Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

My flower garden is my prized possession. It is a breeding ground for my precious butterflies that populate the space during certain times of the year. You can therefore imagine my chagrin when my flowers were mangled recently by a stray basketball. A what? Yes, a basketball of standard size. It became a destructive weapon. It started out as an implement of sport for my next-door neighbors who have an in ground basketball hoop in their driveway. I understand the appeal of being able to play at home, especially after school for kids. I believe in healthy exercise when and where you can get it—but it can’t violate my plantings. I know it wasn’t intentional and the ball simply got away from the players and crashed through my flowers. They are like my children and their death was painful and unpleasant.

I got back to the garden immediately to make some repairs. I added a few new plants to fill the empty spaces. I then went to talk to my neighbor who is generally very nice. I started out angry, but soon lost my intensity. The children are just too cute and they love playing “hoops.” My neighbor volunteered to pay for my new plants and to help weed on weekends to atone for his kids’ actions. He promised that they would be more careful in the future and watch where they threw the ball. They would try not to toss it wildly in my direction. Over time, they adhered to their promise and our friendliness grew. In fact, our relationship was so warmhearted that I was invited to a game of basketball followed by dinner.

I am not gifted at this sport, even though it is appealing to more and more women these days. I gave it my all and had great fun with the kids who were giggly and sweet. We all enjoyed a barbecue together in the backyard, I could see that they didn’t have many flowers not to mention butterflies. Let’s have a planting party I suggested. Let’s make a wonderful garden. I got a rousing yes as a response. I’m in each one crooned. The next weekend, I went to the nursery and bought enough plants to fill my idea of a garden. I wanted to line the stone walkway that led to small man-made fishpond at the back of the yard. I hoped that the mature plants would be a display of lush color. I taught the kids how to prune and weed and how much water to use on a weekly basis to keep everything growing well.

After a few weeks, the garden was in full bloom, just like mine. I taught the young ones how to take photos with a digital camera and post them on Instagram for their friends. Soon I noticed that more children began to visit the home and go out back to admire the flowers. From time to time, I caught them weeding. Imagine that! There was less time with the basketball now. This was good news.