It was a sad day here. My marvellous next-door neighbours of twenty years moved out today. Even after so long it was sometimes hard to believe how great they were; they were like the quintessentially, stereotypically nice Canadian family. I used to joke it was like living next to the von Trapps (the ones from the sugary movie, not the real ones; apparently the real Maria von Trapp was something of a harridan). I’ll really miss them.

But I digress; none of that has anything to do with the garden. However, neither they nor I ever felt the need for a fence between our two properties. The planting there is mostly shrubs and small trees, which provide privacy, and the lack of fence made it easy for one or the other of us to nip across for a chat. In fact, when I designed and planted that end of my backyard, I did it so it would blend in with the planting they had there already.

The new neighbours want a fence. Actually, they need a fence, because both of their children have special needs and are flight risks. I can’t say I’m looking forward to having a fence, but of course I understand.

The fence will have advantages as well as drawbacks; it will break the view up and make the garden feel more closed in, but it will also help keep the rabbits out and, if it’s sturdy enough, provide opportunities for trellising or even a vertical garden. I’m not sure how much shelter it will provide; the topography of the area makes things a little weird with respect to wind. It won’t affect my light/shade a lot because it will be on the north side of my garden – their side will get more shade, but it probably won’t impact the planting that much.

Actually, there’s one more thing I’ll miss about the old neighbours: their cat. They had this fiesty little cat that used to hunt and kill rabbits and I LOVED her for that. Unfortunately she never let me play with her unless I gave her drugs (i.e., catnip, Nepeta cataria).

Oh well. Life goes on and new things await.

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