Thursday, July 27, 2017
Gardening Out of Bounds
When my brother and I bought our house on Pppppppp St, I planted up the parkway with masses of flowers. The house was built in the early 1900s. I was attending a university with a gloriously, rich collection of old books. I researched what flowers were used at the time, love-in-a-mist, love-lies-bleeding, petunias, columbine, morning glory, and tarda tulips--low to the ground, opening their faces towards the sun. I raised them from seed. A cousin complimented it as a real Polish garden.
Having secured the permission of the Sisters in a neighboring convent, I moved many orange ditch lilies to ring their grounds. One quiet Sunday, a woman asked how she and her child could get in to play. They had walked all around the perimeter bounded by a 6-foot chain link fence and could not find an entrance. I told her it was private. She remained skeptical. It must have seemed unlikely that a wide grassy field ringed with towering Great Northern Catalpa trees must be enjoyed from the inside as well. And on other days of the week it was. Black, glossy crows congregated there. Cawing until wee children arrived for weekday daycare.
One day my pots of morning glories were toppled over on the other side of the tall chain link fence. Torn, wilted tendrils clung to our railing. One of the Sisters told me someone had it out for me. Someone did. I suspected an ex-boyfriend who doggedly stalked me.
Some years later, tarda tulips seeded themselves on the other side of the fence and beamed where they were planted.
The Sisters sold their convent and land to a developer. Where did the crows go after the field was filled with large houses crammed together? Remnants of the day lilies lined the alley. Would they bloom again after a new neighbor squired herbicide around the edges where weeds sprouted? Terracotta angels were taken down from the roof line of the church replaced by fiberglass ones that never seemed to dirty or acquire a patina. Why did no one ask me what to keep the same as it ever was?
For a glimpse in the how it was Steven Seagal's Above the Law captures our old neighborhood.
Action movies are not my cup of tea here, but...