23 comments on “Stranger Danger: Other People’s Gardens

  1. I’ve been fighting the urge to peer over into my neighbor’s yard. We are on big properties, and I don’t know them at all. There was a lot of work going on over there the last three months. Their back yard was bare dirt for over a year–and I know they had a pool installed, terrace work done, and extensive landscaping put in–just by seeing the trucks and equipment come and go. Our block wall is eight feet high all around, so to look I would have to deliberately get on a ladder and hope they wouldn’t be home if I dared to peek over. Curiosity is getting to me, but so far, I’ve resisted. Being seen would be so humiliating!
    I’m glad to see other’s are struck with this urge too!

  2. Ha! What a classic post! I love the idea of a “peeping vegetable tom.” I’ve been known to drop the odd water lettuce or mini-water hyacinth into my neighbor’s water gardens from time to time. But I did warn him first…

  3. I think I’ll start a new trend….Exhibitionist Gardening! I’ll plant a fenceless garden right in my front yard, and see who stops and stares! LOL! Great post!!

  4. I peer into peoples yards too. I always try to peek into back yards as I’m driving by (don’t worry my husband is at the wheel not me when I do this). I was so sad this spring when I noticed one backyard veggie garden that I usually can just barely see as I go by, was gone. Just grass now. So sad.

  5. Daphne, I honestly do the same thing all the time even while driving! I see more this year than last, but that’s probably my own confirmation bias.

  6. All your confessions of Vegetable Tom”ism” are hardly solace for my dark soul. For you see I struggle with vegetable larceny in my quietest driving moments. Bolting herbs, flowering broccoli , and over run gardens cry out, “ Pillage Me” While I have yet to succumb to the whispers in my head …. you gardeners have been warned. A few days over ripe in your garden is still much better than Stop and Shop…..I’M WATCHING

  7. I approve of vegetable larceny. Since most of us gardeners only measure our success by overproducing and forcing veggies on our friends, it would be an excellent indicator of how great we are doing if humans (strangers) stole from our gardens.

  8. We are on nodding and waving terms with our neighbors but not much more. One is a seemingly grumpy old man who lives across the street. He wears Ben Davis pants and just seems farmer-ish. In the five years we’ve lived here, he’ll occasionally test the waters by crossing the street and giving me a rose or a zucchini from his garden. I could tell he was always eyeing us up to see if we were worthy enough to give his garden produce to. Then when we got our chickens we had to go knock on his door to appologize about our roosters new crowing ability. Right then we were accepted into his good graces. And about a month later, he knocked on our door with a bottle of honey that the had gotten from his backyard bees along with a bag full of persimmons. We too were harboring semi-illegal farm animals so we are deemed ‘okay’ in his eyes. Now we trade eggs for honey.

  9. Now see, this is a lovely neighbor story from asonomagarden! Here’s how it would go for me:

    Nodding and waving terms with my neighbor. Grumpy old man, looks like a golfer, wears Ben Hogan pants. He’ll occassionally test the waters by crossing the street and giving me the once over and asking if I can swing a 7 iron. When we get my son a plastic golf set, he rolls his eyes but invites me into his home. Once in he shows me his collection of human body parts and stuffs me into a freezer. The end.

  10. We never spoke to our neighbors until we started to garden and obviously started spending more time outside. Now there’s trading of seedlings, lending of tools, and lovely compliments all around. It’s not too friendly like you can’t get away from them, but just right at nodding, saying hello and talking if they (or we) look receptive. Say hello next time you see them outside, I’m sure they’d love to show off their garden just like we all do!

  11. This year I planted my first ‘real’ garden (as opposed to the several square feet I tried last year). It’s rather a paltry affair because I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing and our soil needs a lot of amending. But suddenly I too have becoming a garden voyeur, peering at other people’s gardens as I pass (especially when out for a walk) trying to determine the growth of their tomatoes vs. mine, looking at layouts, staking, etc. It’s good to know this is apparently normal behavior.

  12. Well graceunbound.. normal is very relative! But I do believe that all of us become more active surveyors of backyards. Seems perfectly normal to me! It’s not like we’re peeking into windows.. most of the time!

  13. This piece is so funny! We’ve all been there…peering across the fence and wondering. You must go talk to these people…take over some surplus veggies as an excuse! Hi, we’ve had a bumper crop of corn this year and we just can’t eat it all…could you help us out and take some off our hands?

  14. One Acre, I like this idea. I will be sure to first truly determine what they are growing. If it’s tomatoes, it will go like this:

    ME: Hi.. listen I don’t know if you noticed, but I have a vegetable garden. Yeah, #3 across the way. Lots of veggies.

    THEM: Who are you?

    ME: Anyway, look at these tomatoes. So many! Say, is that a garden you have? Hmmm.. did you also grow tomatoes? Oh how adorable! Good for you for trying!

    THEM: Ummm.. we’ve been growing tomatoes professionally for years. Yours suck.

    ME: How nice to meet neighbors! Come by any time. Good night now!

  15. Very funny. I swear, our neighbor, who was here first and clearly has been gardening for years, totally copies me. I build a low tunnel, he builds a low tunnel. I put in rain barrels, he puts in rain barrels. I have raised beds, he added a couple of raised beds. He even copied my squirrel baffles on my bird feeders. All this, and nary a word about gardening except to ask about the groundhog status. I’m SURE he’ll have a hoop house next year.

  16. ROFL…I just love to visit your blog! The most lovely part of that post was that you actually wrote down, for all to see, what most of us are thinking..right down to the vanity of hoping others are ogling our gardens…your just a nut! And I mean that in the best way.

  17. Thank you very much Rhonda! I’m pretty much all about the ogling. I am a shallow, petty person! But, I am aware of my flaws! And I rejoice in them.

  18. Pingback: Garden Snooping « Compostings

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