Wednesday, June 24, 2020

mulberry tree ~ and a tour of our late june yard

In my last post, I shared about my neighbor's mulberry tree that overhangs our property. That the tree drops mulberries all over our patio, the patio furniture, the plants, walkway...literally everything that's on the south side of our house. And that it was about to start.

It did indeed. Here you can see how the berries are littering the mulch on the walkway to the patio. Impossible to clean up when they're in the mulch.

In this photo you can see how I had to take the cushions off the furniture and put the chairs up against the house. The berries still find their way onto the chairs and get stuck in the crevices. This photo of the berries on the patio isn't even that bad; this was a few hours after I swept. You can see how they're already staining the concrete. Flies are also attracted to the mulberries, so we're dealing with those nasty insects, too.

My poor plants are getting socked by the berries. The Bishops Cap is a more delicate plant, and it's falling over from the weight of the berries constantly falling on it.

Some of you commented on my last post and also emailed me about having our neighbor's tree trimmed. For reference, those tall overhanging branches you see in the next photo are part of the mulberry tree. They're about 40 feet high. The wooden fence is hers. It sits right on our property line. We don't mind those low hanging branches in back of the patio. They don't cause any problems and provide shade for our patio.

We've had the mulberry tree trimmed twice in the past six years: once every three years. We are legally allowed to have her trees trimmed back to her property line. Here's the problems: 1) The tree trimmers can't reach those highest branches. There's no room for a cherry picker truck in our front yard. And she will not allow the tree trimmer workers onto her property to climb the tree to trim it. 2) Without getting into too much detail, the neighbor is a mean, nasty person. She has caused us a lot of problems over the years. Each time we've hired a tree service to trim her overhanging trees (which costs a lot of money), we've written a letter ahead of time and mailed it to her Certified Mail Return Receipt (which she did indeed sign) to let her know the date her trees would be trimmed. 

Three years ago when we last did this, she made sure she took the day off work and flew out of her house, yelling and screaming at the workers because they had to step onto her property to cut some of the branches. She even threatened to call the police. I had warned the workers ahead of time about her, but they told me afterwards that they had never encountered anyone quite like her. 

(The "offending" tree)...

After the tree trimming guys left, I went to the police station to let them know the whole scenario in case she decided to contact them. The policeman took a report and said to me, "I don't understand. You're doing her a favor!" 

On to more positive things. The shady portion of the south side of our house is starting to fill in nicely. The ferns have taken off and the coleus plants between all the hostas are starting to grow, even though you can't really see them in this photo.

Now you can see some of the coleus in a close-up photo.

The plants in the butterfly garden will soon burst into bloom and that's when it will look especially beautiful. From the back coming towards the front of the photo, there's black-eyed susan (the shorter plant), tall garden phlox, bee balm, lamb's ear, sedum, purple coneflower, and columbine. The columbine is now slowly fading away, as it's a spring perennial.

My herb garden in back of the house has mint, lemon balm, red leaf sorrel, two varieties of thyme, oregano, rosemary and chives. I have basil, dill and parsley in pots around other areas of my yard. I don't mind that mint and lemon balm are invasive. They've been in my herb garden for many years and I just pull stalks out when they start spreading too much.

The tomato plants are huge now and have yellow blossoms. Can't wait until we have tomatoes! We were lucky enough to find heirloom tomatoes at a farmer's market this past weekend and there just is no comparison to supermarket tomatoes. Doesn't even taste like the same fruit. (Who else wants to call tomatoes a vegetable? 😏)

An addition to Zippo's memorial garden is this angel kitty statue I found at HomeGoods.

Brian and I were working in the yard the other evening and he spotted this mourning dove couple up in the tree. Aren't they the sweetest?

Have a beautiful week!


  1. It is a shame to have a neighbor like that. Your yard is so pretty and you take such good care of it. I wonder if you could set up your table and chairs in a back corner of the yard away from the tree - where you could have more privacy and not be pelted by berries. Maybe rearranging how you set up your yard so you don't have to suffer from the tree berries. Like changing the rooms in one's home so it all works better for you? You have probably thought of this already - I just don't like seeing your hard work spoiled. You have a good week, too!

  2. I love your yard - messy neighbor tree and all. It is so green and shady. I do understand about having a difficult neighbor. Been there, done that. Several times. Right now, we have an 89-year-old man next door who thinks he needs to be in all our business. Not so much. We mainly try to ignore him, which really seems to get to him more than anything. He wants attention. Oh well. All part of living. Enjoy what's left of the week.

  3. Oh man, that has to be stressful to have her right next door to you. I'm sorry. She is lucky to have neighbors like you and Brian.
    Your yard is absolutely beautiful. It's an oasis. :)

  4. A shame when people find it so hard to be neighborly. I mean, what the heck does she get from being that way? I don't understand at all. Do you know if she uses the mulberries on her side? Sure looks like it produces a lot of fruit.

  5. Hi Melanie,
    Sorry about your neighbor. Hey in this world we need more kindness and community. She should be happy to have you and Brian as neighbors. Love the area you for Zippo too. So sweet.

  6. We had a cranky neighbor when the kids were little. It just makes for so much unpleasantness. I wonder if you could find some kind of open weave fabric (so your plants still get sun) that you could stretch from the eave of your house to the top of the fence? Then the berries could roll off it back into her yard? ;) I can't wait to see your butterfly garden in bloom. And tomatoes will always be a vegetable to me!

  7. There are always mean neighbors aren't there? So sorry the tree is such a big mess. Stay safe.

  8. I am so sorry that you have such a disagreeable neighbor. I know how hard that can be, from neighbors we have had in the past. We have such lovely neighbors here and we count them as blessing indeed. I know that I still speak in terms of we and ours, I can't bare speaking in terms of one. I'm anticipating tomorrow as being a very hard day, please hold me in your prayers.
    Melanie, your yard (except for the mulberries) is beautiful as always. You have created an space that in restful and filled with charm.
    God bless you, sweet friend.
    Connie :)

  9. Melanie, it is just so sad that you can't keep your outdoor dining area as lovely as it was just because of your neighbor's trees! I can't imagine a neighbor being that difficult and it makes me even more grateful for our sweet neighbors. The most frustrating thing is that you have literally tried everything over the years. I'm also assuming that there is no other good possibility in any other part of your yard for another area to make into an outdoor dining room. Don't you wish you could put up a huge net going from the top of the tree down to your fence that would direct the berries to land on her lawn only? All this makes me wonder if moving might be in your future? Regardless, you sure do make the most of the situation and still have a beautiful and interesting garden. Oh, one other question: when do the mulberries stop falling? Do you have any of the late summer season when you're free of them?

  10. So sorry about your nasty neighbor. Maybe she'll move and you'll have nice neighbors. You've created a sweet little haven for the two of you, don't let her or the tree ruin your peace. Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady


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