other people’s gardens
It’s a beautiful day today, the sun is shining and a light breeze is blowing. When we went down the road wait for the bus it was about 50 degrees. A perfect day for a long walk. As soon as I got Josh off to school I headed up the hill.
I took a slightly new route this time and I walked for just over an hour. My pedometer tells me I went 1.4 miles but Google maps says the route is 2.8 miles. Hmmm. I think I’ll believe Google this time thanks! I’m assuming since I was walking fast I was taking longer strides than what I set my pedometer for!
When I walk through neighborhoods I catch myself being a bit of a peeping tom. A typical nosy neighbor who can’t keep her eyes to herself. But it’s not people I’m looking at. (In fact the fewer people I see while I walk the happier I am.) It’s their plants, their trees, their landscape design that I’m checking out. Or lack thereof.
While I truck along I take it all in. Perfectly set rock gardens with phlox and alysum, mulched beds overflowing with gerberas and tulips, and shady spots filled with bleeding hearts and hostas. I love the big flowering trees, huge lilacs, and sweet weeping cherries. I wish I had space for all of them.
I have a soft spot for cute little japanese maples with delicate spidery red leaves. I had one at my old house and I loved it. I want one here but I haven’t figured out the perfect spot yet, and they’re expensive.
I glance a bit jealously at sunny yards, mine is so much shade. I envy the ease in which they can choose plants, everything is harder to grow on my lot and I have to carefully research what will survive here. But then I remember August and how my lawn will stay cool and green, if a bit mossy, while theirs will dry up in the heat. Maybe those people walk by my home and envy my towering pines and maples, even though they make my soil turn acid.
I keep going and I wonder at the houses with the neglected plants, weeds choking out the flowers, and overgrown bushes and dead limbs crowding my sight. Do the owners forget about it all out of hardship or just apathy? As I walk on by my brain can’t help but plan out their space. A rhododendron would be perfect here, a little trimming of the forsythia there, some grass seed to fill out the lawn.
Eventually I make it back to my own driveway. My critial eye takes in the stretch of land I work so hard on. I judge it harshly, but I remember how much worse looked when we first saw it a few years ago. I look at my thriving stonecrop and lilies and bee balm and I know I did that. I love the new butterfly bush and azaleas that I bought on mother’s day.
Other people’s gardens fascinate me, but I love my own little bit of earth.
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