The Unexpected Round of Applause

We’ve lived in our house for a year and a half. In that year and a half, we’ve fallen in love with our house, our neighborhood, and our garden. Of course, our garden started out as an awkward, touch too-shady side yard with spartan grass amid the vigorous weeds and a prickly Charlie-Brown-esque bush. When we bought our house, we saw the large, awkward side yard as a potential garden oasis, and we decided to go for it.

We’ve made many improvements to our house since we bought it. Most of our projects are unexciting and maintenance related. Some of them (like our bathroom) became much larger than anticipated as we attempted to tackle delayed maintenance. The garden, however, has been a work in progress ever since we bought the house. We added garden beds and blueberries our first year and cut down the oak trees. We added our mini orchard of fruit trees and more garden beds. We added some native plants, including flowers and shrubs. Each year, we have plans to expand our garden. Next year, we want to add seven more raised garden beds and maybe a blackberry bush (or five) if we can manage it. I want to add more native flowers and grasses ever year, though my husband might say I want to add more native flowers every month…

We love our garden, and it brings us immense pleasure. Choosing to plant your garden on the side yard of a corner lot, however, has its perils. We were worried that people would dislike such a visible garden and complain. My husband grew up in an affluent area that most assuredly doesn’t believe in growing food, not lawns, so the fear was not entirely ungrounded. We have to worry about maintaining proper sight lines for the intersection, restricting what we can plant where.

Still, as the garden has grown, so too have the compliments. Neighbors walk by and tell us how much they love our garden. Our neighbors will ask us how our garden is doing, and we’ll swap tips or stories of woes and pests. Once, a stranger stopped his car and got out of it to ask me how I went about setting up the garden. I feel like quite the gardening novice, but our ambition is apparent to anyone who drives down either of the streets adjacent to our house. Still, I’ve always thought I’d have preferred a larger backyard, which is basically non-existent in our house, to the large side yard. The introvert in me prefers the idea of working quietly behind the scenes to fielding questions from strangers, and we have always had the nagging fear that more people disliked it than approved of it.

That fear is gone.

Yesterday, our neighborhood association came by to drop off an award for our hard work. No joke. I didn’t even know we had a neighborhood association!

One of our neighbors in our much beloved and diverse neighborhood nominated us for the Applause Award, and two representatives came with a little plaque for us. I was so surprised that I kept repeating, “that’s so nice!” ad nauseum. Low, low on the list of probable things that I expected last night would be the arrival of representatives from a neighborhood association I didn’t know existed to offer up a plaque commemorating our side-yard corner-lot garden.

The nominating recommendation read:

“Home is where the heart is but this one also has fresh tomatoes? Raised beds and well planned design went into this side yard. A neat and tidy garden with touches of fall color. This home has utilized the yard and sun to capture a glorious garden.”

Gloriously unexpected! And so, so nice!



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