Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Neighborly Project:: part two

The fence is super snazzy... plastic in all its glory! But actually, since the color doesn't fade and the paint doesn't chip (like our, ahem, garages....), it works well. We decided that it would be much more fun to take out a section of the fence for easier passage and to complete the "sneaky way" around our yards. The kids like to run around the back of both garages, then in between the two, or to sneak out in front of our garage. We've since cleared out most of the burrs and low-hanging branches and the kid fun factor is quite high.

Troy and Megan bought and installed a beautiful arbor/arch in the opening between the fence and garage. She planted a trumpet vine to crawl up one side and we're training the wild blackberries you see in the above photo to climb up the other side. Potentially dangerous with the thorns, but a taste treat for passers-through.
This week we're getting woodchips from the city of Minneapolis' free wood chip distribution program (the city grinds up the trees they trim, and drop off sites for people to pick up, free disposal for the city, free chips for us!). We're going to lay them thick in between the garages for a soft sneaking surface for the kids as well as a way to keep the nasty burrs from returning. We're relocating most of the plants that were in the area from previous landscape projects, and adding new ones.
In addition to the convenience of the open fence, the other reason why I'm enamored with this project is that it reminds me of my childhood. Our neighbors over the chain link fence have two daughters. Laura and Elly were our best friends growing up (Laura and I are six months apart) and we played together every day. At some point our parents were tiring of all the running around the houses to get to each others' yards to play, so they also cut a hole in the fence. They installed a simple metal gate and brick paths that lead to the fence, different bricks on either side. Throughout the years our families have remained friends... through shared elementary schools, different high schools, overseas trips, varied colleges, weddings, and now grandchildren. When Louise was born five months after Laura's daughter Luciana, we knew that they were destined to become close friends, just as their mothers are.
Do you have a story of an over-the-fence friend or shared gardening project? Please share with us.

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