A Better Sense of Place

2014 August 3 (Sun)

Neighbor interaction #1

On Tuesday evening as I was finally sitting down and sketching some design plans for the front yard, there was a knock on my front door. I opened the door. It was the neighbor who lives behind me. He started by asking, "Have you seen your front yard? It looks terrible." He complained about the front yard. He complained about the back alley that separates us. I let him finish and then told him I was very offended. Then I launched into telling him my plans for increasing the biodiversity of my yard through introducing native plant species. I said it was a restoration project and I'm still figuring out which species do well and where.

"But have you seen the alley?"

"Yes, everyday. At least once." This is the guy who pays a landscaper to rip up his annuals every season and plant new ones. The guy who paid his landscaper to spray herbicide on some of my alley plants. The guy who called the City to come dig up an old tree stump that had a wonderful female yaupon next to it, covered with bright red berries. When I was done, he had a very dismissive grin on his face and said, "Well, good luck with that."

As usual for me on a Saturday, I was in the back alley yesterday, going through what's growing and picking out the chamberbitter. I've now decided to pull out hairy clustervine because it's so damn invasive. I'm glad to say my neighbor saw me as he was backing out of his garage in his white Lexus and we waved. I need him on my side with this. Showing him that this is a good thing is now one of my KPIs. As I continued weeding, a woman drove down the alley, stopped, and said out the window to me, "I really like those yellow wildflowers!" (Partridge pea.)

Later on yesterday, I mowed the front yard. I didn't enjoy it. Grasshoppers big and small were fleeing for their lives. Little beetles jumped out of the grass and climbed my face. An orange and brown moth woke up groggily. Then I dropped the mower deck and went to scalping. I didn't do as much of an area as my initial plan calls for because my plan isn't really final yet. I haven't decided what I need to buy and what I've got that I will use, but I was tired of the indecision and wanted to commit to the plan in some way. And now I can look out the window and see what can be. I can go out and walk around it, looking at it from every angle. And you can too with these pictures.


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