Sunday, May 17, 2009

Borrowed Landscape

Borrowed landscaping is great, until the rightful owner takes the source of your delight away. I've been cringing, weeping, seething and so on over the brutal removal of a "snowball" plant in our neighbor's backyard. Until now sweeping branches abundant with cascading blossoms beautified our side of (our neighbor's) ugly old fence.

Just the other day I looked down at the veil of green on green,from the kitchen window, knowing that the green spheres would soon burst into bright white balls.

But no, a man for hire —not a gardener, but a whackedy whack wacko— came with giant cutters and wiped-out the spring beauty before it could truly blossom. Mocha was the first to notice something was wrong. She barked her head (and mine) off. "Something amiss, something amiss."
Already enough of the green had been removed for me to have a clear view of the man in the adjacent yard. I greeted him, and realizing what he was doing, I exclaimed, "Oh, no, you're cutting the blossoms, they haven't even come to bloom."
He laughed. "Yep, it's all coming down, making room for something new."
Thinking of what my neighbor had promised me, to leave something I asked, "Can't you leave the part that's coming across the fence?"
"Nothing will be left?"
"Only the memory," he said.
"Oh, but then I better get my camera."
To my surprise he stopped whacking momentarily, but then I saw him retreat with his cell phone, it must have rung.
I shot some pictures and then I retreated. If there's something I can't stand it's something of beauty being ruined or killed.
After the man was done one lonely tall branch remained.

That sad flag sticking out above the busted fence reminded me of our other neighbor, who (as if cutting down fifteen (15!) trees in her backyard hadn't been enough) took the shears to a gorgeous giant gardenia in her front yard.
At first I thought her pruning was getting along quite nicely, but at some point she couldn't reach the top of the bush, I saw her standing on tippy toes, performing an awkward dance, stretching her arms up as far as she could. She must have grown frustrated, for when I passed her house later that day, she'd cut down the whole plant, leaving a stump, and one lone branch as a sorrowful reminder of what had been, her yard waste bin filled beyond capacity.

What was a rustic corner of our yard before, now shows only a rickety fence behind our ancient green chain linked. The gaps between the fallen planks take away all privacy, and the view into the other yard isn't pretty. Plastic garden chairs, the waste bins, a blue tarp. From our kitchen window you can see the miserable heap of what was a joy to the eye.

The borrowed landscape was gorgeous while it lasted, but it is no longer. Opportunity awaits, it's time for something new, our own.
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