...but seeing a block garage, concrete walkways, and a brick wall replace views of the open sky and plots of fertile soil is nevertheless pretty bad. Back in September, my neighbours undertook a massive backyard construction project. They built a large house addition and an even bigger garage. Today, whatever bit of their backyard lawn was left disappeared under poured concrete. All of their "improvements" come right up to the property line. The full extent of the impact (ie. devastation) on my garden is now crystal clear.
Because so much work happened on or near the property line, the work crews trampled on just about everything. Just a few months ago the liatris, globe thistle, purple coneflowers, veronica, iris, helenium and foxtail lily thrived here. But there's nothing left to prove it. Everything has been trampled out of existence. I'm sure all the plants are just fine and cozy in the warm earth -- but seeing all evidence of them obliterated makes me nervous nonetheless. Another concern is that the soil has been so compacted by sturdy workboots that it may as well be concrete. I'll have to turn the soil and let winter break it up a bit. But without knowing exactly where some of my favourite plants are, that too makes me nervous.
Here's the new view from the backyard deck. The horror! That has got to change. Anyone have any great suggestions for a hedge that will grow fast and tall? In an effort to stay positive I will say that we will have an unprecedented level of privacy for a city backyard. The tree hides most of the wall but I don't know if the tree will make it. The needles on the bottom branches have almost all turned brown. And I'm beginning to see more and more brown inching its way upward to the top of the tree. Bad things happen when you cut off HALF of a trees root system to make way for an addition. I spent a good part of my afternoon looking at the work that's been done next door. Much of that time was spent shaking my head in disbelief and slapping my forehead in exasperation. How could city planners and engineers allow this?
And then I noticed the astilbe. It brought me to my senses. While I am upset about what has happened, I think I would be more upset if the garden weren't looking so darn beautiful right now. In my last post, I was oohing and ahhing over red. But just look at how golden the astilbe look. It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. In the past I cut the flower heads off as soon as they finished blooming. I won't do that again because they look absolutely stunning (click on any of the images for a closer-look). I've never thought of myself as a fan of yellow...that is changing.
I also noticed how the astilbe provides a beautiful backdrop for the Bloodgood Japanese Maple. It's only about three feet tall right now. Looking around the neighbourhood I see mature Japanese Maples and they simply take my breath away. Everything from their form to their colour is quite simply perfection. It will be just a joy to see this tree grow to maturity. The anticipation makes me feel like a kid on Christmas morning.
Even my mushy hosta is looking pretty darn good right now. It really brightens the shady side of the garden. So despite the awfulness of the construction zone next door, it's the beauty of the garden that won me over today. It's the beauty of the garden that convinced me that all of the neighbours' "improvements" can be further improved upon through the careful placement of shrubs, trees, bulbs and perennials. Spring will mean a whole new start in the garden. Perhaps one of the worst things to happen in my garden will turn out to be one of the best.
What's the worst thing that ever happened to your garden?