Q&A: what is your relationship with the land immediately surrounding you?

| January 28, 2014 | 11 Comments

Question by patzky99: what is your relationship with the land immediately surrounding you?
caretaker? landlord?

your tiny plot serves you well. it’s within arm’s reach, gives the dog a place to go instead of inside, and that nice picket fence keeps the neighbor’s kids from stealing your newspaper.

steward? cultivator?

that rainwater garden you constructed helps you keep your water use to a minimum, and those rall native trees keep your yard nice and cool in july. you can’t wait until the strawberries get ripe, and delight in the bluejays that have shared their home with you. and the chipmunks. and the toads.

manager? adversary?

the frost heaves from last winter have thrust their fingers through your beautiful asphalt deck. those cracks are too big to be sealed properly, but if you tear it out and replace it with concrete, now that should be permanent. if you can only remember to take down that maple out back that blocks the view.

how would you describe your relationship with your immediate surroundings? details: what works? what doesn’t? do you know why?

Best answer:

Answer by Goldenrain
I am a good steward of the land surrounding me. I have planted plants, don’t use chemicals on it, and invite wildlife to come in (there are owls, squirrels occasionally, insects, a snake earlier this summer that I haven’t seen lately, birds, goats — they are all welcome).

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  1. grannygrunt28391 says:

    The beauty of owning that piece of property I owe to no one especially the surrounding neighbors. That being said, I do make sure that nothing is deposited on my land to interfere with the drinking water for me and my neighbors we all have wells. We maintain that little piece of heaven so that everyone enjoys the benefit of the care that each individual owner has offered to the neighbors for viewing. Yes we have fences, to keep the dogs in NOT the neighbors out! As a rule none of try to remove trees on the property sometimes it just can’t be helped. Example of gracious neighbor. I went to the neighbor and ask if I could cut the branches down from her walnut tree that hung over my property. I said I was just getting too old to pick them up every fall and so was the neighbor. She had all of the trees removed including several soft maples. Lucky her she was in the hospital when we had a severe ice storm that demolished most of the trees in the neighborhood.
    I am the steward of all that surrounds my home and hopefully a good one.
    Where I live I don’t have to worry about a paved driveway. Outside city limits gravel/stone driveways. We don’t have many blujays but we have 14 PAIR of doves they gather around my garden pond and nest.
    The wren houses are just outside my youngest granddaughter bedroom and she watched them build the nest care for 4 babies and watched the very last one leave the nest for good. She took pictures to save for her children some day. We know that several will return because we provide free housing . She also watches the 2 baby rabbits kick up a storm and play outside her window and eat the food that she puts out there, along with 3 baby squirrels. It’s quite a site. We have planted several trumphet vines for the humming birds. Our garden is mixed in with our butterfly garden and that consists of tomatoes, cucumbers and fall butternut squash. These will all be shared with the older neighbors that are unable to garden any longer. We try to accomodate all of the wildlife and the neighbors . It’s a good neighborhood with lots of kids that play in the street. It’s nice not to live within the confines of concrete and asphalt.
    That pretty well makes us :
    caretakers and stewards
    forget manageradversary

  2. Mothra says:

    I leave it alone, and it leaves me alone.

  3. jt says:

    I grew up on a 360-acre farm. I now live on a 2/3 acre plot and consider myself to be your definition of a steward/cultivator. I have lived at my current home for 2 years and have done the following:
    1. Installed a backyard pond with waterfall, fish, water plants, and landscaping. Infomal, relaxed setting. Looks natural.
    2. Installed black-oil sunflower seed bird feeders; suet bird feeders; hummingbird feeders; and a squirrel feeder. Grow wild strawberries for the robins.
    3. Have been certified as a National Wildlife Federation Backyard Habitat.
    4. Built a “cattery” attached to my back patio so my cats can watch the wildlife without harming it.
    5. Am replacing most of the lawn with used-brick walkways, beds of native flowers, and rock gardens. No chemicals, less mowing.
    6. Planted daylilies and irises that belonged to my great-grandmother all over the property. These plants are over 60 years old.
    7. I still visit the old farm and bring truckloads of “magic black dirt” from the cowlots. I don’t use chemical fertilizers. My plants are enormous and healthy.
    8. Installed a bubbling urn in one front flowerbed. The sound of running water welcomes people to my front porch.
    9. I frequently trade plants with neighbors (and even strangers who drive by and stop to ask questions about my flowers!). The best plants are not just free, but have histories of their own.
    10. I also, when I visit the old farm, bring rocks and antique bricks back home to my yard. I spent my childhood on the farm, and like the idea of bringing a piece of it to my current home.
    11. I collect rainwater. I also have a well. Plants do not like chlorinated city water.
    12. I do not kill spiders, snakes, frogs, toads, lizards… the only thing I will kill on my property is black widow spiders. They can be aggressive, and they can be deadly.

    Your land is your friend. You should not pour chemicals or poison on it. You should not torture it in order to grow “the perfect lawn”. You should study it, feed it, and learn what grows best naturally in it!

  4. lucy g says:

    I am not as fortunate to have the land that gardeners own. I live in the city and own a driveway. My neighborhood was barron and not very appealing. I started a raised garden on the asphalt with landscape timber. The neighborhood was so impressed that people would stop to look at my garden and now all my neighbors have glorified their property and we have a nice looking community. We share plants by dividing them and have educated anyone who wants to enjoy plants and planting. Some of the children have become landscapers. We may not have much land but make the very most of what we have. I have since learned to build retaining walls and have flowers the entire length of my house built up on asphalt. My neighbors look forward to seeing all my plants. If I can do it being a single female parent anyone can. Enjoy the earth and everything that grows.

  5. Patricia D says:

    I am a nurturer and admirer of nature. There is a preserve behind my house that houses cardinals and woodpeckers and ibis and squirrels and hawks, etc… It is wonderful to watch the cypress trees come alive in Spring, form seeds in summer and turn brown in winter. I have learned to share my garden with bunnies that live in the preserve and bumble bees and I meet in the mornings while I weed my flower beds.
    I plant mostly from seed because I love the anticipation of what will result and marvel as the tiny shoots stretch through the soil in search of the sun…

  6. gazpacho says:

    I’m just a part of it of course, Pat. When I go.. I’m fertiliser.

  7. MentalCaseMaggot says:

    I just rent a place, so the landlord usually takes care of it. Though, I do have a cute little flower garden in my back yard that I take care of.

  8. Delighted says:


    I live in an apartment in green Surrey UK., but our back garden is a lovely small lake with ducks, swans, pike (sp), even a blue Heron. And the green, flowers, and grounds are kept by gardeners ( my kids asked if they where the farmers). but each time they cut my lawn in lovely lines, I thank them. My children play, feed the ducks, and have picnics in their own private haven, and I never stop admiring the beauty, as it continues to put on a show for us each month something different.

    The whole area used to be part of Henry the 8th’s estate, so we have amazingly old Lebanese Ceders, which are majestic! And many other trees that date back before his reign.

    That said
    I do complain about all the rain, so a tiny tiny bit ungrateful too! But kids are out of school today, so hopefully plenty of time to enjoy it up close and personal.

  9. meanolmaw says:

    I made a vow many years ago…. if I could stay strong and healthy enough to work my land, I’d create something as close to Eden on my little patch, as I could…..and I have…. I think my garden is as close to Heaven as I will ever get, so I do my best to make it as wonderful as I can stand…. there are days when it takes my breath away…. I love everything about it, everything in it (except slugs and earwigs!), and anyone who comes to visit it….I really don’t think I have much hope of Heaven, but maybe I’ll be allowed to pull weeds in the new Eden… if so, that will be plenty for me….

  10. moley ™ says:

    Digger; I own all root vegetables.

  11. chile chill says:

    When Adam sinned he was sent out to cultivate the land. He was also told to be fruitful and multiply. That would make me a cultivator and manager.
    To answer your other question. Your land has been given to you as a gift and you should treat it as such. Too many times we loose the gift or give it away. It should be an extension of yourself. There can be so much stress in the world that when at home should you not feel at peace. Landscape your land as you’ve landscaped your life.

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