Yesterday a note was left on my door by the landlord. It stated that on August 27th, renovation work was to be done on our rental property. Devastatingly, the work includes paving over my side garden which I have spent 3 year in the making. It also includes destroying all the grass we now have in our beautiful courtyard and putting pavers and gravel in its place. The letter stated that anything left in my side garden would be “disposed of by the crew”. I am heartbroken.
While the majority of my plants and flowers are in containers, I have no place to store them while this work is being done, which means much of it is going to be sacrificed. All that money, time and effort down the drain. Worse yet, I will no longer will have the space I once did.
I should mention that the side garden was where I actually planted some things in the soil. My husband built me two raised beds; one is full of herbs and the other became home to an Autumn Fern which has grown quadruple in its size since I planted it. In addition, I have many beautiful Calla Lilies, Hollyhocks, Budhelia, Butterfly Milkweed, Daylilies, Azalea and Clematis to name a few.
I don’t even want to think about what will happen to all of the beautiful Roses and flowers I have potted in the front garden. I’m told they do not need to be moved; however, we were advised to “push them back”. There is no room for this and we all know construction workers are only there to get the job done and will not take care in minding the flowers when concrete is being poured and the ground is being leveled.
Upon receipt of this letter of doom, my husband paid the landlord a visit to find out the specifics. During the exchange, he was told there allegedly would be a new space in a different location near the street side/sidewalk where I we can have a garden space. However, there is a catch: When and if this will actually happen is to be determined, and sadly, this supposed new area is near the street and simply is not a safe area for a woman to garden. As much as I love my garden and our bungalow, there is a downside… we live in a shady neighborhood. There are transients, drug addicts and just shady people in general meandering up and down our street.
For example, on two occasions, I have been outside watering my garden and looked over to the street side to see a man standing on the sidewalk staring at me. It was a different man both times but nonetheless, as a woman, it’s a little unnerving when you look up and see someone looming. In addition, I’ve had things stolen from the property (i.e. solar lights, even my mail). Furthermore, one evening my husband and I were returning to our bungalow and a man who was clearly high stepped onto the property and started to pick my flowers right in front of us. I’m sure you get the picture. I don’t want to garden near the street where I am open to such situations.
My husband and I only have 2 days to clear the side area and salvage what we can. I am not sure how our landlord expects us to take a garden 3 years in the making and clear it in just two days, not to mention we literally have NO SPACE to store any of it. I am at a complete loss.
I will say though that through this experience, I will have learned a lesson: NEVER EVER under any circumstances plant anything in the ground if you are a renter. Unfortunately, the law sides with the landlord and they can do whatever they want.
As it stands, the only thing we can do is save what we can, pray the front yard garden doesn’t get destroyed in the process and hope the landlord really does provide us with another space for gardening that is safe (although I have a feeling that may have been an empty promise just to quiet my husband).
As for now, I will say farewell to my Magic Garden with its flowers, hummingbirds, insects and butterflies. Goodbye to the beautiful garden where I spent many early morning hours watching the sunrise and potting flowers... So much creative energy, so much time and countless dollars invested into the passion I have developed for gardening… I can only cut my losses and hope that once this project is over and our space is essentially turned into what will look like a concrete, gravel filled parking lot… I can turn it into something beautiful again.