|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..|
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.|