June 5, 2009

The Garden of Eden

My house sits on the property line between the city limits of Philadelphia and the Garden of Eden. The two lawns to the right of my house look like this:



The two to the left look like this:

Yes, that is a plastic leg cast hanging from a tree.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what this is.

It's been almost four years since we moved to into our house and my husband and I still haven't applied for permanent citizenship in either country. Until we can make a firm commitment on whose flag we're going to fly, we've decided to mask our indecisiveness by adopting a position of total neutrality. In other words, we strive to make both parties happy. We do so by mowing the front yard regularly, but leaving the back to grow into a jungle.



Last spring, I planted flowers on the right side of my house, but not the left. We instruct our kids to leave their bikes and scooters on the driveway during the week, but insist that they store them in the garage on the weekends.So far, we have been fairly successful at walking the line. Despite all of our efforts to be good neighbors, I am beginning to realize that at some point, we are going to have to make a choice. Like Anakin Skywalker, I have a sincere desire to choose the right, but as I have come to realize, temptation is everywhere, pulling me to the dark side. Just yesterday, at Wal-Mart, a small garden gnome by the name of Hercules kept calling my name. I ignored him this time, but I can't say that I'm going to be strong enough to do so again.

****
Do you have a neighbor who doesn't take care of their yard and/or has crazy things in and around it.... or are YOU the bad seed?

63 comments

Shannen&Makena said...

My husband wanted to redo the landscaping in the front yard in our new home, so he pulled out all the plants... It's been 3 years and still no plants in my front yard. I'm shocked our HOA hasn't fined us yet!

Shannen
www.whenwill3become4ormore.blogspot.com

My Ice Cream Diary said...

FINALLY, a hands free moment to comment!

By this definition I'm walking the line but by my neighborhood's standards we are definitely the trashier family on the block. Ever 2-3 weeks I force my family to de-white-trash our yard so that we don't get evicted.

becca said...

oh well those shiny balls are known around these parts as "hoosier balls" they are very popular here in IN and my hubby wont let me have one.

We are something of the bad seed... bushes overgrown and out of control. but this summer I vowed to keep up on the lawn at least.

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

We're definitely the bad seed. It's not that we don't try, we just have overzealous neighbors. Without children. (That last sentence pretty much sums up why we're the bad seed.)

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girlnblack77 said...

We call those gazing balls/globes here. I think they're supposed to attract hummingbirds or something. I've never seen so many in one location, though.

No matter where we have lived, our yard has always been a mullet: nice, neat, and orderly in the front, and all kinds of craziness in the back. lol

CountessLaurie said...

We are definitely the bad seed. But we have toddlers. And I say that because having toddlers cancels out everything! EVERYTHING, I tell you!!

And I have a garden gnome or two. Okay, maybe three, but one is an antique!

Alexandra said...

I LOVE IT! A Lawn Mullet!!!!: business in the front, fun in the back ;-)

JT's Momma said...

We are pretty good about our yard because we are selling our house, or trying to. But our neighbors to the left are not so great with their yard, they used to be, but then they got dogs that they don't take care of or clean up after.

Sassy Pants said...

We call our neighbors the Clampets because their yard is so bad. (Like from beverly hillbillies?)

Stephanie said...

Funny you should ask...I called our city's code enforcement division the other day because the yard of the neighbor right behind us has become a landfill of poop and weeds, thanks to the renters' two labradors and their abject laziness. For the longest time we couldn't figure out where the all the dandelions had come from and why our yard always smelled like a sewer. Until we peeked over the fence. Everyone has the right to let their yard go a little, but creating a public health hazard is NOT OK in my book!

Sims Family said...

I thought they were aqua globes. I saw them on TV once, but didn't know you could use them to water your yard!
We live in AZ. It's all cactus and rock. No pressure!

Viv said...

I will begin by saying that you cannot get to my back yard from the front, sides, or back of my home unless you jump several of my neighbors' fences. From anything but my back door and the air above, my back is invisible. Having said that, it is covered in poison ivy and I have not walked back there once in the two years we have lived here. My husband lives/works 300 miles away, and is only home for the odd weekend. All yard work falls on me. I trim the front and the bushes with a weed eater...but the back has yet to be touched. The poison ivy has taken over my pseudo Florida Room, and in a couple of hours, the first professional is going to take a gander and let me know what it would cost/entail to clean it up. Yikes!

KB said...

If it wasn't for the renters who keep letting their lawn go to dirt, we would be the trashy family. We used to take such pride in our yard... oh well, blame it on kids!!!

Michelle said...

The homes in our hood have small front yards, but as a result we all have big backyards.

Even though our neighbors have a big back yard, they insist on playing in the front. There are all kinds of toys scattered about and even a huge plastic playgym thingy. Even worse, they grill out on their driveway!

So their front yard is trashy looking and their back yard is totally pristine.

Lauren said...

My husband runs all kids/dogs/insects off in his quest for the perfect lawn, but I'm all about the gnomes. Maybe I can call our yard ironic instead of tacky? Either way, at least my gnomes are safe.

The Cox Family said...

Well, I love your blog, I am a younger mother of a 4 year old and hope to have another within the next year. My husband and I both work full time, so I love to play as much as I can between dinner and bedtime. My husband had to have back surgery in March so all of the yard work has fallen on me.
I try to get to it every other week, sometimes that does not happen. The neighbors on both sides of us are retired so they pay someone to do their yard. You know it's bad when you have come home and their yard man is trimming your yard. I thought they were being nice since the hubby has been out of commission and the yard guy said "No, they just paid me an extra $20 because they didn't want to look at it" Now I have enlisted the help of my father in law.

Taryn said...

We played it safe and bout 5 acres which are surrounded by a ranch. We can't see them and they can't see us. Pure bliss. lol

Mary said...

We are surrounded on both sides by bad seeds while we try to keep our yard looking good. One side believes weeds = grass and that's good enough for them and the other side believes weeds = flowers so that's what in the flower beds. Ah well - those dandelions do come in a pretty yellow!

AmyB said...

Totally the bad seed in our neighborhood...we're gonna need a machete to get to the door soon..better yet, our push mowers muffler thing fell off and it now sounds like a Harley opened up on full throttle..it's great...

The Mother said...

I would guess that the little black porter boy with the lamp is probably out of the question?

We actually had one of those at a house not too far from where I grew up.

Of course, the Winnebago in the driveway and the aging speedboat on the front lawn did tend to overshadow it.

Kiki (G.G.) said...

we are OCD with our lawn care and maintenance. most of the folks on the street are as well. we don't live in a sub-division so there are no rules to follow. some neighbors are hoarders and collect things a la Sanford & Son style in the front yard. the state mows the sides of our street where it gets overgrown, so those lazy folks have a nicely cut lawn by the street. the remainder of their properties have tall weeds and grass growing into the abandoned cars and lawn chairs, or the occasional couch. take care.
-Kiki

Lisa Page Rosenberg said...

We too are part of Team Yard Mullet.
We have the nicest front yard on the block, thanks to the gardener paid for by the landlord.
The backyard, however, is an explosion of Moon Sand, sidewalk chalk, soccer nets, whiffle balls and tricycles.
The front is lovely but the back is way more fun.

The Cranes said...

Guess I'm spoiled here in the land we call "Green Pastures" (seriously, that's the name of our subdivision). We do have codes and most people follow them. But occasionally, you see a yard that shows the people are obvioiusly too busy to care or hire someone.

I do get tired of looking out my back windows and seeing the crap the neighbor kids leave out in their yard all the time (and then wonder why it all blew away when Hurricane Ike blew through last year--yes, in Ohio...)

Managed Chaos said...

I've never understood people's fascination with those gazing balls...especially so many in one yard, YIKES!

Our neighbor is retired and he must mow his lawn 2-3 times/week. We on the otherhand, struggle to mow our lawn every couple weeks. My husband jokes it's our way of going green.

Lease said...

We have on one side a neighbor who's yard is perfectly trimmed and weeded at all times and on the other they get to it when they get to it. We are a good transition between the two. Some weeks the yard is kept up others we just don't get to it.
Of course it all can't hold a candle to the people across the street who have dozens of beautiful silk flowers planted in the yard. They leave them out year round. I still can't believe they took the time to plant so many fake flowers in the first place.

Carmen said...

omg I only wish I could post pics on this comment thread. My neighbor is a retired mentally ill man that worked for 30 years at a large grocery store chain in town. He never leaves his home. If a storm comes and breaks tree limbs, then they stay there until the next storm blows them away. His lawn is mowed once a month by the most charitible neighbor (or the one who gets sick of looking at it first... usually not us... sounds bad but we don't want the neighborhood to get the idea that simply b/c we're his closest neigher, it doesn't mean we are his keepers!)

When he does come out its only to purchase necessities so you see his car pull out of the garage just enough to drive across his side lawn to the street (he's on the end of the block). He can't even be bothered to drive clear to the end of his own driveway but has to take a shortcut across his own lawn. How can a person be so lazy they can't DRIVE an extra 10 feet?

I'm sure there are some very nice people out there who would say we're meanies for not having more simpathy, but I'm certain the poor state of his home is due to laziness and nothing more.

Carmen said...

meant sympathy... sorry:)

fifty/fifty said...

Yes, I am the bad seed. Actually, we used to live in the city in the land of perfect lawns, but now we live in a rural neighborhood where weeds abound and no one waters their yard, much less pulls a weed.

Why do I want a giant golf club when looking at your 2nd picture?

edith said...

In our neighborhood we judge our neighbors based on if they are trying to control their dyer's woad problem, or if they have just given up. We have our kids out every morning pulling the nasty stuff--they have to pick ten times their age. It's the only thing standing between them and the tv, so they do it. But since we live on three acres, we still look like we don't care.

Jamie said...

HAHA I was just complaining about mine this morning. Our neighbors dug a big hole in their back yard over a year ago to put in a pond, it has sat back there untouched ever since. This morning as I was bringing the dog inside she jumped down in there to get a drink (you would think that the water we gave her in her bowl was posion or somthing) she came back completly muddy and wanted to be let in the house. Our other neighbors are an older couple with a beautiful yard and lots of flowers. Keep resisting the gnome, you can do it!!

Gina said...

I am oh so guilty. But I couldn't pass up the glass blown mushrooms and guitar playing turtle. They add character. And they are teeny. I've seen worse! :) Oh...and how did you get a picture of your kid in my backyard????

Amanda Panda said...

I am unfortunately the bad seed on my block. I live in on post housing and have a huge tree in the front yard. I have seen it rain for 4 days and by the next day the ground is cracked and dry from the tree sucking up every last drop of water. So nothing grows. There is no grass, and I refused their offer to lay sod because if it dies I will be responsible and have to pay 5000 dollars. Plus housing has known for 9 months that the tree is so overgrown it grows into our roof and people driving down the road have to drive around branches, but they haven't come to trim it. So I eventually decided that if they don't care why should I? lol. This is their house. I am moving again in a year. I am not putting money into this yard. So yes, I will never get yard of the month, although myself and some neighbors have jokingly conisdered all voting for my yard just because it would be funny to see the sign in my yard.

Tami said...

I am a yard maintenance fanatic!! My kids each had sections of the yard where they were responsible for keeping it weeded and looking nice. We mow the front and back weekly, weed daily for 1/2 hour. I love my yard and we really enjoy spending time in it. The front yard is definitely for show (no yard ornaments!!)cause we spend zero time there, but our backyard is our haven. We love to hang out on the back deck, play croquet or badmitten, lounge in the hot tub. My kids now are however at the age where they are too busy to help Mom in the yard (Yes, I do it all. My hubby thinks yardwork is HELL). They have summer jobs and camps. They help when they can, but it's getting few and far between. I told my hubby when the lawn mower dies I might have to resort to paying to have the yard done or move to a PUD where they do the yardwork for you. I don't love yardwork that much!!

Jenn said...

Is the garden gnome good or bad

Our Life said...

I love your blog...just recently found you and I just gave you a blog award on my site!

Megan B said...

Hmmmm... as far as your neighbors with the "interesting" decor, I have a guess, and only a guess, LOL. The only thing I can come up with is this:

https://www.buyaquaglobes.com/?cid=496591

Snicker, snicker...

Patrice said...

We don't call ourselves the bad seed, we like to say we've gone green!! HA! Yep, when gas got so high and the mower broke, we hot wired the yard with an electric fence and let the goats have at it!! The upside, mowed lawn, the down side, no more landscaping!

Meagan and John said...

you know this year re determined to take care of our new beautiful backyard, so much that for valentines day I bought my husband a brand new mower only to use it 1 1/2 times and then have it mysteriously walk out of our yard (blogged about it @ www.lewis4higher.blogspot.com some time ago) with the weedeater my father had brought us from Utah, since then we were given a mower from freecycle.org and my husband put money to fix it and get it running only to have a piston blow and now it is trash, and he didn't even get to finish mowing the front yard, the backyard is so overgrown I am actually jealous of your back yard, we have tree growing where we don't want them it is so overgrown, unfortunately the back yard has just barely dried up enough so that we can mow it and go figure we still don't have a working mower, but recently bought one from a yard sale for $50, now in July we should finally have the money to get it running so we can finally have our backyard to play with come july, till then we are forced to run and play in the front--which is a pity, I was so happy to have a fenced in backyard and we have yet to be able to use it.

CSIowa said...

http://csiowa.blogspot.com/2009/04/yard-people.html

Designs by Victoria said...

Our lawn is a yellow green wasteland in the midst of overwatered suburbia.

We have rampant rosebushes left over from the previous owner of our house, and more weed than grass, although I'm reluctant to do anything about them except urge the husband to keep at a reasonable height, because they are the greenest part of the lawn.

I blame my black thumb

Foursons said...

The vacant house next door to me is the bane of my existence. The weeds in that yard spread to mine and it is virtually impossible to keep them out because even when I treat my yard, the neighbor's yard just keeps blowing them back over.

Gibbs said...

I work in my yard everyday! I think a habit my mom passed on if thats possible. But I also enjoy yard work! The neighbors haven't seen a one in their yards yet this year. I did mow the side yards of both my neighbors. Not to be nice but to keep their dandylions from visiting my yard. They didn't get the hint either...hmmm I guess it won't take much to have the best looking yard on the street!

Ginger said...

We live next door to a family of six who does NOTHING. Literally, NOTHING. We moved in 3 years ago and it has been falling down around their ears ever since. He's been in court 4x for code violations.

I had enough. I lowered the boom 4 weeks ago. I gave him a laundry list of things to clean up or meet me in court. It included:
-mow, edge, trim 3 yrs worth
- saw down tree limb that lightening took down
- get rid of junk truck in driveway
- get rid of 4 junk grills in their back yard
- dismantle above ground swimming pool that is a mosquito haven
- keep their dog poop picked up so I can enjoy my patio
- take care of their dogs. He sheered the standard size poodle that looked like a matted Snuffleuphagus

Their house was so bad that they had to have a new roof, new windows and new siding.

It was so bad that I told him THEY were the neighborhood riff-raff and that I didn't appreciate living next to him, smelling the stench or dealing with the rodents that were coming from there.

Oh you have no idea how mad I was. I told him it was his first, last and only warning and that next time he'd just see me in court.

I am waiting on the siding and windows to go up. They stopped work 3 weeks ago.

I said a bunch more. I chewed on him for a good solid 30 minutes.

Diane J. said...

We're the only ones with boys, needless to say, we are considered the "dark side". I have a horrible time keeping plant life alive, my kids are completely unaware of how lucky they are to still be alive. (Sigh), someday it will all be put together and the yard lights won't get run over by bikes and bounced upon with balls... but then I will be sad because there won't be all the chaos that I've come to love.

Lola said...

Perhaps the one with the glass orbs is communicating to aliens?

Our bad seed is Drummer Boy, aka Metallica-head, who plays drums (badly) and electric guitar (badly) at all hours (loudly). Same riffs over and over.

Seth and Natalie said...

Our nearest neighbor is about 2 miles away, so no one cares how our yard looks. However, they plowed up the field next to our house that once grew beautiful geen alfalfa and planted weeds. Seriously. They want their property to reflect nature, which in their opinion is yellow old weeds.

Samurai Mom said...

Bad seed! We just installed garden boxes in the Front yard. My poor neighbors.

Megan said...

I am SO in the same dilema! Looking out the front of our house I see a trailer park entrance and neighbors who "enclosed" their front porch with drywall and that's about it. Looking out the back of our house you see our dear retired neighbors who have nothing to do all day but manicure their lawn. They actually mow the lawn with two mowers going at once. We call them the "deuling mowers!"

Jan Russell said...

Whatever they are, they cost $42 at Home Depot. I know because my son kicked one over and broke it today.

Bert Bell said...

I am the neighbor that mows every week and I mow my neighbor's yard when I do mine. I carefully weed eat and make their yard look as nice as mine. The other neighbor on the left wishes I would mow their yard, but I don't know them like my neighbors to the right....they are my Pastors ;o).

Rachel said...

We just moved from the neighborhood that thinks a front yard is a parking lot. Really, no less than 5 houses with more than two cars in the yard--not the driveway. Our next door neighbors were working on their truck (parked in the yard) and decided it was easier to saw the limb off a tree--making it lopsided--than turn the ignition on the truck and back it up two feet so the limb would be out of the way.

But what can I say? We had old paint cans piled on the side of our house rusting for months because we couldn't find anywhere to dispose of them safely. Now we're probably the black sheep of our new, very nice neighborhood :)

magsthemom said...

My neighbor hires a teenage boy to mow for him. I noticed that the boy wasn't mowing the bottom of the back yard. It really started to bother me when the grass got so tall it came up to my knee. I asked my husband who the neighbor thought was suppose to mow that part of his lawn? I guess they got it figured out though. I noticed this last week that it FINALLY got mowed. This in comparison to the other neighbor who mows religiously every week.)
I guess I shouldn't complain too loudly. We are in the middle of an addition to our home and we haven't fixed our yard yet. It's been 3 months in it's current condition.

Emily's Bloggin' Out!!!! said...

I'm the bad seed in my neighborhood. But it's not out of lazyiness I swear. We work graves and can never seem to fully awaken ourselves to be safe with heavy machinery...well...ok...That's my excuse not to mention no nice little neighborhood boys to do it on the cheap. 80)

Anonymous said...

I think my mom would agree that we're the bad seed (since she's always speculating that our neighbors see us as white trash!)
Haha,
Casey

tracey in Calgary said...

It kills me to admit it...but WE are the bad seed!! The neighbour to the right is a landscape designer, has two boys in their early twenties and her garden is her first love and hobby...every waking minute she and her dear hubby are out there, putting our yard even more to shame. To the left, a stay at home mom with money to burn and she too spends much of her time beautifying her front and rear gardens. *sigh* While I am a stay at home/work part time at home mom, I never seem to have enough time or money to get our yard looking good...oh, it is so bad right now, the lawns look dead, the perennial beds are badly over grown....disaster! I feel so sorry for my neighbours :(

Anonymous said...

We are the Garden of Eden sorts in our yard, as are all of our immediate neighbors. However, we love to drive around the block and see the gnome infestation that covers the rest of the neighborhood. The real kicker is the set of neighbors who had flowers "growing" in their front yard in February. Oh yes, they have fake flowers set up in their outdoor flower beds. You know, like the ones you put on graves in a cemetery? Tacky doesn't even begin to describe it. The best still is the 6 foot turtle statue that holds a prominent spot near the front of our community. According to our HOA, you aren't supposed to have any yard ornaments that take away from the natural landscape. Apparently, 6 food turtles are the norm in Nashville, TN because even under heavy protests from the rest of the community, the HOA has yet to make her remove it!
Come see our family at
http://maleah.mrorex.com

Anonymous said...

You'll have to forgive my 6 "food" turtle typo. It was supposed to say "foot" turtle. I have a 6 week old in the house, so hopefully, I get a free pass. ha.ha.

MaLeah
http://maleah.mrorex.com

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When he does come out its only to purchase necessities so you see his car pull out of the garage just enough to drive across his side lawn to the street ?

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