Friday, August 26, 2016

My forest home

A conversation with a passerby on Friday made me think about how we adapt our homes to reflect our personalities. What does my back yard say about me?

Our place from the front sidewalk: Over the years, I have planted so many trees that the house is nearly hidden.. 
Houses in older neighbourhoods like ours take on the personalities of the owners over the years. The vivid paint job chosen by a colour-loving artist; the geometrically arranged and manicured flower beds of a perfectionist gardener; the massive renovation of a traditional house into a sleek glass-walled one by people with modern tastes.

My house and garden reflect me too. The cottage-like house is virtually the same as the day we bought it four decades ago -- I could never see the point of modernizing. But the garden has changed dramatically, from an ordinary city yard with two azaleas out front and two apple trees out back, to a forested compound surrounded by hedges.

I thought of how we adjust our spaces to suit us when a passerby stopped to chat as I was working on the boxwood hedge on Friday. She said she loved the greenery around my house. "It's beautiful," she said. "I always look at the trees. I hardly even realized there was a house here." (I quietly rejoiced, having always loudly maintained that the best houses are the ones you can't see for the greenery.)

I think my desire to live in a forest is the result of my country upbringing, where nature, privacy and an infinite amount of space seemed like natural conditions of life. I notice that all of my siblings, now in various degrees of retirement, have gravitated to country settings too. Unlike some of them, I didn't have to move to live in the midst of nature: Over the years, I have been able to grow it up around me.

Three of the boxwood shrubs planted in the front hedge last year have been wilting and dying all summer. On Friday, I took them out and planted three more.

I kept watering and hoping these shrubs would recover, but the prognosis seemed pretty clear. 

The replacement shrubs were way too small, but at least they are green and have a hope of growing. 

1 comment:

  1. Great to be able to grow a forest around you and not have to move to one!