Sunday Opinion: Safe To Come Home

Sometimes Buck will call and say he has taken care of some problem or another.  He will say, “I have already watered the pots; it is safe to come home”, or “I have cleared the fallen branches from the drive; it is safe to come home”.  Once he called to say  “They got the guy who was breaking into cars on the street; it’s safe to come home”.  I was thinking about this yesterday, on the occasion of the 4th of July holiday.  I like this holiday, as I think it is important to celebrate the qualities that made Americans go to to war to be free,  and the day that independence was secured 234 years ago. Americans are intelligent, imaginiative and hard working. They lend a hand, when a hand is needed.  I would not want to live any where else than exactly where I live.  Americans that came long before me made it possible for me to grow up safe, and be free from oppression.  I went to school, I worked, I pursued a career-you know, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  I own a small urban property and a small house-that ownership is very important to me.  I may only own one zillionith of all the land covering the face of the earth, but it is mine.  Mine to be responsible for, but also mine to do with what I please. 

I live in a neighborhood where lots of other people own their own property.  They may paint their front door a color I find unappealing, or grow roses and lilies in the most vulgar colors I have ever seen, but I put little time to my disapproval beyond wrinkling my nose.  Why is that? I was raised to value my freedom, and the freedom of others.  Everyone in my neighborhood is free to decorate their property, raise their kids, attend the church or their choice, or not-in short, they are free from me, and anything or anyone else that threatens to oppress them.  I am old enough to have recited the Pledge of Allegiance every morning in grade school.  Having recited “one nation, under God,  indivisible, with liberty and justice for all” thousands of times, it is safe to assume that as an adult American I still believe in it.

My favorite part of the 4th of July weekend was actually Saturday night.  Buck and I were home, in the garden. We had our own quiet plans for the evening.  The neighbors to the south and the west were celebrating the holiday with big parties.  The street was jammed with cars.  My yard is completely enclosed from any views to my neighbors, but I could hear them.  The laughter, the music, the kids, the dogs-the sound of celebrations going on. It all seemed amiable, and lively.  I enjoyed hearing it all;  I liked being exposed to something I was not party to.  I like that I live in a community-we all mow our lawns, pay our taxes, and wave to our neighbors.  We live our own individual lives, but we are a group.  We get our street plowed in the winter, the mail comes every day, we share access to help from police and fire, we support the schools, the parks, and the library.  In return for fulfilling our obligations as citizens, we are free.  This is a situation I feel safe to come home to.

I suppose this has much to do with why I have done contemporary landscapes, revised and updated mid century modern landscapes, planted perennial gardens stuffed with every perennial that thrives in Michigan, designed all green gardens.  People have very different views about what constitutes a beautiful landscape, and they are free to express that. I have no interest in my landscape being anything other than what I come home to.  Part of the challenge of the shop is insuring that no matter your taste or period, you will find something to like.  This means buying with an eye not just your own, but with the eyes of others in mind.  It is not tough to appreciate a beautiful garden-even one you would not want to own.  My neighbor’s freedom is as important as my own. The real music behind the 4th of July celebration?  Let freedom ring.


  1. What a beautiful thought! Your writing skills are just as lovely and thoughtful as your landscape/gardening abilities. Your blog has quickly become my latest source of inspiration. Thank you for the tips for my window box. I love those begonias you recommended! Have a great week!

  2. I enjoyed this post. Thank you!

Leave a Comment