For years I had admired a beautiful, but neglected house a few blocks away. My husband and I called it "stately Wayne Manor", since it closely resembled Batman's mansion from the 1960's t.v. show. A beautiful 1920's brick tudor, set on two acres accross from Lake Michigan, it had fallen on hard times. Scraggly evergreens towered above it, ivy covered not just the bricks, but encased some windows. Far too much vegetation grew in the foreground. I could never tell if some elderly person lived there or if it was empty. It was a house to dream about.
Last year a "For Sale" sign went up. It was a listed at a bargain price. Unfortunately, it was about four times what I could afford. Still when it sold and the new owner started to clear the brush forest away, I was happy for the house. When they put in new, but architectually correct windows, I was glad the new owners knew how to do things right. Down came the evergreens, over came the tuckpointers, painter sandblasted and then painted the 7 foot high iron fence and twin gates. When the new owners installed a reflecting pool in the forecourt, I applauded their style. The house had been restored.
The first sign that all was not well was when the gilt trim appeared on the iron fence. It coated the tips of the fence and the upper third of the ironwork, like drippy frosting on a bundt cake. Next came the five color enameling on the gates' decorative elements. "Bleah", I thought, but to each his own. When the very very shiny a boldly contemporary leaping dolphin appeared one afternoon, leaping out of the reflecting pool, like Flipper trying to escape the 1990's movie remake. Next came a pair of very very very oversize orange terra cotta lions by the front steps. Then it stopped for several months and we thought it was over.
Then this spring, it began again. 12 minature victorian lamppost appeared around the pool and forecourt. Very similar to the ones in Disneyworld in Main Street. But only about 5 feet high. These were soon joined by 5 pairs of victorian curved park benches. Again another pause. A month went by. Last week a pair of black swans appeared in the pool.
I no longer feel that I should judge my neighbor's taste in landscaping, instead I must applaude their endless imagination. Sure, anyone can hire a lanscape designer to install something tasteful and bland, and anyone can come up with their own goofy garden ideas (ie, my yard, your yard), by these people seem to have endless imagination. We should applaude them for their confidence, originality and ability to to generate countless conversations among theri neighbors.