Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Rebel Gardener

Last fall we sat in our condo homeowners’ association meeting and learned that the woods surrounding our complex is actually preservation land. We nodded obediently when told that we therefore were not to alter it in any way. And then yesterday I dug out my clippers and attacked the scrubby pines that border our back yard.

          If the perennials the previous owner left behind are any indication, he was an enthusiastic gardener. The bleeding heart is full of pink blooms and I just made a pie from the rhubarb that grows out back. Another clue is all the iron shepherd’s crooks positioned at the edge of the forest where I suspect he hung pots of flowers to enjoy from our porch. Beneath these are azaleas and rhododendrons, now choked out by the encroaching pines.

          When we bought the place, the couple who lived here before was well into their 80s, so I’m guessing for their last few years here the plantings were neglected and the pines and weeds took over, being the opportunists they are.

Since the grounds keepers here don’t concern themselves with the woods, those unchecked pines and weeds could keep on tiptoeing out into our backyard on their little green feet.

          So I spent the day dragging 15 foot vines out of the perimeter and lopping off lower pine branches so everything could catch a breath. 

Yes, believe it or not, there's an azalea here.
       Now maybe the two azaleas we illegally planted on the edge to commemorate our new twin granddaughters will have a chance (although the deer who nipped off every single damn spring bud are the next opponents). 

          The key here is to not get caught by some over-zealous rule follower who happens to be walking by a window while I’m hacking away at conservation property. Oh, and to not re-create the amount of yard maintenance that was one of the factors spurring us to sell our house in the first place. 


  1. Ah the garden addiction. Beware!!

  2. A gardener's work is never, ever done.
    Good luck. Azaleas are a plant for which my thumb is decidedly brown.

  3. I understand the couple in the 80's letting stuff go. I have reached that awkward age myself and realize Nature is taking over and I am letting her. Sigh.

  4. I don't think you're hacking away at conservation land if all you're doing is clearing up what the previous owner planted.
    I've been neglecting my own small patch which is largely succulents anyway, but yesterday I spent time in the bigger communal patch cutting deadwood out of about a dozen thorny old rose bushes and this morning I can barely move my arm. But I think the roses might grow better now. The "gardeners" (basic level maintenance men) here don't do anything more than chainsaw across them at waist level each year. There's no proper pruning or care anymore.

  5. You will return it to former glory! Along the lines of hoping the next tenant of my place just lets my little garden grow and thrive.

  6. Aren't you okay as long as you keep the gardening to your own lot? Anyway ... carry on, I say.

  7. I think you are performing a valuable service to the environment. Keep it up and hope nobody complains. Who would, anyway? :-)

  8. The garden police might we on the way:)

  9. if you find invasive species, I think you're allowed (nay, encouraged) to at least pull them up, and let someone involved with the conserved property know about it.
    We have all kinds of things like that here, thanks to birds, insects, and imported plants from long ago. I spend more time culling the fields for bittersweet and japanese Knotweed than I do anything else.


Thanks for stopping by and I'd love to hear what you think.