Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I awoke this morning with something or rather someone on my mind and heart – my neighbor. She is a tiny lady in her eighties attends yoga classes regularly, and enjoys working in her yard. Her husband died about three years ago and left her with a burden she is not able to manage at her stage in life. In their backyard and very close to the fence that separates our yards, her husband planted bamboo. So I think I can end this post now, since you already know the problem.

For years I was burdened with the bamboo and after a while, he too, saw it a problem. But nothing was done about it. Later, she tried and continues to try  to control it by spraying it with weed killer. That seemed to have worked for a while. At least the bamboo looked like it was dying; many of the stalks turned brown and the large group that was, was now beginning to thin out. But in my glee, I tried hard not to jump up and down, celebrate the death of the bamboo. Isn’t this crazy? Maybe I thought that if that bamboo was really leaving,  it should have been gone by now.

This summer, I was gone for a while and when I returned, the bamboo seems to have taken over that entire side of our yards. I have a pond that I want to fill in and have plans to extend my garden. The bamboo will cover my plants and keep them from growing.  Shouldn’t I be allowed to have a garden in my own yard if I want to? I’m having a very hard time asking an eighty-year old lady to cut down all of her bamboo. As I look out my window now, onto the spot in my yard, the brown dying looking stalks are all green and even very pretty, I hate to say. What happened? Why won’t that just go away?

I looked up how to remove bamboo. It is possible, but it takes dedication and time, and of course, money. You have to start with the roots and get them all out. About three years ago, I got most of the roots out of my yard, and when I pulled up many of those tough (by the way) roots, they went under the fence to my neighbor’s yard. I don’t believe that she ever got the roots up out of her yard. By that time, her husband was very ill and she was attentive to him.  Now she is haunted by that bamboo. I’m sure it was a surprise to her too, to see the growth of that bamboo after she has spent many summers spraying it with weed killer. What I want to do is ask her to join me in paying a neighbor who will spend the time and energy digging up the roots and finally getting rid of the all, every inch, every everything of that bamboo.

Robert Frost, in his poem, “Mending Walls,” said “Good fences make good neighbors.” She is a good neighbor and I would like to keep it so by solidifying that fence that could separate us.

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