In my neighborhood there is a house with a beautifully landscaped front yard. As long as the ground isn’t frozen, it is awash in color. There is a little pagoda set like an island among a sea of purple, blue and gold. I’m not sure what all the flowers are, since there are at least a dozen different varieties, but they all explode from neatly terraced beds.
Every time I walk by, it puts a smile on my face. Unfortunately, almost directly across the street from this treat for the eyes is one of the most blindingly awful yards I’ve ever seen. I’m not sure what the inhabitants were smoking at the time, but instead of decorating their yard with flowers, shrubs or even nice trees, they decided trash was the best way to go. The driveway is lined on both sides with old bowling balls. Rotund masses of dull orange, black, turquois, red and pink make a path straight to the garage. They also dot the front of the house leading from the garage to the front door. Interspursed with these recreational relics are clocks, which stopped working long ago, of all shapes and sizes. On the left side of the house is a used and badly faded rocking horse. The kind with the plastic painted body on a metal frame with springs to help it bounce up and down. There are other “treasures” mixed in for variety as well. It is a sight to behold. I find myself both repelled by it and drawn to it. I want so badly to know why. I know I’ve never owned a bowling ball, but my step-mom did and when she decided she now longer wanted to bowl, she did what most sane people do, she put it in a yard sale. She didn’t deck out our front lawn with it. It’s just too odd.
Not that my yard is some bastion of beauty. We have a window box that is bursting with petunias of purple, white and pink. We have a bed that runs the length of our house where the previous owner planted hostas. For some reason no matter what I do the leaves look like they have been ravaged by bugs. This year my husband planted some lilies which are just beginning to sprout. Hopefully we will soon have a small patch of white and pink star gazers and some yellow and red callas. These plants are all surrounded by mulch from the recent deforstation the city did on the other side of the drainage ditch. My lawn is still a long way from being the “pagoda” house, but at least it’s presentable.
This year I have a little garden of sorts too. It’s not much and a bit spread out, but I have three different kinds of tomatoes (I ADORE them) and a few zucchini plants. Although my tomatoes have yet to sprout, I’m excited because one of my zucchini plants already has eight tiny zucchinis. Next year I hope to have an actual garden plot with broccoli, carrots and maybe some beans. I’ve never had much of a green thumb, but since this is our first house, I really want to make it look nice and the thought of growing my own veggies is pretty cool.
I don’t understand why some people seem to take such little pride in their homes. I’m not talking about spending thousands of dollars to deck out your yard in flowers each year. It’s simple things like mowing a yard more than once a summer (a house on the corner) or not leaving seven bikes and a pile of plastic toys out (my lovely neighbors across the street). I don’t really care about making it look great for everyone around me, it’s not a status thing. It’s more that I like being outside and having a pleasant view. It’s the same reason that before we moved in we spent hours looking at paint samples and then painting almost all of our rooms. After living in apartments for so long and looking at sterile white walls, I wanted something nice to look at.
I know people have different priorities. I just wish the bowling ball people would reasses theirs. Something is definitely out of whack.