Last week I carried the shovel into the backyard and began turning over the grass in preparation for our garden. I then edged the area with 4×4 landscaping timbers. I leveled the boards, then used spike like nails to attach the timbers. Yesterday I was about two thirds of the way through when my neighbor came over. He normally calls out “Sean”, but instead he came asking for “Mr. Taylor”…

In small group the evening before everyone was surprised that we were putting in a garden. Not, as you might think, in fear that we would kill all the plants. Instead they were surprised our neighborhood association would allow gardens. Since we bought a foreclosure we did not get the HOA handbook – only hearing the legend of the 75 page document – so this was the first I heard about the evils of gardening.

And this was the news my neighbor came to announce: Gardens are outlawed in our fine neighborhood. I immediately began to imagine tearing down the garden. I had to drill 5/8 in pilot holes to hammer the nails into the boards… I was sure I would have to hire someone to take them apart!

Of course I also imagined continuing the garden and telling the HOA where to stick it. But then I envisioned how they would change the locks on the pool and I would have three (maybe four) crying girls… meaning the HOA was going to win…

Then the neighbor said, “Well, lets call the president and get you approval.”  And right then he called the President (left a message). So he called the Vice, who was in a meeting. But meetings do not prevent texting – so a few texts and the rule book was superseded.

Now I could finish up the project and  as the neighbor left he called me “Sean”.

I like our neighborhood. I do not mind the yearly dues, since they provide a pool. But giving up the right for a garden? Why? So everything in the neighborhood can look the same? So everything can be clean cut? When did democracy produce cookie cutters?

Of course I do not want to be a cookie cutter. But as my neighbor left he also mentioned a rule about no cars on the street. I do not have cars on the street (I am always impressed when our three car garages still force a car onto the street!!). But I knew he was referencing a few of the neighboring houses. One in particular has a car that leaks oil like crazy (literal puddles). And I would love this person to follow the rules. Keep that car off the street – think how it makes the neighborhood look…

So maybe I want everyone else to be cookie cutters… just not me…

6 thoughts on “Garden

  1. Dear Stepford,

    Is it okay if I park my horse trailer in front of your house for awhile. It’s a little rusty and there’s some horse poop falling through the floor boards, but it will make a lovely conversation piece.

    1. “Stepford” ~ That is appropriate. Looking forward to seeing you guys on Thursday! And if you bring the trailer I will be able to introduce you to the neighbors…

  2. Oh Sean. You have learned well from the rabble rousing Dirksen household. We got in trouble for having cars parked in our cul de sac. In the middle of remodeling. At Thanksgiving. With 2 college students home. Plus collegiate friends. Plus boyfriends. Plus aging grandparents. Later, we got in trouble because our mailbox was rusting a teeny tiny bit on the top. The mailman laughed. A garden here might result in incarceration. I’m so sorry we have influenced you and your entire family. ; )

    1. Hey Merry. Thankfully we have not reached that stage in our neighborhood (it would be awkward to explain incarceration to the church!). This is our first HOA experience. We did not realize all the association entailed… but thankfully we are not having to pass the mail box rust test!

  3. Sean, I wonder what your grandfather Taylor would say about such a ridiculous rule. Not being able to grow your own food or flowers? As if there aren’t enough “rules” in this world. Nonsense.

    1. Yes, I often think of Grandpa and his BIG garden. But especially this moment… You are right, nonsense!

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