My Garden The Ambassador

IMG 1626 768x1024 My Garden The Ambassador

When I purchased my city home I’ll be honest, what won me over to it was the yard; the charming front yard with a front walk and wooden porch and Daylilies gracing all sorts of odd places in the lawn.  The homemade side-deck seemed promising.  The tiny chain link fence in the front and the 6 foot wooden fence in the back spoke to me of privacy, and future pets, and vegetable space. The sunlight streaming though the windows and the city view from the front step all won me over.  I loved that house the moment I set a foot on its rough and completely un-sealed wooden steps. I’m sure the place gave my parents pause, and surprised my friends, who were renting homes in much nicer suburban developments.

After settlement, I immediately set to work digging out a garden, even before my friends and I could finish the work necessary on the inside.  I converted half of the front yard into a garden, and left a tiny 5 by 5 foot square of turf on one side of the sidewalk to count as my front lawn.

The house came with two rose bushes, dropped at random in the front lawn space. Various kinds of daylilies, and Stargazers had grown across the sidewalk, and completely stained my clothing during the walk through when we examined the property with the home inspector. What began as simply sorting the plants into logical locations post-purchase quickly evolved into my own personal experience of moving as many low maintenance natives into the yard as possible.  A few years ago “going native” wasn’t really a catch phrase yet.  I simply wanted to plant the bird and butterfly attracting flowers I didn’t always have the option of planting during my working day in property management.  I wanted some of the suburban birds and bees to find me in my new location, and I was convinced I’d see nothing but Pigeons and House Sparrows if I didn’t make a move.

The birds and bugs did end up finding me.  Raccoons moved into the attic, and Groundhogs live under the crawlspace and back porch, but what really surprised me was the effect the garden had on my city neighbors!

Since I moved into my house I’ve had children flock to it, and neighbors trust me with their kid’s safety.  I’ve had chats over the fence with cups of coffee in hand, and a neighbor flee from domestic violence straight to my door, assuming she would be safe and protected inside my house when I’d never spoken with her before in my life. Lost dogs wander through the gate and park on the stoop. My nephews doodle with chalk on the sidewalk inside my fence.

Gardens speak to us somehow on a very basic level.  They advertise a level of our humanity, and our ability to nurture something else that we must not advertise well in other ways.  Gardens add beauty, and make us feel free even while they tie us down with maintenance chores.  I’m not sure what it is about my garden in particular, occasionally weedy, and unkempt though it is.  I believe that it and not I has had a special kind of impact on the neighborhood, and left it a better and more beautiful place.

That’s what my garden has done for my neighborhood, and that’s why I love it – work in progress though it will always be.

About Amy


  1. Kim says:

    So true – you’ve created this homey (no pun intended) niche in the heart of the city!

  2. Amy says:

    Thanks Kim, it definitely stands out..

Speak Your Mind