A few weeks ago I was next door talking to my neighbor. The iris were in bloom and he’s got a few clumps of a rich purple iris in his front yard (‘Lent A Williamson’ is the ID I gave them although I’m sure he doesn’t care) which were putting on an excellent display. A car slowly pulled by and after a polite wave the driver opened the window to say “I love your iris, I drive this way just to see them”. I bit my tongue. After a couple seconds passed, my neighbor realized the compliment was directed towards him, and said thanks. He looked at me. It just about killed me, I have iris too.
We got a good laugh about it once she left. I do like to show off my most exciting plants, but I realize they’re not to everyone’s taste, and the “overflowing” look of the plantings is focused more on the plants than the setting of the house. Even the 12 year old said she doesn’t like it when it all gets so big, but when I mentioned moving out she gave me her pre-teen eye-roll of disgust… which I’m sure will only develop more as she finishes up middle school.
Before selling our previous house I spent a few weeks ripping things out and simplifying plantings. If I ever cared to impress the neighbors or list this property I’d surely repeat the process here. Lots of mulch, a clear view of the house, and sheared foundation shrubbery would put an appropriately sterile stamp of conformity onto the real estate head shot, and I’m sure it would scare fewer people away.
Just to be clear there is no talk of moving. We have to stay at least 30 more years in order to reach the point of break-even on all the lumber purchased for the potager re-do. For the accountants out there we finally went over the hump and added about $6.75 to the plus column for the salads we’ve picked in the last few days, and $6 worth of cauliflower as well. Those were some exciting first harvests, so obviously we’re not going to dwell on the $89 which went into the liability column for a new hose and additional lumber.
So even if you can look past the unpruned, questionable design, and overlook the stray bags of bulbs and garden tools, there’s still always that massive pile of sand blocking the driveway. “You’re always busy doing something” was the polite way another neighbor dealt with that topic.
A myopic view of things lets me enjoy things anyway, and in my opinion when everything else is going to heck there’s always plenty of little things to be thrilled with. Like milkweeds. They’re much more interesting than people give them credit for, and far more useful in the garden than just caterpillar fodder. This week I have a new one in bloom… finally… after years of trying seeds and nursing seedlings.
I hope the purple milkweed continues to grow in spite of this shift to drier summer weather. There was brief consideration given to trying it out in a new spot but after reading online that it can be hard to get established it’s staying put. I’ve killed it in other spots already so why rush.
There are plenty of other things to do rather than kill off new milkweeds. I spent Friday night weeding and “editing” the front border and was planning on finishing today but surprisingly enough there’s been some rain and it’s now too humid and sticky to work. The rain only took the edge off the dry soil and refueled the gnats but it was a good excuse to go for icecream instead. I don’t think that’s a bad tradeoff.
Have a great weekend!