

    Much of this all sounds quite familiar! In my Granada Hills garden in the early 80s, there grew 300+ roses and anything with scented foliage..geraniums, herbs, etc. A cousin, visiting from Arizona told me I was the only person she knew with a "scratch and sniff" garden.

    These days, since it's all behind a secure wall along the street and land locked in back so there is no access and no chance of anyone messing with anything, the occasional visitor, upon seeing all the string tags from the pollinated flowers, exclaim, "Oh, you SELL the roses?" Beats the little old lady who used to come down to the garden in Newhall, which bordered a planned community. She would snap off all the "ugly dead flowers" with their string tags (my pollinations!) to HELP me! Kim

  • 11 years ago

    I don't know if my neighbors consider these comments silly, but they're definitely stuck with them now! Years ago, as I was transforming my back yard from a large boring suburban lawn to less of a lawn surrounded by fun garden spaces, my neighbors that connect on the east side were raving about how nice my shade bed looked. They had just taken down a rickety child play structure in the adjoining bed in their yard, and they mentioned "oh, it would be so nice if you just continued that garden right up into ours".

    Oh my, the temptation was immediate - you mean more garden space already prepared that I can play in?? I had to check several times to make sure they were serious, then I've been moving and planting over there ever since. Now the beds make a lovely continuous sweep between the yards, even broken up by a fence we put in when we thought we would be able to get a dog (sigh - allergies!) A few roses ended up on their side of the fence - Bonica and Larry Daniels come to mind - but I pop over and deadhead them frequently for them. Those neighbors love to look out their deck and call my yard their "secret garden". Then once we'd had this lovely 6' black fence installed with no dog to justify it...gee, what's a rose gardener to do with yards of blank fence (like that's a question)? I did ask them by courtesy if they'd mind if I grew climbing roses up the sides of the fence, and they just laughed and agreed.

    The same neighbors have suggested casually I might do the same with the front sidewalk strip from my mailbox to theirs, but my DH has gently vetoed that. I've given plants and/or roses to almost every other neighbor on my circle, so I think the only silly comments I get from them any more are "why aren't you out working in your yard" or "gosh, I'll have to get one of those for my yard" (as I whip out my shovel to dig them some).

    And yes, I consider myself blessed in my neighbors, in many ways.

    Cynthia

  • 11 years ago

    Because I mix all my roses together. OGRs, shrubs, HTs, minis, whatever, I do get a lot of people who can't believe they're all roses. They'll point to Dainty Bess growing next to Graham Thomas and ask, "those are both roses?" My answer, "Yes, they're ALL roses! And there are lots of kinds I don't even have...yet, lol!" I like when they ask questions. It gives me a chance to tell people there are other roses besides KOs! I DON'T appreciate who ever it is that thinks they can just help themselves to blooms when ever they like. I lost a big spray off of Double Joy this week and they broke the whole branch taking it. If they'd asked I would have just cut it for them!

  • 11 years ago

    My garden is hidden from the street so passers-by only comment on the roses by the gate. My five neighbours say nothing now but the first years they told my husband and me that we would soon tire of gardening because they'd been through the same phase. The neighbourhood is very varied with many nice gardens although they are very different from mine. One neighbour gave us a picture of our garden taken from his kitchen window. It was a nice gift because his house is much taller and the ground slopes down to our garden so it was a view we'll never see.

  • 11 years ago

    When I lived just outside of San Diego and was growing all of my roses in containers, I would get the funniest comments when I was outside watering the containers when it was "raining". To me, it wasn't rain, just a heavy mist. There was no way the rain would get past the foliage and into the containers.

    I cannot tell you how many times my neighbors told me that I was a "garden slave" and a total idiot to water in the rain.

    Smiles,
    Lyn

  • 11 years ago

    "Are those Knock Outs?"

    Now that's silly.

    Sherry

    Here is a link that might be useful: If only sweat were irrigation...

  • 11 years ago

    Try bringing in a huge vase of over forty DIFFERENT mauve HTs and floribundas to be greeted with, "LOOK at all the Sterling Silvers!" Funniest part was, I didn't GROW Sterlins Silver at that time! Kim

  • 11 years ago

    I am always asked about bouquets taken into work " what flowers are these" or "wow your peonies are so pretty".

    Guess it just shows many are only familiar with typical hybrid teas, so anything that is different certainly cannot really be a rose :)

  • 11 years ago

    MMM, I know -- I get this comment a lot: "THAT'S A ROSE?!?!?!?"

    One of my neighbors dropped by after visiting the S.A. Botanical Gardens with her daughter's class. She looked around my back yard and said, "Good lord, you've got more d*mn plants than the botanical garden!"

    Well, not quite, but I'm trying ;-)

    It seems I have a couple of friends that use very 'colorful' language. Sorry about that.

  • 11 years ago

    At the new home, only family, friends and one nieghbor sees my gardens, Im quite fine with it that way.

    My father in law did comment that usually only retired people have big gardens.. whatever that means!

    Compared to some of you, my gardens are pathetically small! I dont think that wouldve been the answer he was looking for, I have about 50-60 roses, a 1000 daylily seedlings give or take and a few hundred perrenials, mixed with some annuals, I think. I dont keep count per se.

  • 11 years ago

    Oh I missed the one about the string tag lady! LOL.. My own mother has SNAPPED off my daylily seed pods "trying" to help.

    Frankly I give up, most poeple either are doing becuase they dont like the dried up flowers and think you should be doing something about it, or are stuffy about being corrected, or think some knowledge passed down to them from some second hand shops store keeper, is going to impress me with thier gardening wisdome HA! You guys made me laugh this morning with this thread!

    Silverkelt

  • 11 years ago

    A few years back, I hosted a garden walk for my rose society. Seeing as how they were all coming from 75 miles away, I had signs up along the road to direct them in as I live in an extremely rural setting. At one point in the walk as I was chatting with people in my backyard gardens, I looked up to see two of my "neighbors" in the crowd. (Now, keep in mind, in my sparsely populated township, anyone within several miles is a "neighbor.") I greeted them, and they seemed embarrassed to have been noticed. One said, "We saw the signs and decided to sneak in - we've been wondering for years what you have been growing back here. Are they ALL roses???" LOL! I'd have given them a personal tour any time if they'd asked; I thought no one in the area was interested!

  • 11 years ago

    The silliest thing involving a neighbor and the garden was non-rose-related. One neighbor raved for months about a display of Shasta Daisies I had. I thought she'd like to have some of her own (especially as I was about to remove mine), so spent a couple of months rooting some offsets for her and bringing them to a good size for planting. I gave them to her; and, six months later, I happened to ask how she liked her Shasta Daisies. She looked at me blankly for a moment, and then said, "Oh, I forgot all about them." Then she glanced at a spot in her yard which was bare. "I guess my husband weeded them out," at which point she changed the subject. I wonder how many garden comments are just meaningless small-talk...

  • 11 years ago

    Seil, wonder if you would still have roses pilfered if you put a sign in your garden that said.... Beware! Roses have been sprayed with a toxin to kill bugs - Dangerous if touched! Might provide some amusement and protect your roses!

  • 11 years ago

    My dad used to tell the story of a farmer where he grew up outside of Pittsburgh, PA (Depression era) who had trouble with neighborhood kids stealing his watermelons. The farmer put up a sign saying one of the melons was poisoned, in hopes of preventing theft. Dad said, "someone" altered the sign to read, "Three melons are poisoned" and the entire crop rotted in the field. Kim

  • 11 years ago

    I don't have neighbors close enough to make (or me to hear) comments. But, I bring a bouquet into work at least a few times a week. Countless times I've been asked "Are they real?", and when I reply - yes they are from my garden, I get - "you really grew those"? I have had people come over to my desk with phone cameras and snap pictures (a few of those I send home with the bouquet at the end of the day). Then I have a friend whose husband is a rose junkie, so I bring in bouquets for her to take home to him. I got great comments about a dahlia I brought in the other day - one guy came up and said - "OMG - that's as big as my head"!. Not knowing his ego I could go either way on that.

  • 11 years ago

    this pesky neighbor who lets his dog poop in our yard, but tries, or IS so 'nice'...idk, not my favorite neighbor, anyway, once when jogging by, he said (as I was tending a raised bed with 50+ roses) that "his dad raised tomatos too!"

    as if I would have 50 tomato plants in the front yard??!! :)

  • 11 years ago

    Ilovemyroses-

    Still laughing over the tomato plant comment.

    Shaking my head... :)

  • 11 years ago

    These stories are great! I also get the 'THAT'S a rose?' 'Hey, why aren't you in your garden?' some neighbors have asked to see what's in the backyard-the front is visible but you can only see enough into the back yard enough to tell that there's a lot growing in there.
    Apparently, everyone in the neighborhood knows about my garden. I was helping a friend with her garden yesterday and the man from housing drove by and asked me if I would be gardening for the neighbors as well. I don't even know him, only moved here in March. I said 'how do you know I garden?' And he said 'Are you kidding? The whole neighborhood is talking about it!!'
    I'd be really upset if anyone tried to 'help' me by messing around with my stuff Kim!
    I have had several people tell me I am welcome to garden in their yards but after yesterday and the heat I don't know how much more I can take on...

    Oh and I don't grow Queen of Denmark but I know that neighbor was DYING to ask about Kathleen!!! She would just stand in front of it and raise her eyebrows at me. I was probably the most prolific tramp she ever met.

  • 11 years ago

    I have put signs up saying to ask for flowers, that I'd be happy to cut them, but it didn't help. Unfortunately we live on a main drag and only a block away from a 7-Eleven that the kids hang out at all summer so I'm sure it's probably teens taking them as they walk by the house. It isn't that I mind them taking them. It's that they do damage in the process. And of course there are certain weeks during the year when I have shows coming up and don't want to lose things I've been grooming for a show. That happened last fall. Someone literally cleaned out the bed the day before the show and everything I'd been hoping to have to exhibit was gone! My brother wants to get a camera system. I'm thinking electric fence!!!

  • 11 years ago

    I vote for the electric fence. It only hurts for a little time. My DHs dogs were digging holes to China in my roses and nothing stopped them until I put in a temporary electric fence. I laughed so hard the first time they got in it. My husband says I have a mean streak, but I shocked myself with it first, and it's more of a surprise than painful. If these people don't trespass they won't get zapped. It never fails to shock me (no pun intended) that people think they have the right to help themselves to something that someone else has worked so hard on.

  • 11 years ago

    Wouldn't motion activated deer scarers be fun! They work great and were quite a 'shocker' ;-) for early morning joggers who chose the sidewalk instead of the street when I had them set up for deer. I didn't intend them for people of course and got up early to turn them off, but not early enough on a few occasions. You could aim them to activate only if people came INTO your yard. And set them high so dogs and cats don't set them off.

  • 11 years ago

    Great stories all! My neighbor seems to take immense pleasure that my OGR's are done blooming and his Knockout's are still going strong. I'm hoping that the Knockouts are more susceptible to rose rosette disease and it hits his yard before mine. :)

  • 11 years ago

    Great post---I'm ejoying all the comments--
    Florence

  • 11 years ago

    By the way, in case anyone is not familiar with them the 'deer scarer' is a water sprinkler; one of those 'chink-chink-chink' kind that delivers a full force jet spray. It works pretty good against deer and no telling what else.

    Here is a link that might be useful: Motion activated scarecrow water sprinkler ...

  • 11 years ago

    Most of my neighbors are complimentary. I bring them bouquets during the summer months. One neighbor..oh my.. I'm guessing she must be jealous. The comments verge on plain rude. Ex.: "Dearie, do you actually need all those over there? They all look exactly the same." Under her breath she murmors...there are children starving in India.
    One neighbor has mentioned that she is glad we garden as she is sure that since we are outside so much the theives will go elsewhere.
    I think that the neighborhood has become closer as most stop to chat when we're outside which is most of the time. It's a good thing. They probably stop as I share some flowers.
    Jeannie

  • 11 years ago

    Mostly, I get warm, appreciative compliments, but every so often I hear, "Are you out here working--again?" As if it were some sort of felony or aberrant behavior to be deadheading in front of the house.
    Something puckish in my nature came up with the idea that if catsrose really wants to know what folks are saying, she should plant a bug--a recording device--on her cow. Which I would dearly love to see a picture of.

    Kay

  • 11 years ago

    Hi Seil: I'm so sorry that teenagers steal your efforts in roses. I like Roseseek's story of "poisoned melons". An electric fence might be expensive, something cheap would be an official looking printed sign such as:

    TESTING FIELD FOR SPOROTHRIX FUNGUS - Report any rose prick to emergency room within 24 hours before infection spread.

    TESTING FIELD FOR ROSE ROSETTE DISEASE - Report any virus transmission to human within 24 hours to CDC (Center for Disease Control at www.cdc.gov)

    TESTING FIELD FOR ROSE MITE - Any inflammation of being bitten should be sterilized with 90% alcohol, and any swelling and fever should be seen by a physician immediately.

    *** Seil: I guarantee you such signs should keep teenagers from picking your roses. It's like the true story of a old guy who got sick of teenagers beating up on his garbage can. So he put up a sign, "Please bang on my garbage can exactly 20 times at 7 am, and I'll pay you a dime." After that, no more banging, because it's no longer fun, it's sheer work for teenagers.

  • 11 years ago

    The signs wouldn't work to dissuade teens. None of them would have ANY idea what they mean. The only ones who might, aren't touching your roses anyway. What people did on a walking route I used to take with a friend to prevent people from stealing their grapes (the front was the only sunny place they could plant them) was to enclose them in chain link. The rest of the yard just had the usual fence, but within eight or so feet of the grapes, it was easily 8' tall and wrapped around the side of the yard to keep the neighbors from snitching them, too. Kim

  • 11 years ago

    LOL...this is the funniest thread! I think I may be the flip side of Catrose...I have 12 dogs and 500 rose varieties! So I guess to my neighbors I must be the crazy dog day who grows roses :)

    Tammy

  • 11 years ago

    Gosh they need to let us go back and edit these posts (for those of us who don't proofread beforehand!)

    That should have said 'crazy dog LADY" sheesh

    But on another funny note, when my husband and I were first dating and I brought him over to my house he thought I actually named all of my roses MYSELF...like they were pets or something! It took him months to figure out that he wasn't exactly right :)

    Tammy

  • 11 years ago

    And it must have been true love for you not to have told him, Tammy! Your restraint is admirable, formidable, even. I doubt I could have kept my yap shut long enough for even a promising beau to figure it out!

    Kay

  • 11 years ago

    I love this post, so funny. I get "why don't you have your husband doing that digging (lifting, ets.)?" My brother-in-law visited my sister. His idea of a garden was rows of veggies. She has an eclectic cottage garden. He looked directly at it and asked where her garden was. On a similar note, a friend after hearing me talk roses ordered a few. I asked what they were and she said, "A pink one, a red one..." She called me a month or so later freaking out. She said, "someting in wrong with my roses, there are 3 blooms on the same stem." I explained that she had a floribunda, barely supressing my laughter.

  • 11 years ago

    I read this post in the on-line Rose Magazine about a rose grower who buries his head in Scepter'd Isle every day to sniff its blooms. The neighbor asked him, "Did you lose something in the bush?"

  • 11 years ago

    Of course you've heard the story Joe Winchell used to tell about why he named his rose Dolly Parton? The rose has large, intensely fragrant flowers. Joe would say he loved to put a bloom in each hand, and bury his face between them! Dirty old man! LOL! Agnes, his lovely, long-suffering wife, would just stand there and grimace. Kim

  • 11 years ago

    Mostly I get compliments even though my front garden is quite new and I can see it has a few years of growing in to do before you can even see what I've really got in mind. However, my very eldery neighbour's middle-aged son walks past our place almost every day to visit his mum so we stop and chat quite frequently. I have been attempting to plant out the verge with mostly indigenous plants, but it's a difficult situation because it's right by the road (so exposed, very hot, windy), and compacted clay which the council has overlain with dolomite gravel (I hated the gravel, which is why I even started!) At first my neighbour's son told me he couldn't believe I was even trying to grow anything in there, and now he tells me he can't believe my plants are still alive!
    Of course my plants are still alive, a bucket-load of work and care has gone into keeping them that way!

  • 11 years ago

    Why don't you grow herbs/lettuce/tomatoes/leeks/onions/carrots/eggplants/squash (and all other vegetables known to humanity)?

    This question is invariably followed by cries of: Such a pity! Such a waste! If I were you I'd grow herbs/lettuce/tomatoes/leeks/onions/carrots/eggplants/squash (and all other vegetables know to humanity)!

    Well, it's such a rough neighbourhood that people (grownups, not just young hoodlums) would climb over the (rickety) garden gate to get at the veggies. In fact, anything edible in the garden (I got rid of several citrus trees for this very reason) is an invitation for trouble.

    Besides there are many stray cats who come to drink in my garden (I always keep a large bowl of water for my own cats) and there are also 2 stray cats that show up regularly to be fed. Both are great sprayers with a special preference for my hedge and in recent months also for Gartendirektor Otto Linne. I don't think those guys would draw a distinction between ornamental and edible plants.

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Average rating: 4.8 out of 5 stars30 Reviews
Exquisite Landscape Architecture & Design - “Best of Houzz" Winner