Explore-io Pictorio (Looking at Local Gardens, Etc. with a Different View)

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Wish your screen were “scratch & sniff”.  This gardenia’s perfume is wonderful!  The plant lives in my front yard. –It came with the house.

Sometimes you are so excited about something you want to blog about that you can’t wait. Either that or you want to get out of housework!

I’m taking a class that makes one contemplate the meaning of everything.  If you’re used to looking at things head-on then this class turns your view upside down and makes you re-think how you think or at least it does for me.

As a corollary to this, while I’ve not always agreed with everything my mother believed or taught (who does?), I do think some of her insights were spot on. For this post, I want to look at the world in the way she viewed it and in a way that perhaps most of us don’t see the world.

My mother once told me people don’t remember you for the fancy house you own or the expensive car you drive.  She said people remember you for the way you treat them.  She also said success in life was not measured in how many degrees you held or how famous you were.  She told me to look at the garbage man and to think about how unhappy we would all be if we didn’t have him to pick up our garbage.

For the last 15 years of my mother’s life, she lived in south Texas where a lot of poor folks also lived.

She told me about a house she drove past that, in an attempt to make the yard beautiful, someone placed a multitude of washed milk jugs filled with different colors of water around the perimeter of the front yard.  She believed this was an attempt to cheaply give the dirt-only front yard color, and my mother appreciated the attempt.

In the small town where I live, there are a lot of sad vacant houses and buildings, as well as some that are occupied but rundown.  As you walk down a street, you might see a magnificent Victorian mansion with a manicured lawn and garden and the house immediately next-door might be vacant and falling to the ground.  The contrast can be jarring.

Not everyone can afford home or building maintenance especially when the cost here to do some kinds of work is more than what the Internet shows as the highest rate charged in the country.  (For example, for three hours of electrical work, my total bill came to $860. There are only two electrical companies in town so they charge what they want.)

What does this have to do with gardening?  Well, I’ll show you in the photos below.  Some folks are limited as to what they can spend on their yards, but they try to make them pretty to the best of their ability.

My hope is you will see the beauty in their gardens and that through the humbleness or the decay, you will understand someone tried.

To quote Piet Oudolf, ““Seeing beauty in ugliness, beauty in death, beauty in decay, beauty in the unexpected, that is part of my life too.” 

Without more words (other than captions), here are photos I’ve taken of homes/buildings where someone has attempted to add beauty.


1a    Colorful pots & plants. Some pots are plastic buckets.


1b    Another view.


2a  Hidden behind a 6 ft front yard hedge, I peeked in to find the garden above.
2b  A second view.


3a  Tiny house with a front yard garden.


3b Entrance into the same house.


4a Very old building.  Used perhaps for storage??? See the iron ring embedded in the sidewalk?  I wonder what it was for? There are several of them. To tether a horse maybe?


4b Massive doors with lots of character. Notice the light coming through at the top of the door.  Is there a roof?  Guess not.


4c Close up of the door. I didn’t push on it…Hmmm…Is it latched? Do I want to know? Maybe not.


4d Side of the same building.


4e Colorful wall.  Wonder who painted it and why?  What’s behind that wall?


4f  Trying to see through the crack in the wall without success.


4g Window around the corner at the back of the wall. That’s not a reflection on the glass that you see.


4h Another view. Same window. Is there a secret garden behind the window?  If not, could I create one?


5 The bane of this photo shoot.  The postman followed me everywhere!!!–Go away.  Please!


6 The person who lives here gardened at one point.  It’s obvious.  I met the woman who lives here as she chased after her very large doberman pinscher bounding toward me.  I’d like to get to know her, but I rarely see her outside. She was well-spoken and seemed friendly.

I have many more photos, but I’ll save them for another post.


6 thoughts on “Explore-io Pictorio (Looking at Local Gardens, Etc. with a Different View)

  1. Terrific post. Love the mysterious old building. One of my favourite childhood books is “The Secret Garden.” It would be wonderful if there was a paradise behind those walls. I agree with you about the money thing. Often a lack of financial resources leads people to create very original and imaginative gardens. I love the colourful buckets and even piles of empty pots are decorative. Manicured lawns are boring. Give me the quirky and unusual any day!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I like the quirky & unusual too. I think when I go to my library, I will ask the library historian about that building to see if there’s anything interesting about it in its background. I hope you have a great day!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very interesting photos here. The use of colored pots and buckets does make an interesting garden. I wonder if planting is just too tough a job for the owner, as it’s not easy work and especially so as we age. Now I was curious about those rings in the sidewalk too, and it seems that you are correct – they were used to tie horses.
    I hope you will get to meet your neighbors and find that they are good people.

    Liked by 1 person

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