Neighborly Chatter Over the Garden Fence

Neighbors don't talk over the fence much anymore, do they?

If you lived next door to me, here's what we would chat about this evening.

"Did you read that the water company around here wastes one billion gallons of treated water a year through leaky pipes and who knows what else?" I sure did read that article. In the meantime, they've asked us to go back to the odd-even system of watering because it is mighty hot and terribly dry around here and they just can't keep up with the demand for water. My side of the street gets to water tomorrow.

"Are you going to try to water, or just give up this year?" I'm going to get up early and set the sprinklers where they'll water mostly the trees and shrubs and the grape vines. The grapes are really starting to ripen, so I think getting them plenty of water right now is going to be key to a decent harvest.

"You got any more of that zucchini out there in the garden?" Not so much now after that last big load I took into work. I still have some smaller squash that I held back for myself and I baked some zucchini pies last night to use up some of it. Some of the squash plants are starting to look a little spent, so I don't know how much more I'll get this year. But I'm not complaining because I had a great zucchini year.

"Hey, what's that big bug that just flew by? A miniature hummingbird?" No, that's a cicada killer. They look big and mean but they don't usually sting people, because we are too big for them to waste their poison on. Remember that big one I saw last year actually attacking a cicada? That was sure something to see.

"You got some plans to use those fence pickets you got over there? You know they've got rules about fences around here."
I sure do have some plans for these pickets. They are antique pickets that I got from my former neighbor. He got a bunch of them from the house where he grew up and built a little fence around his shed with them.

I think I'm going to mount the three pickets to make my own small section of fence, then use it as a trellis in the garden to grow a small vine on, maybe some sweet peas or a clematis. Do you have any other ideas on what I can do with these pickets?

And thus would go our little chat over the fence. Do you see anything else you'd like to ask about?


  1. carol - it's so nice that you are friendly with your neighbors. im pretty darn antisocial. i'm the hi-and-bye-get-in-the-house-quick type. i have to say that, now that ive started gardening, i can of wish i wasnt like that.

    love the white fence!

  2. Whoa, nellie. Errr, Carol, are you not allowed to have fences in your yard where you live? What about clotheslines (they seem to be the latest bugaboo in some of the McMansion subdivisions around these parts. The mind boggles.
    Our nearest neighbour is across and up the road a hundred meters or so. No chatting across the fence for us, but he looks out for us and we for him--and we can borrow his post-hole digger whenever we need to add to our (electric wire) fencing. Seven acres is a bit TOO big to picket fence. :-)

  3. Oh, and you'll be proud...I bought a new hoe today--the long-handled version of the ho-mi digger at Lee Valley in Halifax. I tried duct-taping my handheld one to a broom pole but it didn't work. So I bought the long one. I love this tool!

  4. I enjoyed our chat over the fence, Carol...are we on the same wavelength or what??? (I swear I didn't read your post until after I wrote mine!) Too funny!

  5. Oh, I am envious of that bit of fence.

    Wow! I went over to your link about the Cicada Killer - what an awesome photo. The Cicada Killer sounds like the wasps (whose name I am too lazy to look up right now) that hunt and preserve tarantulas for their young. They bury them in a hole with eggs so that their young have a live meal.

  6. Gina... my neighbors aren't that chatty, either, but I don't hide from them. You ought to get out and see who lives around you. There might be another gardener to share ideas with!

    Jodi... No to clotheslines and fences must be approved. I did get a privacy fence approved years ago before they decided to tighten up the rules and not allow any more. So mine is grandfathered. So it's kind of a joke that they would have to approve of my three little pickets.

    And I can not believe you can shop in an actual Lee Valley store. Did they have some of those handmade Dutch tools that I love?

    David in Greensboro, NC... And I swear I didn't read your post before I wrote mine! Yep, the same wavelength... a chat with the neighbors...too funny.

    Me... I love those pickets, too, and I told my sister to tell the new homeowners who are getting the whole fence that if they ever decide to tear it down, call me. I'll tear it down for them and take ALL the pickets!

    Thanks all for the comments!
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens

  7. Carol,

    You must have been in-tune with the world yesterday. I actually got stung by something yesterday, and I think it was your cicada killer. The kids and I spent quite some time pouring through insect encyclopedias and we had narrowed it down to 3 possibilities, the cicada killer being one of them. Somehow it managed to get between my skirt and my slip. I was freaking out, it was freaking out, I wanted it to crawl down, it wanted to crawl up, somehow during the argument/panic/running/sreaming session it bit me on the hip. It started to swell so I took some benedryl and went to bed. Seems fine today. Too weird that you would post about a cicada killer the same day I was stung.


  8. We have a lot of mosquitos too. Inspectors came & found where they're coming from, but since they didn't get bitten, they're not going to spray. how about that? Oh well, protect the environment. Right now we're in the 'dog days of summer' but soon we'll have the crisp colorful days of fall.

  9. My neighbors and I are always leaning over the fence or walking across the street to visit. Most common topic (in summer)"what was your water bill?". In the winter "what was your heat bill?"

    We watch each other's projects, comment on the state of so-and-so's lawn, and borrow each other's mowers, ladders, and tools. We know who's sick and who went to their cabin in the mountains for the weekend. We pet-sit and water plants for each other when we're gone.

    I also hide behind my curtain of greenery when I feel like it! The best of both worlds.

    I think your fairies need a little picket fence around their abode.

  10. I had a retired gentleman for a neighbor in Alabama and we always chatted over the fence. He always seemed to be out or come out when I was working in my yard. I usually stopped working to chat a few minutes. Not much "fence chatting" going on here in Indiana, but I do chat with neighbors when I walk in the evenings.

    I saw your post on the cicada killers; I never knew there was such a thing. How wonderful that you were able to get pictures.

    I also love your neighbors picket fence. I was thinking it would be so cute to somehow attach it to a post with a birdhouse.

  11. Sister with the Homestead... that's too bad about the wasp stinging you. Usually these particular wasp don't sting people.

    Eleanor... you sound as though you want summer to be over!

    LostRoses... your neighborhood sounds like a great place!

    Robin's Nesting Place... I hadn't though about incorporating my fencing into a post for a bird feeder. I'll have to think about that.

    Thanks all for the comments,
    Carol at May Dreams Gardens


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