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What do the neighbors say?

11 years ago

What do neighbors say or ask you about your garden?

The weirdest question I would get from the same woman every spring was "So tell me what REALLY happened between you and William Baffin."
She insisted that I personally named all of my roses after people I have "known", apparently I have quite a lurid past.

Lots of people will compliment my garden but each summer without fail I hear the same things:

That isn't a rose.
It doesn't look like any rose I've ever seen.
Oh, those aren't real roses.
So, is the garden ever going to be finished?
Boy, you never quit.
What are you doing now?
Are you sure you're supposed to do that?
Do you realize it's 10:00 at night?

What about you guys? And girls?

This post was edited by altorama on Fri, Jun 21, 13 at 12:32

Comments (48)

  • 11 years ago

    Fortunately, after seeing the above list of questions, I can happily say I get zero comments since no one is close enough to see the garden. Visitors often don't "see" the garden either, due to lack of interest or perhaps because my mix of old roses and companion plants doesn't conform to their idea of what a garden should be. It's mostly for me and the squirrels and bunnies.....

    Ingrid

  • 11 years ago

    Same here, Ingrid. Every now and again a repair person or delivery driver will comment on how pretty they think my garden is, but otherwise, it's just for myself.

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  • 11 years ago

    They think it's really beautiful, even when it needs some dead-heading. I have pretty nice neighbors. The ones across the street put chairs in their rec room upstairs and invite people over to enjoy their view. I am happy others enjoy it not just me.

  • 11 years ago

    We are fortunate to have a young couple with two precious children ( who think we are their special grandparents--which thrills us no end)---they love gardening and are teaching the little ones 4 yrs. and 2 yrs. about veggie gardening but they also love the roses--The mommie built a nice arbor and has one of my Zeffy babies on it and I gave her cuttings of MacCartney rose and Abe darby ---they are doing much better in her yard---she has more sun ---- it is so nice to share with a kindred spirit---we are blessed-----the little ones are a true joy---
    Florence

  • 11 years ago

    Some of you all are fortunate enough to live in an area where you actually have land. I live in a "master planned community". Here they think offering 4-5 color selections and floor plans plus stone accents or not creates real differences between homes. With that off my chest...there is not a lot of space between homes; it isn't the worst spacing or the best. As a result, folks can look into your yards from upstairs windows or even balconies. Prior to getting married, the yard was not maintained for over a year. After painting walls in the home, I immediately hired professionals to clean up the yard. From there, I began planting roses and companions as due to neglect, with the exception of trees, nothing had survived. Upon meeting my neighbor who also really likes roses, she said to me " thank you so much for getting that yard and providing such a nice view for us as we look out windows etc. and see your backyard.

    Last year, the neighbor with the home on the other side of us, planted roses and they have been struggling. Mine are healthy and the first flush lasted from March until about a couple of weeks ago. For the past two years, we have not said one word to one another. I've had the feeling that she intentionally avoids me. Well, about a week ago she did not scurry into her home when I arrived home, and she actually waved. Could it be my roses and yard??? Will it be the bridge to start a conversation? Life in the suburbs....

  • 11 years ago

    desertgarden, I would very much dislike the idea of being overlooked by from the houses next door. I wonder if, with some judicious placing of pergolas with climbers and other structures or very large shrubs (assuming your garden isn't small), you could break some of the sightlines so that at least in certain areas, especially the patio, you wouldn't be overlooked. I've never had that issue, but I'm sure I'd feel as though I were living in a fish bowl.

    Gail, if I were living across the street from you I'd probably be doing the same thing, with binoculars at hand to closely study my rose favorites in your front garden.

    Florence, I can well imagine that your sweet personality would attract children and adults alike. How wonderful that you're passing on some of your roses and helping to awaken the love of (older) roses in someone else's heart. I'm sure the little ones will benefit from that too, not to mention having you and your husband as "grandparents".

    Ingrid

  • 11 years ago

    Oh, lawd! Where do I begin? About a year after I moved into my current house, track hoes and cranes landed in my front garden. Granted, the newly installed boulders were a tad bit conspicuous prior to the planting but nonetheless! My next door neighbor sat on her porch every day, watching the progress and shouting to her daughter, "Well, I don't like it! I just don't like it." At my last residence, my main garden covered 85 feet or so of streetside former lawn. My neighbors tooled by in their cars but paused long enough to proclaim, "You can hire people to do that kind of work!" Obviously unbeknownst to my neighbors, I was one of those people who did that kind of work...in my own garden and others. :-) The list could wind into eternity.

    Carol

  • 11 years ago

    Oh, and what has to be the wackiest comment came from a neighbor's son. He said, "If I had a garden like that, I'd plant a whole bunch of ____ (insert illicit substance that grows from the ground) in there 'cause the cops would never find it!" Carol

  • 11 years ago

    I used to in the old garden, but there, even though it was in a guard gated community, many things were stolen by PEOPLE. Now, you can't see squat from anywhere because it's all behind locked gates and tall walls. Across the valley you can tell there is green behind the house, but no one can see what that green is and that suits me just fine! If I want to share my "garden", I invite people in, but NOTHING gets stolen any more. (just eaten!) Kim

  • 11 years ago

    the first year after I bought my house my neighbors complalined:

    "I hate your yard"
    "I liked it the old way when it was just lawn".
    "It's so ugly. "
    " all you have is mud in your front yard"
    I had a long bed dug in, c. 15 feet by 45 feet and planted band sized Tea roses (slow growing Tea roses, they only grew c. 1 foot each year the first two years)
    I planted hundreds of seeds of annuals and perrenials that first year, the ground was covered with a green fuzz of seedlings, then nothing but bare dirt. A vast army of snails ate everything almost overnight.
    I re-seeded. Ditto. repeated. Ditto.
    Finally in the spring I covered what I could afford with flats of Alyssium and Forget me not.

    Now 3 years later now that the roses are filling out I hear:
    I love your garden. (oft repeated)
    "I can smell your flowers as I walk by"
    (fragrant roses and companions are all along the sidewalk; 'Nastarana and R. moschata,mingle with Nicotiana, Jasmine, French and Spanish lavender,' and Mlle Cecille Brunner and Westside Road Cream Tea and Mac and great flurries of sweetly scented sweet peas bloom along my sidewalk border, now. and I hear:
    "I love your garden, what are those??? Oh, you grow Old Roses, that's why it's so beautiful"
    "What are those tall things?"
    "Hollyhock (pink and going on 10 feet tall" "Leeks gone to seed"
    "are those all your cats?"
    "Nope, I have one pet cat, a stray that came with the property, the other 8-12 white cats are probably his relatives, whom I feed twice daily, ( My big white kitty; William the Conqueror is fixed now and his romancing days are over)
    "your companions are covering your rosebushes"
    Ooops, eager to cover up all the bare dirt from the snail assault, I planted several bands of roses in with a few large mature companions, and now the lavender and hydrangea and sweet pea vines are shading the tiny rosebushes in that bed.
    at least all the dirt is covered with plants this year.
    Lux

  • 11 years ago

    Lux
    Your garden sounds like paradise! Isn't it funny what a difference 3 years can make? That's the number I used to mention to clients. Wait for it! Then, by 5 years, wow! We could open a Starting Your Garden from Scratch Support Group to assist others in weathering the early years.

    Altorama
    Your garden looks so mature. You did a great job of transporting mature plants to a new site! No 3-year waiting period for you and your neighbors.

    How's William Baffin doing? :-)

    Carol

  • 11 years ago

    Funny this topic should come up today.

    The neighbors gardener came over to talk to me today and find out what our next project is going to be. He has been watching the garden transform over the past 6 years. He said he looks forward to seeing what is different every time he comes up to work. He has given up offering his card or services, we told him we would love the help, but have no budget for it.

    This week there is a truck bed sized pile of tree stumps at the gate waiting for me to get some help to load and a bit more work done on the veggie garden decorative picket fence.

    Earlier in the week, a tenant of a neighbor came over to see what was blooming this week. In the very lowest part of the yard, dominated by the neighbors oak tree, I have a variety of "no care" plants and bulbs planted so you never know what is blooming now. (the glads are starting down there)

  • 11 years ago

    I'm very lucky. My neighbors appreciate my efforts and have been very patient with circles and squares of dirt cut into the grass. I invite them to visit and also to help themselves to cut flowers. No one abuses the privilege and they feel included. They often bring their visitors to walk thru my garden and I overhear them pointing out their favorite old ones: "Now, this one here is from 1848, but that one there is even older." They have taken wedding and graduation photos here. They often ask me garden advise and I give them plants. Whatever they say about my eccentricities among themselves, I don't hear.

  • 11 years ago

    I have a huge bed of various sorts of hydrangeas. More than once I've had people ask "are those REAL????". They ARE pretty impressive. I must admit to playing with their minds (the questioners', not the hydrangeas', minds, lol) more than once.

    Also...most of my back yard is just paths among the plantings, with an itty-bitty bit of lawn. I had an AC repairman just last week that told me "you could catch jungle-rot in here!"

  • 11 years ago

    How picky are everyone's homeowner's associations?

  • 11 years ago

    My next door neighbors are a lovely couple who own and operate a winery ... 12 acres of grapes. During the growing season, my view of my own garden is limited by the ancient pecan tree in our backyard that screens my view into the distance. The best view is from the neighbors' patio. The two of them sit and have breakfast in the morning while looking at my garden, and I get regular compliments from them and from their winery customers. Their customers are encouraged on nice days to take a stroll with their glasses of wine and walk across the pasture that separates our two properties, to the garden to smell the roses.

    Another neighbor has been known to complain about the trashy appearance of our property. Even in its overgrown, weed-choked current status, the place is head-and-shoulders above what it was when we bought it in 2002.

    mauvegirl8, I was the president of an HOA at one time. Your deed is your contract with them, and you are compelled to strictly adhere to the rules of the association ... whatever those rules may be. My last neighborhood, not the one that I headed, was awful. I got into quite a battle with them over fencing our backyard, and I came out on top because I am so familiar with the state laws that govern their operation. My advice to you is to do the same ... understand the rules of the HOA, and know your state laws, and don't fight a fight that you know you won't win. The association is there to provide continuity and guidance to your neighborhood. That said, I doubt I will EVER live in an HOA neighborhood ever again.

  • 11 years ago

    Mauviegirl, the guidance given to our real estate agent was, "No homeowner's association, large lot/small house, no homeowner's association, no swimming pool, no homeowner's association, quiet street, no homeowner's association..." I had no desire to have my garden design constrained by conventional tastes and majority vote.

    In fact, a major attraction of this house was that the front yard has zero lawn (now there's a radical idea...) and is dominated by a huge 40-year old Mission olive tree that is a landmark in the neighborhood.

    People passing by seem to enjoy the plantings along the sidewalk in front of the olive tree and often ask the names of the plants, which are mostly a mixture of aloes, hesperaloe parviflora, the smaller agaves, yuccas, and some native salvias and quasi-natives such as St. Catherine's lace buckwheat and Oenothera organensis -- "South Africa meets the Southwest", I call it, the one place in the yard that roses don't (can't, really, it really is a desert out there!) dominate. Most of the plants are not seen anywhere else in the neighborhood (some are not even in commerce), and people do seem to find the novelty interesting. People often stop and actually look at the plants and express appreciation for one plant or another.

    I haven't gotten any weird comments, that I can remember.

    This post was edited by catspa on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 10:27

  • 11 years ago

    good information:
    You can never please all people.
    Some will admire & compliment;
    Others file complaints with the association.

    In the absence of HOAs, I often see suburban communities with multiple cars parked on the grass, statues, plastic gnomes & virgin marys, tacky tzchokes, multi-color paint

  • 11 years ago

    Mauve

    Isn't Texas known for its lack of zoning laws? (totally not trying to start any HOA battles-just curious) Interesting that they would still have HOA's for homes.

    While I would not appreciate having a super brightly multi colored house across the street, I did pick up a pair of vintage cement garden ducks this week....lol

    And I KNOW our lack of lawn would irk many HOA's (just a small patch in back under the clothes line) Okay, 99.99% of our place would irk an HOA.

    But that is what is wonderful about gardening, there is no one right way and it helps to know what you want and live where you can create that dream.

  • 11 years ago

    Ha! This reminds of the one complaint (kind of funny) that I did get about my garden. Here, municipal laws set some limits on what goes on in the front yard. You may be warned and eventually fined about cars parked off the pavement and debris that stays for too long (they don't write up gnomes, cement ducks, and other legitimate cultural artifacts, however, or comment on the aesthetics of the plantings...).

    A few years ago, a community service officer was writing up my then-neighbors, as usual, for car-off-the-pavement and garbage laying on the ground. He looked over and saw what he thought were dead shrubs in my front yard and decided to write those up, too. Actually they were the dried stems of Oenothera organensis. These seeds are not available commercially any more, the species is an obligate out-crosser, the kittens confined to the back yard that summer had offed all the pollinators (sphinx moths), apparently, so I got no seed set on the backyard plants, and I was waiting for the front yard seed to mature before cutting back the spent stems.

    The kid writing the warning of course didn't know the difference between a shrub and an herbaceous perennial and did not realize the plants in question were quite alive. I added to my protest about the warning that the species (at that time) was a candidate for federal listing as an endangered species (though it did not get listed in the end), so saving seed was actually a conservation activity. The complaint was withdrawn.

  • 11 years ago

    HOA? I live smack-dab in the middle of a 110+ acre farm. The closest anyone could possibly get to me is 1/4 mile, lol. My yard/garden/lawn (or lack there of) is strictly my business, and that's the way I like it! I realize inheriting a farm is a rare gift, and I know that some wouldn't want to live so far from town, or pay the taxes. But all things considered (deer living in the barn, eating hay, flowers and ROSES; turkeys scratching mulch; rabbits and groundhogs and *DEER* in the garden; skunks digging for grubs, chipmunks digging under everything, everywhere!!!!!! And did I mention DEER?) I still wouldn't trade it for living where someone could restrict my gardening.

    Oh, and back on topic: I had forgotten this, but the funniest thing now, though not at the time, anyone ever said about my garden was when someone stopped in to check out my "nursery" (my pot ghetto was in my driveway at the time) and was offended when I told her nothing was for sale! She accused me of being a racist (she was Middle-eastern) and threatened to sue!

  • 11 years ago

    In much of Clark County, NV, which includes Las Vegas and other cities, homes built after somewhere around 2004 cannot have a front lawn. So there's the county dictating what you can have, due to drought conditions of course, then HOA's. People were in an uproar, they wanted grass, but the county did not back down for the people but made provisions for businesses. Then I hear about other places, that due to drought, and restrictions, cannot water enough to keep green grass, but must have grass; and they would like the option to xeriscape, but the HOA forbids it; go figure...

  • 11 years ago

    HOAs are a royal pain, but no more so than the neighbor who "plants" his old toilet in the front yard and fills it with silk petunias. I've suffered through both and neither is a thing of joy. I hate anyone dictating what I will and will not grow, but I have to agree that in the savannah and deserts, "lawns" are a luxury only arrogance can really afford. Too many communities require them, while the municipalities are restricting when and how you can maintain them. Even if they don't tell you when and how much, they do continue raising the rates to make it too expensive for anyone but the well heeled to afford.

    I was excited to see recently in both the Antelope Valley and Santa Clarita Valley greater use of hesperaloe, leucophyllum, mesquite and several other xerophytic type plants put into greater use for public as well as private landscaping. In these climates, they just make sense. Kim

  • 11 years ago

    Hooray for xeriscaping! Nothing gripes my bum more than a big swathe of grass in the desert! (And this comment is coming from the daughter of an electrical engineer who designed the preferred controller for golf course sprinkler systems.)

    My much-mentioned sister has been attending water-wise garden meetings in Dallas. At some point, she's planning to do the big dig--lawn removal and installation of drought tolerant and native perennials/ground covers. She lives in a neighborhood with a retrofitted (voluntary) neighborhood association, so regulations beyond city codes can't be enforced, but some members of the association can be quite zealous nonetheless. It will be interesting to learn whether the self-appointed landscape patrol officer approves of my sister's front planting scheme or whether the the absence of lawn and moustache shrubbery is as offensive to her/his eyes as the bed of fading (native) spiderwort.

    My own neighborhood must be the antilawn capital of the U.S. Most of my neighbors seem to have raised beds plunked right in the middle of what, in other locales, would probably be a patches of grass. Tomatoes and sunflowers, and sometimes old roses, abound! One neighbor edged her beds with bowling balls in all the colors of the rainbow. Another created sculptures from found pieces of everything under the sun (or, in the case of PDX, clouds). Another mounted a rusty vintage bicycle in the gable over the garage door. My favorite neighbor is a local botanical garden volunteer. She lined her retaining wall with toy dinosaurs and horses and neighborhood children hang out and play with them.

    Carol

  • 11 years ago

    Carol, your neighborhood sounds fun.

    Kim, the neighbor across the street has a flower "bed" a vintage bed frame with flowers. Guess it is not exactly the planted toilet....

    A neighbor up the street has religious scenes in junk art that he collected and made and the front of his garage has a variety of vintage sporting goods attached.

    I think that this is why the neighbor at the bottom of the street is so unhappy at the rest of the block, but she should have listened when the real estate agent said it was a "quirky" street. Bet she was the leader of the last HOA.

  • 11 years ago

    Carol,
    I like your support group idea,
    hahahahaha, pot ghetto.... threatened to sue for not having a nursery!!! it's sooo funny!!!

    Lux

  • 11 years ago

    What a hoot! I needed a good chuckle today.

    Because of all the potted ones I have, and all the seedlings, most people want to know if I'm running a nursery. When I explain that they're my seedlings they usually respond that they didn't know that roses grew from seeds. Not sure how they thought they grew...? Spontaneous generation?

  • 11 years ago

    Houston is full of Homeowner's Associations. Some of the older or revived communities might not have one. They are usually very colorful houses, not cookie-cutter, maybe a car that stopped running a few years back, a lush jungle front yard, an income apartment in the backyard.

    Houston is not into xeriscaping (yet). I was vacationing in Austin recently. Austin is keen on xeriscaping. But the climates differ. They have very dry heat and rocky hilly areas.

    We are flat, super flat, and super green. Houston is a spawling very large concrete city with freeways that loop, and large billboards. There is little natural beauty here. Galveston is about 40 minutes away. There are plenty of beach houses and cruise ships and natural Gulf of Mexico beauty. Articles have been written how it's Houston's best kept secret. It was very neglected in recent years (hurricanes).

    My suburb is brand new. You have 30 days to put sod in your backyard. Your front yard comes with grass, green bushes, and 2 Oak trees (1 middle of yard/1 street easement).

    Any changes require permission which you usually don't find out until you receive your first violation. You are preoccupied even thrilled about closing and moving in, buying furniture, etc.
    Soon, you pick up a couple of flowers, let's say roses......a Crepe Myrtle....hmm

    It is one community divided by 2. Yes, 2 phases of construction. So the latter HOA has different bylaws. There is a little community park in the 1st section that section 2 is not suppose to go to. They've actually informed people of this.

    Applications must be accompanied by a lot survey.
    As in, where exactly do you plan on placing that tree?
    Yes, draw a circle or arrow as to where on your lot!
    Any requests are placed on hold until the lot survey is received.

    A few violations in the neighborhood include: leaving your
    city trash container out on the curb after collection and the opposite placing it too early on the curb. We all push the rolling plastic black trash containers the night before. So, if you go on vacation during trash pick up you are sure to receive a violation letter in the mail.

    One house has been sent violation letters for frying fish in their garage (opened), parking too many cars on the street. They now spread their car stash throughout the street and 1 steet over at the community mail box area. It is estimated 6-8 cars for personal use - many people plus their visitors.

    People have been in the news, losing their homes and condos for petty disputes. One case, the HOA placed a lien on the house. Then, purposely sold the house for a pittance with a capital P!

    This post was edited by mauvegirl8 on Sat, Jun 22, 13 at 22:51

  • 11 years ago

    Mauvegirl, that sounds hard. What happened to the happy medium: respect for standards combined with freedom to act and create?
    I live on a former farm, and while practically no one on earth besides my husband and me is interested in our garden, at least I don't get violation letters or snide comments. We try to take care of our property, which was run down when we acquired it a dozen years ago, and garden in an ecologically responsible fashion, which means among other things no summer water after the first year. I wish I had people I could share my garden with, because it has periods when parts of it are beautiful, but have resigned myself that that's not likely to happen.
    Good luck getting a good garden while dodging the violation letters!
    Melissa

  • 11 years ago

    I know one of the properties I did for my boss, the door bell stopped working. So we installed a wireless button and bell.

    They got a violation and a fine for a non matching door bell button.

    And when the association replaced the light fixture, we got a violation and fine for that too....that they "graciously" decided to remove after a few letters

  • 11 years ago

    Mauvegirl--

    Arrrgh! That's me screaming for you from Portland. The ultra nitpickiness is all over the Dallas area, too. My sis's last place was in a HOA neighborhood that came with its own lawn butchers...I mean landscape crew. Do not ask about the fate of her beloved dogwood tree. The 6PM to 6PM trash can rule was enforced there, too. PDX also has its share of HOAs. Just trying working as a garden designer in one of them. Whew! In order to make a living, I was forced to charge my clients for all the extra time I spent on phone calls, letters, meetings, and detailed plans...just to install flower beds or replace a dead pear tree. Galveston: My family vacationed there when I was a kid. I have sweet memories of the beach and the historical buildings that survived the 1900 hurricane. Somewhere, I still have a touristy photo package from an old church where the circular staircase was built without a single nail.

    Kippy--

    Your doorbell story would make me incredulous, but it's so absolutely spot on. I love it that the HOA sent you that nice letter excusing your (their) light fixture violation. (Eyes rolling.)

    I think my whole neighborhood is a bit "quirky."

    Carol

  • 11 years ago

    The question I'm asked most often: Why aren't the deer eating everything in YOUR yard?

  • 11 years ago

    My favorite comment above is " You could get jungle rot in there!" Hahaha!

  • 11 years ago

    That must be a lot of work
    Did you get those at Home Depot
    Why don't you have any Knockouts
    Are those Knockouts
    Can you help me with my yard
    Why doesn't your husband help you (because I won't let him touch my roses!!!!)
    I bet the inside of your house is even nicer (um, NO!)
    What kind of chemicals are those
    When are the roses going to bloom

    But the best comment I overheard was when a group of kids came to the door selling something for school. As they walked away, I heard them through the open window say 'those are the crazy cat people'. LOL

  • 11 years ago

    The question I get all the time is,"How do you do that??" I tell them the roses do it, not me. I just water, feed and spray. Another question I get is "where can I buy roses like that??"

  • 11 years ago

    Much of my garden is in my front yard, rather than in the back area. I did this so that people taking their walk (most in the neighborhood are walkers) can enjoy the flowers. I frequently get "your flowers make me smile when I go for my walk", or a simple "I love your flowers". I have had people stop by to ask the name of a particular plant, which I am always happy to share with them. I think if my garden creates a pleasant memory to anyone passing by, it is a very good thing.
    BTW, we have a strict HOA and they are commonplace in Texas.
    Molly

  • 11 years ago

    We have an HOA, I've had some run ins with them. First was a small shed we put in behind a fence. The top peak of the shed (about 8 inches) was visible above the fence. BUT it was at the end of my driveway and you would have to crane your neck while driving down my street (which is a cul de sack with only a few houses past mine) to see it. I told them I was going to grow something to cover it. The woman told me, that will take years. Well, no, Veilchenblau took only one year, thank you very much.

    Second was for my pot ghetto. Unfortunately no one offered to buy any of mine, I may have sold them, LOL.

    HOAs can be bad, but can also be good. For instance, there is a house that used to be the model house and the first one you see going into the subdivision. This house had beautiful professional landscaping done. The people who bought the house have no clue what they are doing. They have allowed crepe myrtle seedlings and invasive honeysuckle to overtake the front lawn. They have oak and maple seedlings popping up in their front flower beds. One time they mowed the lawn and left huge stripes of unmowed parts. The wife once put plastic flowers out in the flower beds all winter long. If I ever get a violation letter, I am calling to see what is being done about that yard.

  • 11 years ago

    melissa_thefarm,

    Is there an expat community in your town? I enjoy reading your posts about your garden. Just curious, do you ever miss the U.S.?

    I am currently reading a garden memoir, "A Garden in Lucca: Finding Paradise in Tuscany" by Paul Gervais (an American).

  • 11 years ago

    duplicate post

    This post was edited by mauvegirl8 on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 12:47

  • 11 years ago

    Oh this was SO enjoyable to read!

    when i started my front yard garden the nieghbors would point and stare and people would just zoom by. Now they all wave and the majority of cars slow down as they drive past my house. such a good feeling. sometimes kids out on a walk with their parents will walk by and I give out some cosmos.

    worst commnet ever: you're a white lady, why don't you hire someone to do this for you.

    made me mad and sad.

  • 11 years ago

    At my old house, no one could see what I was growing from the road as it was in a rural setting on 40 acres and set back a fair piece from the road. Now I am on a very well traveled street in town with 5 neighbors that can view my back yard. So far, they have no idea what I am doing since most of my work was to eliminate all the plants and garden structure that the previous owner had put in. It was nice, but it wasn't me and it wasn't designed with roses in mind. I hope that in 3 years or so, I will get lots of compliments. So far, the only comment made has been of the non-verbal sort. My closest neighbor (our driveways border each other) has stopped speaking to me since I had my son take out 2 huge Colorado Blue spruce: one that hid my front door and darkened the living room dreadfully, and the other that was unfortunately planted between the septic tank and the drainfield. She was out in her yard frowning with arms akimbo when the trees were cut down and hasn't had a pleasant greeting for me since. I would explain my plans if she gave me an opening, but she's giving me the "you don't exist" routine these days. Sigh.

  • 11 years ago

    Mauvegirl,
    No expat community here, in fact I'm told I'm the only U.S. citizen in the comune (roughly equivalent to our counties). This suits me fine, not because I'm a reverse snob, but because I've found that I enjoy socializing with people based on shared interests and values, not a common nationality or language. My friends here are every one of them gardeners.
    At times I am quite nostalgic for elements of life in the U.S., particularly certain landscapes at certain seasons; and I miss not being closer to my siblings, though I return regularly for long visits. You could say I'm very slow to put roots down after transplanting. I remain un-selfconciously American in many respects, which bothers no one. I wish the current political. ethical, and economic situation in this country were not so problematic, but I've been here for a good many years now and at least for now have no intention of moving back. I like living in a foreign culture, and certainly this is a most beautiful, livable place where I've chosen to stay.
    Melissa

  • 11 years ago

    When I cut a bouquet to take to work I always, without fail hear "What pretty Peonies"

    I just dont say anything now- the more observant folks notice the thorns and then correct themselves :)

  • 11 years ago

    No HOA here, TG! Been there, done that - in a condo. Got the letter telling me I had to shorten my ficus tree because its branches were too tall (max 6ft) and were brushing against the roof of the porch and they would DAMAGE IT. Ficus tree, in a pot - whose branches at the top weren't even 1/8" thick... I trimmed the tree because I had to, and I cried because it was the beginning of the end for that poor tree. It was my grandmother's tree that I took after she died, and it had a 3" thick trunk. It was big and beautiful and I was furious that I had to cut the top down. Of course, 3 years later DH killed when we moved, and he put it in a truck covered by a tarp which shredded about 50 miles into the 600 mile drive and the tree never recovered from being stripped completely of leaves and bark...

    The last apartment we lived in, before we moved in to this house - I horribly exceeded the weight limit on the porch and had it covered with pots. I had delphiniums, lilies, fuchsia, flowering vines, another ficus tree, and many many flowering succulents. I even had a dove nest in there 2 summers in a row, 6" from the sliding glass door. I got TONS of compliments about it, "Oh, YOU'RE the lady with the jungle porch with all the flowers!) The landlord might not have loved me, but the neighbors did. They were very sorry when I left and took all my plants.

    I am rural now, on a minor highway where people rarely drive by at less than 35 mph, and frequently closer to 60. So, cars may look, but they don't stop for anything. Walkers and joggers do comment and tell me they think it's pretty. There are no cars parked out front in these parts, they are decently hidden in back. We also have George, who periodically wanders up to our door and wants to talk to me (I thought you were younger...) or my daughter (sorry, she's not home) about our neighbors across the road. We have dogs (but NO wandering dogs, so it's not all bad) next door and all around us, and I hear them singing sometimes when I don't hear any sirens, and it's really musical. I like hearing them!! We have raccoons, who have done a bit of damage out back, but have not taken my lettuce or my peas, and didn't take any tomatoes last summer (hope that holds for THIS summer...) We have deer in the neighborbood, but none come to my yard - and they COULD if they chose, as my gates are broken and don't keep anything in or out. I think our little pocket neighborhood just isn't attractive enough, and there are areas around (open meadows) that they like better. I did see 4 or 5 of them inside somebody's fenced and closed driveway last week on my way to work.

    I love where I live now, even if I would like a larger lot, and more sun and a LOT more money to play with!

    Melinda

  • 11 years ago

    I was totally flummoxed the other day when a neighbor confessed that she regularly raids my compost pile for her flower arrangements.

  • 11 years ago

    LOL@''Those are the crazy cat people''.

  • 11 years ago

    So not really the neighbors...but still

    While giving a tour of the garden yesterday, one visitor was amazed that grapefruit grew on trees....(they must have thought "grape" and thought it was a vine)

  • 11 years ago

    I get nice compliments. The most popular year was when I planted short Futurity Pink cannas and Abelmoschus moschatus (musk mallow - Silk Flower) across the front of the property - on a busy street. People would stop and ring my doorbell. The pinks of both plants exactly matched - a slightly coral pink - which looked great with the dark burgundy foliage of the cannas. I don't use the cannas or abelmoschus any more - that part of my front yard is more shaded and these plants need sun, but any sunny spot that has a bit of space now has roses planted.

    About HOAs in Texas (estimated 4.8 million Texans live in HOA communities): last year the Texas Legislature reduced the power of HOAs. See this article for a summary.

    http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/local_news/article/Powers-of-HOAs-in-Texas-reduced-2970058.php

    At least now people can collect rainwater and use it. And military families can fly their flags.

    I couldn't live in an HOA controlled environment. Much of the joy I get from gardening comes from the freedom to get as creative as I want with my land. Lou

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