Tearing Down the Walls

“All gardening is landscape painting.”- William Kent

Every year, I try to add a little something new to my gardens. I pour over catalogs, magazines, websites looking for inspiration. Sometimes though, Mother Nature forces you to embrace and enact change.

One of my projects this year- the garden where our mailbox stands. Super Storm Sandy split my Japanese Sagging Maple in two. The tree stands over six feet in height and at that time was well over 8 feet in circumference. I cut off the dead portion of the tree and a gapping hole was left in its place. I know in several years the hole will be closed but in the meantime I had to reinvent the space. I still have to balance the tree out- that will be my next project.


I decided to add this year a small trellis border fence to that garden. Was it a psychological thing in terms of “protecting” the tree? Who knows, I was at Lowes and I just fell in love with it.

I was proud of my little border fence.

It was different and no one in my neighborhood had something like it out front. Even my husband who is not the gardening type said he liked it without even the solicitation of his opinion. That to me is the ultimate compliment because I never asked.


Now that my Quanson Cherry Tree is in its the final stages of its pink petals falling, I decided it was time to mulch that area.

Embracing the change I added 8 cubic feet of black mulch underneath the tree because now you can see under it. I also added some plants for a splash of color. I was happy to see the landscape evolve once again. Little did I know that my little project would inspire someone else.

Normally when you put up a fence or border its to keep people or pests out. My little border on the other hand invited a new person in.

I’m pretty lucky where we live. All of my neighbors on the block know each other. We say hi, offer recipes, invite each other to parties, help each other in emergencies, etcetera. This friendliness extends beyond my street– no matter where you are in the neighborhood we all say hi to each other as we walk our dogs, take our bike rides and walks. It reminds me of the Southern way of life.

Because of this, it didn’t surprise me when a person I didn’t know said hi. She then commented on my new border fence saying she loved it and wanted to know where I got it. The conversation then blossomed into other topics, the fact she’s been here for two years, has two sons, education as well as looking for inspiration on what to do with a crushed rock covered area. She was thinking of a fire pit for her teens and didn’t know what to do. I invited back to what my kids call “mommy island” and showed her my backyard project.


There we traded DIY project ideas as well as which flowers to plant to avert mosquitos.

I told her about my success of rosemary, marigolds, lemon grass and citronella plants. If you are like me when it comes to mosquitos, I am a smorgasburg for those blood suckers. No matter what I put on, they attack me. Maybe its my tasty Sicilian blood 🙂 So far though, the skeeters have not been prevalent in the backyard. I hope it’s the plants because in the front yard where those plants are not present, I get ambushed by those stinkers. 🙂

After ten minutes, every day life interrupted. The alarm on her phone went off to remind her to put laundry in the dryer and my kids were yelling for me. It was nice to connect with a new person. Who knew that a structure designed to keep people and pests out opened the door to a new acquaintance.

For those who have read my books know I love quotes. I found this one and thought it summed up my passion for gardening to a tee–

“Enjoyment of the landscape is the thrill.”- David Hockney



Author: loriannlarocco

I am the author of "Dynasties of the Sea: The Untold Stories of teh Postwar Shipping Pioneers", "Opportunity Knocking: Lessons from Business Leaders", "Thriving in the New Economy" and "Dynasties of the Sea: The Shipowners and Financiers Who Expanded the Era of Free Trade". I'm also the Senior Talent Producer at CNBC, and known as the producer with the trillion dollar Rolodex

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