Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Neighborhood Dirt

Thought Number One:  Gardens in My Neighborhood

To catch everyone up to speed...I like to garden. (For my readers that have been around awhile, you might remember last year's garden post about Lil Bastard, a ravenous rabbit that still calls my yard his "salad bar". Just in case you missed it here's the link... Hare Today Gone Tomorrow )

I say "I love gardening" in the same vein as others might admit to hoarding or binge eating...that is with a bit of "I know I shouldn't be saying this out loud as people will think I'm either a nutjob
 or old or both" but still...here it is...I like to garden.

As far as me being thought of as a whackadoodle.  Probably.  At least this is the case where I live.  Not so long ago my neighbors gathered in front of my house to have a little pow-wow.  Me, being the naive person I am, decided to join them and participate in what I thought would be the typical rumor mill type of conversation.  No...they were having a discussion on what a waste of time and effort "gardening" is.  Now you would think that because I was out in my yard, knee deep in compost, pulling my little red garden wagon around with my supplies, that maybe this conversation would of halted as the subject of the conversation (me) came into ear shot.

NO...on they went... with what a "time and money suck" gardening and yard work is.  For a couple of minutes, I tried to interject the benefits of monetary value upon resale (added bonus to remind them that I am a Realtor...unfortunately another topic that repels them) or the emotional and physical benefits of working in your yard.  They were having none of that.

As the conversation went on, the neighbor from across the street went on to say that he had decided to tear out all of his foundation plantings as caring for them is just too much work.  At this point, I decided to just keep my mouth shut.  Really, the crappy little shrubs that builders put around the front door here and call it "a landscape package" is usually three boxwoods with a Princess Spirea thrown in for color.  How much work can that take????

I am trying to be discreet while taking this picture with a zoom lens
for fear the neighbor will be wondering what I am up to.
He walked out of his garage 1 minute later.  I thought he would
ask me what the hell I was doing, but he didn't.
He was true to his word.  A week or so later, out they came.  All the shrubs have gone missing and now there is some type of drain something in it's place.  I have no idea what that is about.

So for the last couple of weeks, I have been back in my yard for it's seasonal clean up while my neighbors glare across the fence while wondering about the depths of my insanity.

However, to rationalize my gardening is not without reward, this is a picture taken on the day our inspections were done when we bought our little money pit. This was 6 years ago on a very cold February day.

This picture is from a similar angle looking across my back yard now.  That would be six years and a lot of planting later.

There is very little color in KC gardens yet.  Our suggested planting date is
May 15th to prevent freeze damage.  Most flowers are several weeks
from blooming.

Thought Number Two- Gardens on the Tour

Last Saturday the Johnson County Kansas Master Gardeners held their bi-annual garden tour.  Given my neighbor's disdain for me puttering around my yard, they probably need to prepare themselves for the possibility that a Master Gardener could move in here someday.   I think I will make a point when I sell this house, to sell it to someone that is really into composting.  I might even point out the logical place for a huge compost pile right next to my neighbor's fence.  There are laws about discriminating against people's creed, gender, religion, ...really all sorts of things but NO WHERE does it say I can't discriminate "in favor" of a Master Gardener.  I might not even show my house to anyone that isn't willing to haul in some manure.

Here are some pictures of the gardens on the tour.  Serious gardens.....

My photography doesn't do this little pond justice.  It was really
pretty with it's lily pads.

This side gate led to the prettiest of the gardens I visited.
The woman homeowner is an artist by trade.  It showed in
her garden.

There were brick walks all around the yard with interesting flower
beds along the path.

Kansas City gardens are difficult to keep looking lush as
we have both extremely cold winters that kill off perennials and
extreme summer heat and drought will kill what is left.
But this yard has it figured out.

I thought this was cute.  The homeowner has a little garden hide-
away in the very back of their yard.  Seems their cat likes it as well.

A knot garden was prettier than this picture shows.  There was a
man with an impressive looking camera lining up
his shot and I was trying to stay out of his way.

A different angle but still not the best. Bet the guy with the mega lens camera got a good pic.

This yard had a lot of slopes but the homeowners still managed to
put some pretty gardens in.

I added this one because at the back of one garden, the homeowners
have built a little playhouse for their little girl.  I just thought
this was adorable.

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Bodaciousboomer said...

I think the transformation in your yard looks great. I must admit I'm jealous. With 5 dogs pounding the grass every day, we don't have much of a yard. The grass can't take it. The weeds however are tough and hold up. So that's what I have. Well at least it's green.:)

Cheryl P. said...

I had a friend once tell me she was only going to have "native" turf grasses. I asked her what was native to Kansas. She told me....crabgrass, clover and dandelions. Those would keep a yard green.

All kidding aside. You would just be fighting a losing battle trying to keep a nice turf lawn with 5 dogs. My back neighbor (one of the few I really like) has 4 dogs and she just can't keep anything...even weeds. Her dogs are worth more to her than grass...so yay for her.

AngelBaby said...

Did you notice the sign at the beginning of your post? I did and I am still laughing ..... do you wet your plants too? I had to read it twice and make sure it did not say pants. I love gardening, working the dirt and planting flowers just feels sooooo good. I still can not do this yet but hopefully I will soon.

Here's your click ..............

Love and Blessings,

L.C. Griffith said...

Cheryl, I really admire your zeal. I love a pretty garden but I lack the drive to actually create one. If I were rich I'd hire a master gardener, full time, so I could spend endless hours enjoying the beauty. I love flowers and shrubs but I also love wild flowers, and interesting green surprises created by natures own hand. I'd have a wildly planned trail to meander through...
I do love nature. Well done my green thumbed friend; the differences in those two shots of your yard are amazing.

Cheryl P. said...

I hope you can garden soon as well. It is good for the spirit and the body.

I wet my PLANTS a lot but I never wet my pants...at least not yet...that day might come.

Cheryl P. said...

If I didn't have a garden, I would be fine to enjoy flowers/gardens elsewhere. There probably is going to come a time that it is more work than joy. For now, I am still finding it rewarding.

I, also love wildflowers. I find it amazing they can grow out of the side of a cliff but in a yard we have to prune, pinch, fertilize, and pamper them to get them to live.

Cheryl P. said...

I am envious about the veggie garden. My yard is way to shady at this point. I used to have nice vegetable gardens and love the fresh produce being just a few steps out the door. Now I haul myself to the farmers markets and get whatever is in season.

That is so good for your plants to use the boiled water. I have a rain barrel that is collecting water for my potted plants but there is an irrigation system that waters everything else. Nothing beats rain though. We need some here, badly.

MOV said...

WOW, you sure have a nice garden, Cheryl! I somehow manage to kill all things green. SO glad I married a guy who likes to garden or otherwise we would have one of those yards made of gravel and we would pass it off like we were all eco-chic and trendy: "Yeah, zero-scaping is the way to go because it takes, like, no resources. Yeah, we're cool. No, I really COULD garden if I wanted, we honestly don't have the yard that way because I am incompetent! I cannot believe you would even suggest such a thing!!! take it back! We totally WANTED it that way. Swear."

However, I do have one hidden talent: making outstanding chocolate chip cookies. Ok, now if you are dying for the recipe, I did a guest blog for a friend a while back (January) and wrote the recipe. DO NOT SELL IT TO MRS. FIELDS because I will totally track you down if you do.

Here it is, if you wanna make them. Easy, yummy, lo-cal. (Ok, the last one is a lie.)


Trina said...

Great pictures! I love gardening, but my work schedule (and travel schedule now) prevents me from being able to do it right... Your garden should have been on the tour, what a beautiful backyard.

I'm working at a true gardener house this week, he has everything from produce to beautiful azaleas and rhododendrons. They send us home everyday with strawberries and lettuce and onions... the place is amazing but they are retired and spend all their time in the yard everyday, all day long.


Wolfbernz said...

Hi Cheryl,

I think your backyard garden is amazing and just because the neighbors are lazy doesn't mean you should be too.

Your pictures from the tour are great, the knot garden is really cool!

Clicks for you

oldereyes said...

Well, I live in a neighborhood where almost no one does their own gardening except me and my Japanese next door neighbor. I do it mostly because it's therapeutic ... I'm not all that good at it. But my neighbors yard is gorgeous. Beautiful specimen plants perfectly manicured. Anyway, I get the same looks when I'm up to my elbows in dirt and mud in the front yard. We're right. They're wrong.


Cheryl P. said...

Your right that it takes time and busy schedules aren't conducive to nice gardens. Nearly all of the people that become certified as Master Gardeners are retired people.

That's fun that you are getting some freebies. I love fresh produce but my yard has way too much shade for a vegetable garden.

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Wolf! That yard with the knot garden was beautiful. My pictures don't do it justice. The owner had a vegetable garden that was laid out like a patchwork quilt. It was the coolest looking garden,but I was in the midst of a bunch of people looking at it so I didn't get a pic.

Cheryl P. said...

I agree! We're right and they're wrong. I wouldn't say I am a great gardener...more of a trial, error, kill and replant type of gardener but the bar was set pretty low with how awful the turf and beds were when we bought this house. I am fortunate that no one around me does anything as far as yard work. I look good in comparison.

Cheryl P. said...

I totally see how cool and new-agey you could be passing off your zero-scaping as you are trying to save the planet "one yard" at a time...starting with your yard, of course. I nearly have a compulsion to haul in some rock and pour my herbicides/insecticides/fungicides down the drain...oooppsie...maybe that is counter productive to your efforts to save the planet.

I don't think I am as competent as I am determined. In my effort to have a "pretty" garden/yard, I become all CODish and tell my little plants to "grow, be pretty or it's off to the compost heap with you!" Most of them are frightened into submission.

That post with the cookie recipe is hysterical. Vanilla Paste??? who knew??? I love chocolate chip cookies!!!

Nicky said...

I love what you've done with your garden! It's gone from bland and boring to cozy and inviting. And your neighbours probably just have garden envy. The morons!

Cheryl P. said...

Thank you, Nicky! My neighbors are "interesting". At this point, I am stealth tactics in my comings and goings to avoid having to speak to them. I am getting quite good and "drop and roll" Oh, and I have a great new disguise. I attached a pic for you. Do you think this will fool them?