Dear New Homeowners,
Congratulations on your new home. I lived in this house for many decades and loved it. I know you will too.
I am writing to you now, after the closing, to say one thing that I was not able to say during the sale negotiations. Now that the house is yours, I need you to know:
I am so sorry.
About the garden.
It is so crammed and overgrown and impossible to navigate because I could not imagine, back in 2011, that stuff would grow so big. I had no idea. Well, of course I read the plant descriptions, but what help is that? 12' by 12'? That's not so big for a viburnum, is it?
The magnolia that prohibits cars from using the driveway and blocks your access to the yard --- that was a foot high once, not even the height of a rabbit standing upright to nibble it. The tag said "smaller than other magnolias". Smaller, okay? I'm sorry. I guess it all looks too closely planted even in 2011, but who knew? Each tree and shrub looked like a chess piece on a small game board:
That giant sassafras tree that towers over the evergreens, deforms them as it encroaches in their sunshine space, and suckers all over the berm? I'm so sorry. It looked like this once. It was incredibly cute:
I know I planted trees and shrubs way too close to the house. I'm sorry about that. I left loppers in the garage. You could prune them back maybe. You won't believe it, but the stewartia and redtwig dogwoods did not completely block the front door in 2011. They seemed so right-sized then. I did not expect them to wrap around the front porch and lift the siding panels at maturity:
See the red painted hatchway door to the basement? You didn't know there was a door there, and I'm sorry about that. It got covered up when the amsonias leapt their bounds and spread across, and the hydrangea 'Tardiva' ("smaller than other hydrangeas") grew to be 12' by 12' as all the shrubs did. But there is a door there, you can see it here in 2011:
The golden hops vine that is now taking down the roof shingles on that side of the house was so small and unassuming when I put it in, back in 2011:
As was the kiwi vine that has now ripped down the deck railing. It was dainty and so pretty when I planted it. Sorry about the vines. Sorry abut the deck railing.
And everything else. When I toured botanical gardens I saw how they crammed specimens together and one plant grew into another and it all worked so well. But maybe they pruned a lot, or replaced a lot of too-close plants as they matured and put in others that were newer. I didn't. I planted and let it go.
When visitors came to my garden years ago when it all was brand new, the only comment I ever heard was: "do you know how BIG that's going to get??"
I now know that 5 Colorado blue spruces and 3 birch trees and 4 hollies and a spreading biomass of clethra and spicebush and a raft of woody ground covers need more than a five foot wide strip to grow in. But for a while, in the beginning, it looked tidy. It all fit:
I am sure you will enjoy your new home. And I think you can enjoy the garden if you don't go outside. Actually, you can't get outside; the plants have blocked all the doorways. Fortunately you can't see out the windows to observe the mess. All the foundation shrubs are 12' by 12' now.
the former homeowner