Friday, June 20, 2014

Good Neighbours

Yesterday when I wandered around my backyard checking the progress of some flowers and endings of others, I noticed this peony had come into bloom.  I hadn't even noticed that it was in bud, but it is rather hidden by the bleeding hearts.

It's gorgeous with such pretty pink petals delicately streaked with a darker fuchsia colour on the outer base.  I planted this I think two years ago, and this is the first time it has bloomed.  It was a happy moment and I bent down to smell it wondering if even unscented peonies carried some distinctive fragrance.  I was so surprised to catch a beautiful scent from this peony!  I didn't remember that I had bought a scented one, and I am in love with it.  I'll be clearing some bleeding hearts back from it to give it room to grow and grow and grow!  Bleeding hearts do so well in my yard, that I have no qualms of ripping out a few when something else grabs my attention and wants their spot.

In the front yard, my white peonies are also doing quite well.  My husband gets a peony support on top of the plant as soon as he sees the shoots coming up, so it hopefully falls nicely above the ground and not splayed all over like a drunken fool ... it doesn't always work though ...

Now you may be wondering if these peonies are my "good neighbours", and I guess in a way they are.  I myself try to be a good neighbour. 

I don't have wild, noisy parties in the summertime, I always told my kids not to scream like banshees when they were playing.  I don't cut my grass really early on Sunday mornings or during the supper hour. 

And I never ever let my dog run across my neighbours' lawns to pee on their gardens.  I don't even let my dog walk on the lawn side of the sidewalk, he has to walk on the curb side, and I always pick up after my dog ... even when we walk in the woods and open fields.  I really try to be a considerate dog owner because I know not everyone is crazy about them and their habits.

Yesterday I had been getting a laugh from a large noisy grackle family squawking and splashing in my little gurgling water fountain on the patio. 

The birds are so big they can barely squeeze into the largest basin, but one young bird did and he looked like an elephant in a bathtub (sorry no photo of that, I didn't want to scare him off to jump up for the camera). 

So when I had to go out in the afternoon and came home to a neighbour's cat sitting outside my backyard gate watching this bird family, I had no qualms of letting my dog lose to chase him off.  I don't own cats, and I really love my backyard birds. 

There were six goldfinches at the feeder ... one is on the back of the feeder, and one is on the pole to the right.

I felt somewhat awkward, however, when the dog chased after him across two good neighbours' yards before trotting happily back home.  And don't worry, my pup wouldn't harm a cat, he just likes to give chase.  He knows also, that he's not to go past the hedge bordering one side of my front yard, or the drop off our lawn to the neighbour's driveway on the other.  He's a well-behaved herding dog, and they like to stay close to home and their family, so he doesn't wander. 

 My neighbour got a dog about a year ago.  You couldn't ask for a more beautiful dog ... golden retriever, calm, gentle and well loved. 
But my neighbour, who I don't believe has ever owned a dog prior to this one, has no dog ownership manners.  This dog has knocked down a child in my care, and the neighbour did nothing to reprimand it.  I've recently seen the dog jump up on an adult across the street and put his enormous paws on the 6ft+ man's shoulders!  I could tell the man did not think it was "cute" or even "funny" and was probably a bit alarmed, again the dog owner did nothing. 
The dog gets lots of walks with three adults living in the home, but whenever they come around the corner onto our street, the dog is let off his leash, and he happily runs ahead of the owners, up onto my lawn and pees every time around the edges of my garden. 
I work in that garden regularly, and I don't wear gardening gloves.  The thought of grabbing some weeds with dog pee on them disgusts me.  I don't want my flowers to suffer from the effects of dog pee either. 
the pee garden :[
So what do you do.  What would you do? 
our houses are close as you can see
Last night when I was closing up the front windows, there was the neighbour and his dog coming home from a walk in the dark, and the dog was sniffing and peeing all around my garden directly below my window.  I'm sure the neighbour saw me in the window, and maybe I should have called to him and said "please keep your dog out of my garden", but I kept quiet because I don't want to cause waves.
I know this is bothering me more and more because last night I woke up in the middle of the night, and my first thought was "what to do about that darned dog!".  I originally wanted to plant a garden and bushes along that side of the yard, but now I don't think that will be enough. 

I want to put up a short fence in line with the existing garden at the top, to the spruce tree, and then down the small hill to the road.  We'd like to plant about 3 bridal wreath spirea in front of the fence on the road side of the spruce tree, and another burning bush beside that existing one at the end of the garden.
I think the dog will still pee on the bushes and then squeeze through them to his own side.  Now I want to put up a fence, nothing fortress like, just enough to keep the dog out.  I'm angry.  I don't want to talk to the neighbours about it because I already asked them quite nicely not to park in front of my house (they rarely park their cars in front of their house, and they were always parked in front of mine for days at a time).  I thought I asked in a considerate manner, but apparently they thought otherwise.  I heard back from their son that a good friend of there's growled "I don't care what Wendy wants, I'll park my car where I want!!" (there were many swear words peppered through the comment).  This is a friend that visits them a lot.  Now I just cringe when that friend is sitting on their deck overlooking my yard in back.  Why can't people just take it for what it is and just say "ok, no problem, I'll park in front of my house".  It did take me about eight years to finally say something.
So the dog issue festers with me.  The dog has marked my front yard as his own territory and has established his habit well.  When the neighbours are in the front, the dog actually sits on my front yard rather than their own.  I read somewhere you can buy coyote urine and spray it around your yard for these types of cases, but I'm not sure how I'd feel about the Purolator man delivering a bag of coyote urine to my door.  How would they collect this stuff?!  A fence is maybe something I could pull off a little easier.   
Anyway, this is my rant.  I normally don't like to rant on my blog, but I just wondered if anyone else has this trouble and how they resolved it.  Thanks for listening guys :)


My dog Cody

Linking up with Fishtail Cottage Garden Party

 Garden Party 2



  1. I think a perimeter fence is really the only way to go. You will never change rude people. In this case, the evidence is in the comment over the parking situation. A well designed fence can accentuate your yard and garden in addition to keeping out dogs. I am dying to build one myself because I have the same issue with the neighbors' dogs off leash and doing their business in my yard. It is so gross. I am not saying it is going to be cheap though but I've noticed peace of mind usually has a big price tag attached. Your peonies are so beautiful and it is wonderful they are blooming with the iris. That is Spring heaven right there. Have a great weekend, Wendy.

  2. It sounds like you have a lovely, well behaved dog. Your peonies are beautiful, and I love bleeding hearts. Nice that you have so many. I was going to suggest talking to your neighbors; any reasonable person would understand. But after you described the parking situation I'm not sure. It's a shame to have to spend money on a perimeter fence; on the other hand, I wouldn't want to start a feud with people who can't show basic courtesy. Hope you can find a good solution Wendy.

  3. Oh dear Wendy, I am afraid that I have no advice or suggestions, but I hope that you get it sorted out. We have a shrub on the corner of our lawn that marks for us the corner of the driveway to help us when we are reversing, and all the dogs that go past seem to think that it is a pee post for them. Very annoying, so I understand how you feel. Also, the parking thing is very irksome, but I fear that our neighbours will be pretty cross as the builders will have to park outside their houses in the next few weeks, but we have had their builders parking in front of our house before, so I guess it all evens out! In any case, I hope that the neighbours dog stops paying your garden visits for any reason! xx

  4. I dont know the answer either. Having bad feelings with neighbours would be terrible to have to live with. I am not sure its worth the fuss if you have dealt with the cars this long. As to the dog well the fence does seem like the solution. Not the dogs fault, people can just be so unreasonable can't they

  5. Well your flowers are beautiful!! :) The dog thing....ugh....I'm with you. I'm extremely conscious with my dogs and wish others would be too, but it just doesn't happen that way. Even when I walk my dogs at the park it's just amazing to me how inconsiderate people are with their own dogs. Frustrating. I hope your neighbors come to their senses soon! :)

  6. Cayenne pepper mixed with oil and then dribbled on the front yard. It worked for us when we lived in town. Your flowers are just amazing!

  7. You have a gorgeous garden - love those peonies and the iris! ( and all the flowers) A pretty little fence will make you so happy ( and give you more places to plant beautiful flowers! ) I live in the country and had to fence in the property because of neighbor dogs, livestock and people riding horses and quads coming through the property. They were even cutting the tops of my trees for a better view. We had enough and now I am so happy, I can't even tell you how happy you will be. You will not be waking up any longer in the middle of the night clenching your teeth. xo Karen

  8. Such a shame when we try to do our best to be good neighbors and good people. We try to do what is right. And expect others will do the same. but they don't. Here, it is the trash and grime that is the problem. No one seems to care that the stairwell is nasty and dirty. They all have maids, and yet more often than not, I am out there cleaning things up, sweeping and then wiping each stair by hand. Then someone will come along and crush their cigarette in the stairwell. That makes me so angry! My husband won't say anything. He doesn't want to cause waves. And I don't speak Arabic. I feel for you. I am the same ... when something bothers me, I toss and turn at night trying to figure out what I can do about it. I come up with all sorts of scenarios in my head. We have someone here who will park in our spot. We still don't know who it is. We have only two spots for parking. I finally left a note on their car "private parking, please do not park here again". I had to park on the side of the road and later I found the note taped to my car, so they know who we are. If I ever see them face to face, I will say something. Enough is enough. The last time, they parked on the side of the road, but their rear was so far back that I still couldn't get into my spot. Talk about inconsiderate. Seriously, why do the neighbors think they can park in front of your house, but not their own? I don't get that at all. At this point, it sounds like they want to be difficult because they know how you feel. I would go with a small picket like fence, covered with ivy and other small plants. Good luck, Tammy

  9. Wendy your flower photos are so beautiful! What amazing peonies-they are so uplifting. I really feel for you though with the neighbour dog issue. 'A trained dog is a happy dog' my mother used to say. It is, sadly quite often the owners who need training. Your plan for the fence would probably be the best to keep this dog out and your plans for the spirea bushes would enhance the area. Take care, Alison xx

  10. I can sympathise with you completely Wendy, I'm in the same situation as you but not with dogs with cats! my next door neighbor's cat has taken up residence in my garden and all the neighbourhood cats come visit it in my garden too. I bought a huge water pistol and I leaped out onto the patio gun in hand and squirted them all,( my family think I'm hilarious/nuts) the cats run away but are soon back again, and the gun broke! My brother has MS and parked his car between my drive and my neighbours while he popped in to give me something, my neighbour was at my door in seconds complaining about his car! I explained he can't walk far because of his MS and he wouldn't be long..the answer well even so it's just not on! I too don't want to cause waves but I love to see the birds in my garden too, I can't open my Summerhouse because the cats go into it and sit on the chairs leaving a smell of cat!
    Love your peony I can't grow them in my garden but yours are beautiful. Good luck with your dog dilemma I think the fence idea sounds good. As for the car keep letting their tires down haha or put some tacks down at strategic positions. Have a great weekend. :) xx

  11. We have a huge fenced back yard for our Abby. I am a very conscientious pet owner as well. There was a time when a neighbor across the street thought she could use our backyard for her dog to roam. We were home and my husband was out back fixing a door lock. Well the neighbor though we must not be home or something as she opened our gate and walked in with her dog. She was quite startled to see my husband right there where she came in. She said hello, called her dog, and left. Oh and she is one who doesn't clean up the poop in your yard. When I discovered this happening I had to put locks on all 3 gates. This definitely deterred her. I nearly put up a sign on the gate that said "pay to play." I wanted to ask her what part of my house payment was she contributing to if she was using my yard as her own. I wanted to tell her to build her own fence. Then a next door neighbor one day asked if she could let her dog and another dog friend play in our backyard while we were gone and Abby was at the kennel. Seriously? I said I'd prefer not because if a dog got injured from a lose picket or perhaps a nail I didn't want to feel responsible. What I wanted to say was build your own damn fence. :o)

  12. Your peonies are doing really well! I've never grown them, but might put one or two in next year.

    The dog issue is a tough one. My guess is it probably won't do anything to speak to them other than cause hard feelings. You are in the right, but they don't sound like they would honour your request to keep their dog off your lawn. I would give the coyote urine a try. Also, several people who have cottages nearby have ornaments stuck in their lawn like a no smoking sign, only with a dog peeing crossed out instead of a cigarette. That might help them get the message without your having to say a word. I hope you get it resolved. It's awful to have something eating away at you to the point you are waking up in the night thinking about it.

  13. Wendy - I would try every home remedy I could (search for them, I bet there is a lot) that might dissuade this dog from your yard, and if nothing works, then I'd invest in a fence. :( unfortunately trying to talk to your neighbors will not do any good. You could always call the tail waggers, but that would also cause problems. I used to live next door to the most unpleasant people, much like your neighbors. Although we didn't have dog problems, we had every other kind. :/ it was ridiculous. After trying to talk to them a few times, we just gave up and whenever they came over to complain, I just smiled and said Oh ok, I'm so sorry, etc. They would leave feeling better I guess and then I'd just go about my business. What else can you do? Maybe they will move at some point, that's what mine did. Hoping you find a good 'dog away' remedy! karen

  14. Oh dear, neighbour problems with parking and dogs - you have my sympathy Wendy, and it's so hard when these things keep going on for years and you feel incapable of settling the problem amicably because the neighbour doesn't have very good neighbourly principles! I also think a fence is the way to go - although it's a bit hard that you have the expense of that!
    Your garden is so lovely and reflects your hard work and love, the blooms delightful, and I hope you can get full enjoyment out of it without it being marred by neighbours and their bad habits! xoJoy

  15. Ok first of all your blooms are GORGEOUS!!! Those peonies are crazy beautiful pal! And now on to the neighbor thing...Wendy if I could tell you the stories about our back neighbor you would so get it. Unfortunately you have to do what you have to do friend. I say go for the fence....that is what we had to do along our back and it is the best thing we have ever done! It is very disrespectful for someone to knowingly let their animal use your garden as its potty! Put that fence will bring you peace.....wishing you a wonderful weekend in the garden! Nicole xoxo

  16. What amazing blooms, wow, my peonies just have ants crawling on the bud as they haven't opened up as of yet. Wonderful pictures of the horses, I remember how soft their noses are.
    Thanks for visiting

  17. Your peonies and iris are lovely Wendy. It is hard to control where a dog decides to do his thing. That's why we installed a fence first thing. What is it they say? Good fences makes good neighbours. I'd put up a fence!


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