This is partly the fault of the engineers who laid out this neighborhood a century ago. They made the street jog a half block to the north right at the corner where our house sits. Hence, our front yard faces one street and the backyard faces another.
Two front yards. Each with an address at the door. This, of course, creates all sorts of confusion. Many people literally don’t realize it’s one house — just visible from two different angles.
Really different. In spite of me — think the bright yellow pots in the picture, wicker furniture that is lime green and pillows in the full range of oranges — the front looks kind of stately. It’s the oak trees I think. They mean business.
The backyard, however, is all party all the time.
This is where the chipmunk comes in — throwing clods of dirt to the surface if I mistakenly plug one of his tunnel holes with mulch. And the deer — who leap in and graze so often I have moved the tomatoes and strawberries onto the deck. (If they come up there to eat, I’m giving up.)
And the baby rabbit, who shot out of the lilies right in front of my feet three times just yesterday. (I think she likes to see me jump.) And birds with an alarming tendency to swoop close to one’s head. And one dog who likes to dig and then lay flat out on the cool earth.
And a picket fence that is never quite as painted as it should be no matter how much time my husband gives it. And morning glory vines and daisies and climbing roses that do whatever they want, wherever they want.
I have a full household and work. I can manage nothing more mild subdual — which means I, too, am part of the conundrum. But, one weekend, my husband was taking a break from mowing and painting and whatnot and was reading on the deck, tucked out of view.
Two neighbor ladies passed by and made a comment that I have decided to take and run with. “This is such a charming garden,” one lady said. “Overgrown, but charming.”
Mullets weren’t really all that bad. Were they?