Please Don't Park on the Garden
I will be the first to admit that my dry shade garden by the side of the driveway is not the showiest. It consists mainly of Hellebores and Euphorbia robbiae, and their subdued palates are appreciated only by garden fanatics like me. Then there are those pesky bare spots. Even in spring, when it is at its best, it looks a little sparse.
I have been working at this particular section of the yard for years now. The Euphorbia robbiae is finally covering a good bit of territory and the Hellebores are filling out nicely, but all in all the garden still deserves the name I gave it long ago, The Valley of Death.
You can see that I am not delusional about my talents. This blog is called Galloping Horse Garden for a reason. Some of my gardens are pretty nice; others, like the Valley of Death, are not. And when we put our house on the market a few weeks ago, I certainly was under no illusions that my garden would help to sell the house. On the contrary: I assumed it would be at best a non-issue, at worst a liability. But I have admit that it never dawned on me that my garden - even my worst one - would be mistaken for a parking spot.
And yet a real estate agent actually pulled up to our house and decided to park her car not here:
So there you have it. Nine years of costly, backbreaking, but emotionally fulfilling labor to transform my wasteland of bad grass and hard clay into a garden, and someone thinks it's a parking spot. Could there be any more appropriate end to this Galloping Horse Garden?
Because yes, we're moving. The house sold, we bought another one in Raleigh, and Galloping Horse Garden: The Sequel will begin next month. The yard is small, but it's full sun and there's plenty of room. I envision an arbor, some shrubs, a few perennial beds, and maybe a car or two. Stay tuned.
5/15/2014 01:23:53 am
Congratulations! I can't wait for Galloping Horse Garden: the sequel. I am sure your current garden, with its "green," planet-friendly, no hard surface extra parking pad, helped you sell your house quickly.
5/15/2014 01:50:14 am
Thanks, Susan. I was thinking the same thing - that potential buyers took one look at my front yard and thought, wow, I could park a lot of cars here!
5/15/2014 01:35:47 pm
I am lucky - I was able to sell without having to dig everything up. Now my problem is that I want to take it all with me and I'm technically not allowed to, even though I have a feeling the new owners don't care about the garden at all.
5/19/2014 01:47:31 pm
No, they won't be able to tell the difference. But my hands are tied - my husband feels very strongly that I am NOT supposed to dig up anything from this point forward, so I can't go sneaking out with a shovel when no one is looking.
Many people are so disconnected from the natural world that they cannot differentiate a garden from a vacant lot. It is a kind of rudeness not to be better aware of other people and their space (especially when you work with the public).
5/15/2014 01:36:58 pm
Yes, that real estate agent wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed. When our agent confronted her with it, she said, "I was nowhere near the garden." Can you imagine?
5/15/2014 12:34:19 pm
The real estate agent is an idiot. There is no other explanation. But hooray for starting a new garden! So many options in a sunny bed. :o)
5/15/2014 01:37:40 pm
Yes, my thought after the incident was that I weep for our country, if this is the future!
Cheryl Ann Zelek
5/15/2014 12:42:17 pm
Really? She parked in the plants? smh............ At that point, I would have directed her to the front door, but that is just me. Hate to see you go. Good luck to you! I'll be anxiously waiting to see your new gardens! Hope the new people don't tear up all your plantings here - they are beautiful and the pictures certainly do not do your gardens justice.
5/15/2014 01:39:07 pm
Don't worry, Cheryl. I ran out and asked her to move. She seem a bit perplexed - what was wrong with where she parked? Then when she came in to the house, Ron asked her who taught her how to drive. The visit was a very, very short one! Thanks for the good wishes - you'll have to come by when we are settled in.
5/16/2014 06:48:32 am
Ha ha, good one, Ron! It makes for a good story (blog post) at any rate--and you won't be there to live with any damage she did.
5/15/2014 04:30:33 pm
That was fast! Wow, very exciting news! Although, do you think it will be hard to leave your garden? This topic has been on my mind lately, as we're starting to plan for moving sometime in the next few years. It will be sad for me, although new beginnings are always exciting, too. Congratulations!
5/16/2014 01:39:28 am
It is hard to leave my garden! I have a feeling it will all be dead by September, and all my years of hard work will be for naught. Also, there are several plants in particular that I hate to leave behind, like my Edgeworthia, but I can't possibly bring it. But you're right - new beginnings are exciting.
Oh man, I would have been so mad! Maybe it's a good thing that my front plants are all surrounded by cement blocks--it gives a little extra barrier to over enthusiastic parking maneuvers.
5/16/2014 12:05:58 pm
I was mad, believe me. Your plants are protected by cement, but honestly, who thinks that someone is actually going to need cement blocks to prevent people from parking on your garden? Really! I will definitely miss my plants. I home their new owners are going to treat them right.
I think I would have fired the real estate agent on the spot, but then she did sell the house quickly. Congratulations on your new house. Small with full sun sounds very promising descriptives to me. I often think my garden is way too big and always wish I had more of it in full sun.
5/17/2014 10:36:40 am
Fortunately, it wasn't our agent - it was a prospective buyer's agent. Mine is not at all dim-witted, which is a good thing for us. I am already getting impatient to get to my new yard so I begin digging. Thanks for the good wishes.
5/17/2014 02:41:51 pm
Sarah, congratulations on the sale of your house! I can't believe someone could park where plants grow. She certainly doesn't have a garden.
5/18/2014 02:22:16 am
Thanks, Tatyana. I can't wait to move in so I can get started. The clock is ticking, and soon it will be too hot to do much planting.
Wow. I would be beyond words if someone parked on my garden. And then I would find some words, but they would probably be not very nice ones. And then I might cry. But moving right along (pun intended), congratulations on selling your house! I look forward to seeing Galloping Horse Garden, the Sequel!
5/18/2014 02:26:08 am
Yes, we had some not very nice words for her. And how much more insulting can you get? It's like putting out your cigarette on the David. OK, it's nothing like that. But it's insulting nonetheless.
5/19/2014 01:50:40 pm
You ask a very good question! I wondered the same thing myself. I can only assume that the human race has become even dumber than I feared, and the end is nigh. Thanks for commenting. I enjoyed hearing about your adventures in the garden - now I will be in the same boat as you - basically starting a garden from scratch.
Congrats on the sale and on your new garden-to-be.
5/20/2014 01:28:48 am
You may be right. My mother had a fantastic garden in White Plains, NY, and when she got too old to take care of it, it still managed to come up through the encroaching weeds and grass. Eventually she sold the house, and I hear the new owners like to garden. So you never know - maybe they are enjoying my mother's perennials right now.
5/24/2014 05:44:09 am
Hmmm ! An estate agent who can't tell the difference between a driveway and what is clearly a garden is worrying !
5/25/2014 01:43:31 pm
I have a rather motley assortment of cuttings and divisions ready to go! Let's hope they take.
5/26/2014 12:44:14 pm
Wow! That real estate agent was obviously not a gardener. How stupid! But at least the house got sold. By now you must be in the throes of packing and preparing to move. Best wishes on your move and happy gardening in your new garden!
5/27/2014 02:50:14 am
Thank you very much. I am indeed in the "throw everything into giant contractor garbage bags" phase of the move. The countdown has begun!
5/27/2014 04:20:23 am
Bittersweet is a good description. I am looking forward to not having a problem yard anymore, but since I have a personal relationship with all my plants, its going to be tough to say goodbye.
5/28/2014 02:37:19 am
Thanks very much, Sue. I am already picturing the comedy of errors...
6/10/2014 03:44:38 am
Good luck to you! Will you have another garden in your new place? If so, get ready. I am staring out at the mess I've already made of my new back yard. It's loaded with branches of shrubs that needed to be removed from the side of the house. It seems as if the fun part of gardening is going to have to wait until I take care of the not-so-fun stuff.
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The Galloping Horse Gardener is a native New Yorker who packed it in in 2005 to live under the radar in Cary, North Carolina. In 2014, she removed to a new secure location somewhere in Raleigh.
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