Love Thy Neighbour

I feel like I’m in an action movie where I’m trapped in a room and the evil genius who is after me has a device that is making the walls close in. Inch by inch.

My next door neighbours, to the right of me, to the left of me, have complained about the jacaranda tree in my garden. At this time of year jacarandas drop their bell-shaped lavender blossoms that actually look like little fairy bonnets all over the ground. They fall and they fall until the ground is carpeted in purple.

The drop of the thousand blossoms lasts for about a month. I will admit that it can be a bit of a hassle, particularly if it rains because the blossoms make the ground very slippery, but it is still a joy to see all that purple in the garden.

My neighbours don’t think so. They have complained to me and my landlord about the tree. They are tired of sweeping up the blossoms. They feel they shouldn’t have to do it as it wasn’t their choice that the tree be planted there in the first place. The thing is that neither of them were there when the tree was planted because it’s at least forty years old.

I have encountered some petty nonsense in my time but this really takes the cake. The jacaranda is about six or seven metres tall. Its branches spread about ten metres. None of them hang directly over either of my neighbour’s gardens. It is the wind that carries the blossoms over the fences. How can I or my landlord control which way the wind blows?

My landlord, uncharacteristically, told my neighbours to get stuffed and to keep sweeping.

I stood in the garden at twilight when the sky was purple white and the jacaranda was purple dark and the grass that was free of blossoms was covered instead in shadows. Old, old shadows.

And I prayed.

That the next day would bring wind.

30 thoughts on “Love Thy Neighbour

  1. I hope you were praying that the wind be blowing in the right (or should that be wrong?) direction.
    I can’t believe how petty some people can be.


  2. Oh No! Not the lovely jacaranda flowers? I love the wind that knocks them down and makes it look like we had a wild purple party in my garden! Silly nonsense and I’m happy your landlord told them so. My husband refuses any clearing up of flowers saying they help his grass grow.

    Cutting down trees in dry places is a crime. They struggled so to grow. Have they no respect?


  3. LOL, love that last line, if I’m getting your drift!!!

    What a gorgeous tree, Ive never seen one before. Id tell these neighbours to “get a life” before its too late. Wow, I wish I had problems that were this small. How petty indeed.

    Hugs and Hugs to your lovely tree, G ๐Ÿ˜‰


  4. Last place I was in, I took three binbags full of leaves down to the tip … and I didn’t have any trees! I didn’t complain, though; I knew I wouldn’t have a leg to stand on if I did.

    I did have a somewhat difficult neighbour once … I picked up an apple that had fallen from a branch of an apple tree that hung over my garden.

    ‘You know I could have you for stealing that!’ he said.

    I gave him his apple, and said ‘In that case, you can come around next month, and sweep your effin leaves up’

    He muttered something about only joking ….


  5. I used to live in a house, and next door in the back yard there was a glorious oak tree. The trunk was almost four feet wide. It towered above our (2 1/2 storey) houses and the umbrella-like branches kept us cool in the summer. Because of the fall leaves my neighbour suggested she’d like to cut that tree down. I expect the tree was at least as old as our houses, about 80 years. I said to her with not a little snarkiness, “yes, we should just cut all the pesky neighbourhood trees down and none of us will have to deal with any leaves.”

    It was the same neighbour that kindly suggested I cut down the row of Rose of Sharons that lined the fence between us. Thankfully on my side.

    I guess beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


  6. How ridiculous, maybe they’d complain about the worms leaving unsightly mounds of earth, or snail trails being unsightly because they dont go in neat lines.
    People are so out of touch with nature and natural dirt its ridiculous.


  7. You have got to be kidding me! I’d give anything for a lawn filled with purple blossoms. Kudos to your landlord. Even he knows the ridiculous when he hears it!


  8. very very very good! i shall wave a piece of paper here in new york, the butterfly flutter that may perhaps result in a stiff wind knocking all thoe blossoms into your neighbors’ yards. they shall drown in the beauty of this earth!!! i agree with steph, kudos to the landlord for this one.


  9. Great beginning and great ending! People are funny aren’t they. I love those flame trees that drop little red flowers around Christmas time and it looks fabulous, like a carpet made just for the festive season.


  10. VIC:
    It is astounding, isn’t it? Funny thing is, it wasn’t windy last night but it is quite windy this afternoon. It’s a purple haze out there!

    That’s what I think. Not only do we have to respect the trees for their tenacity under such dry conditions, we have to be grateful that they provide us with something so lovely to look at. Some people need to get a life, methinks!

    Can you believe anyone actually bringing it up in the first place? It is beyond petty. I also wish I had such minor things to worry about. Blow wind blow ๐Ÿ˜€

    I’ve lived in places where I’ve copped a lot of leaves too, but you just sweep them up, don’t you? Some people in my neighbourhood just expect to have these pristine kind of homes. It doesn’t seem like real life to me. Oh, and I would have eaten that apple!

    I would be in love with an oak tree like that. I will never understand why people just want to chop things down all the time. It doesn’t make sense. I hope that tree still stands today. Thanks so much for stopping by!


  11. KATE:
    They go on about absolutely everything. I actually feel embarrassed for them because, you know, people are dying of hunger in the world and so on and they are worried about bloomin’ blossoms. Pathetic.

    I was shocked when they brought it up. I laughed. I mean, it’s ridiculous. I have taken a photo of the blossoms on my lawn. I’m going to print it out and pop it into their mailbox for Christmas. I just can’t resist!

    Go, John. I think your paper fluttering worked because those blossoms are dropping a purple storm today. It’s fantastic!

    It’s hard to figure some people out, for sure. Oh, I love those flame trees. They are gorgeous. So much like Christmas!


  12. “Give me absolute control, over every living soul…Give me crack and anal sex , take the only tree that’s left and stuff it up the hole that is your culture”
    Words by Leonard Cohen…”The Future”

    I’m glad the tree can stay. Great is your landlord.


  13. Oh honestly, some people! I’m glad your landlord supported you anyway.

    Like Jennifer we get piles of oak leaves in our garden from the huge (and over 100 year old) tree in the Rosary behind our wall. I bag them up for leaf mulch.

    You have some very strange neighbours, Selma. Just remember it is them who are strange and unreasonable not YOU!


  14. I love the purple carpet the blossoms make. I have 4 one year old jacarandas and they are one of the few types of tree that not only survived last year’s scorching summer, but thirved in it. I plan to plant at least 20 on my block. Can you imagine how beautiful it will look?

    Your neighbours sound completely miserable. Why even sweep them up? Can’t they just enjoy the beauty of it?


  15. You have me laughing – that last line.

    That sounds so cool and I can’t imagine what kind of dunderhead thinks people are going to cut down their trees just so they don’t have to sweep??? Good on your landlord! I’ve never seen one of those, but it sounds lovely.


  16. I have lived on W. Jacaranda Place in Fullerton, CA for twenty years! We bloom in April/May/June — the street is lined both sides with mature jacaranda trees and it’s beautiful! We have a canopy of lovely lilac overhead and a carpet of the same underfoot. One homeowner in the next block even painted their house the same color — it’s gorgeous! I sweep, in non-drought years some people hose off their sidewalks. Some of the trees are at the end of their life cycle and are brittle and a possible hazard as the limbs can just break off any time and some of them are huge. Several years ago my roommate’s car was totaled by a large limb that came down during the Santa Ana winds. But, they are beautiful and should be appreciated and celebrated!


  17. If it isn’t allowed to bark at all hours of the day or night, and if I can enjoy listening to whatever I choose to listen to in the quiet of my own home without having to turn up the volumeโ€”then let leaves, blossoms and fruit fall where they will. it’s only grass. And, your children can make my yard an extension of their play area as long as they are well behaved. If of a religious nature and you keep your religion a matter between your Lord … oh, come on Mary, you know you like a good debate: political or religious.


  18. PUNATIK:
    Aaaah yes, perfectly summed up by Mr.Cohen. I’m also glad the tree can stay!

    They’re very silly people. I’ve lived next door to them for three years and haven’t heard them laugh once. They’re too busy finding fault to laugh.

    Thanks, hon. I will never understand the way some people react to thinkgs. It freaks me out. Your oak tree sounds glorious!

    Your garden will be like a fairytale. You could hire it out for weddings. I hope you are still blogging when it has grown because I would love to see it. It will be the type of scene painters dream of. My neighbours are miserable gits. Absolutely no doubt!

    A friend of mine was taken to court by her neighbour because she refused to cut down a beautiful old gum tree that her neighbour said was obscuring her view of the harbour. Dunderhead is the perfect way to describe someone like that!


    Oh, how lovely. Jacaranda Place. What a wonderful address. I can just imagine it. If I lived there I would have to coordinate my clothes to match the trees. It sounds like something from a book. Thank you so much for stopping by. It has made my day to hear about where you live!

    Cheers, hon!

    I couldn’t agree more. People do go on about things they shouldn’t sometimes. Let the leaves fall where they may!

    I know. That’s the craziest thing about it. The tree was there for years before I came along. Strewth!


  20. Are they students Selma?
    when I was at Uni students used to dread the Jacarandas because they were the heralds of the upcoming exams and the deadline for assignments due at the end of semester,,,


    some people just do not appreciate a thing of beauty like a a large Jacaranda tree in full bloom


  21. Hi STEPH,
    I know you’ll be with me in spirit ๐Ÿ˜†

    Hi IAIN,
    That is a really interesting observation. It actually applied to me when I was at Uni. I remember in my 2nd year having a really heavy workload and freaking out about my Psych final. The jacarandas were resplendent that year and I was struck by how beautiful they were and how miserable I was. It was a vivid memory I had lost for a bit. Thanks for reviving it. And no, my neighbours aren’t students. They just have no soul!


  22. That’s the problem with people on this planet — they don’t want blossoms on their lawn, they don’t want dogs walking past their house, they don’t want kids running on the lawns — I could go on and on — but in fact — I would LOVE to be your neighbor and would revel in the sea of purple!


  23. It would seem your neighbour knows jack-doo-dah about gardening. Truly, this is ‘manna from heaven’ … to let the flowers lie & run a lawn-mower over them from time to time will do the lawn nothing but good.

    At least, that’s what they say in our street when the gardens get covered in rose petals.


    Wouldn’t we have a ball if we were neighbours? I would LOVE that. We’d have so much fun we’d never go to work. I totally agree, some people just have far too much that bothers them. I think the word of the day is ‘chill.’

    They do say it is good for the grass. My grass was half-dead to begin with so once the blossoms break down we’ll see what lies beneath. Hope it’s green ๐Ÿ˜€


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