She has seasonal plantings, with flowers blooming for a lot of the year, and she has a yard service come every week and mow, edge, and clean up. So her yard is by any definition, just great. This picture was taken in early spring, when the azaleas were blooming. Right now in the same area, she has rosebushes. The little patch of pinestraw by her driveway turns into a huge Lantana bush in the summer. Her grass is like a carpet. And up by her front door, her boxwoods are trimmed into little topiary bubbles--you can see if you enlarge the pic. Looks nice.
Now, we’ve had our own yard issues, sometimes involving a letter from the Home Owners' Association, so depending on my paranoia level when I’m talking to her, I am prone to think, “Is she saying our place looks terrible? Is she trying to give me a gentle hint?" I was getting a complex about it. We have some pretty stuff growing in our yard, but unlike Mindy, we don't pay to have it professionally maintained, AND we're not much into yardwork. Matt keeps the grass mowed pretty well, and edged, and in the late spring growing season, I pulled a lot of weeds from around the things I wanted to cultivate. But hedge trimming and shaping, and mulching, not so much. The whole thing looks a little overgrown now, and it's weighing on my mind in a sort of low-grade way.
All of this was on my conscience when I was talking to Mindy. Then she told me that she had gotten at least three letters from the HOA in the last month. I was like, huh? She said that one of them was because they left their garbage can within sight for more than 24 hours. Okay. One was a complaint that her Lantana bush needed to be trimmed. And another was about an empty concrete urn up by her garage. (If you have a planter out, it's supposed to have something growing in it. But this thing is completely unnoticeable.) I was amazed that she had gotten all that flack while we have gotten one letter in the last several months. Our yard presents so, SO many more opportunities for a "friendly reminder" from the Garden Committee. So the poor woman is always apologizing for her yard, I guess, because she's always getting castigated for it. The HOA has given her an inferiority complex, while letting us, in my opinion, skate.
There are three theories for why this is so. One is Matt's, one is mine, and one is Mindy's:
Matt's: our house is set farther back from the street, and when the garden cops do their monthly driveby, they just don't notice much.
Mine: they don't send us a letter for every "violation," because their expectations for our yard are very low. In the last two years, we've taught them what level to hold us to.
Mindy's: the Garden Committee has a grudge against her personally, because for years, she was on that committee, and she was one of the garden cops. So now it's payback time.
Mindy is prone to craziness in other aspects of her life (that's a story for another day), so Matt thinks her theory is overly paranoid. I'm not sure what to think. But we are facing some challenges of our own in the yard right now.
1)The first thing that needs to happen is that our shrubs need trimming. This is daunting to me.
That hydrangea bush has now reached the top of the window, and the laurel could use some cutting. I'm not sure really what size the laurel should be, though. How much can you prune a shrub without killing it? The topography is tough here. This side of the sidewalk slopes off to a retaining wall, with about an 8-10 foot drop below it. I can't figure out where to put a ladder to cut this monster. But it really needs it. And do we need a fancy gas-powered or electric trimmer? We have old-fashioned loppers, like big scissors.
2) Also, and this hurts my soul, something is slowly killing the azaleas. Like one side of the bush will be blooming and the other side is dead. Likewise the boxwood on the other side of the driveway. I think it might be spider mites, but we've nixed the idea of putting some kind of major pesticide out in the yard. So I need to do some research or consult an expert.
3) The planted, treed area to the right of the driveway has pinestraw on the ground, pinestraw that needs to be renewed a couple of times a year. This was the planted area that the spelling geniuses at the Garden Committee said needed to be "redifined." So we need some more straw to "redifine" it, I guess. Two dudes with a truckload of pinestraw appear every now and again in the neighborhood, and I've paid them twice to clean up that area and spread straw, but I think they charge too much, so I want some new dudes.
So angst, people. I've got yard angst. There are several tons of biomass around this place that are all under my custodianship. Underlying all of this, if you haven't figured this out, is that we are CHEAP when it comes to the yard. Matt, especially, doesn't want to pay anyone to do anything because he thinks he should do it. (Remind me to tell you about when he got up on the roof to try to clean a rust stain off the chimney cap. The roof slopes at a 45 degree angle. He was wearing kitchen gloves and sneakers, and toting the garden hose and a bottle of CLR. He did not get far, but he was up there long enough for me to decide that a money market account was the best idea for the life insurance settlement in the short term, and that I shouldn't use some of it to pay off the house. I decided I would wait six months before making any major financial decisions. Then he made it down alive.)
If you are still reading, thank you. This was therapeutic for me. Same time next week?