Friday, August 20, 2010

Emerald Cones

I laid out all my appointments, errands and chores that I need to squeeze into the next week on paper and realized I will have no free time on my staycation. So, I was trying to figure out the fastest, least expensive way to fix my Peeping Tom problem.

A lot of people have suggestions, but they don't know my set up. I can't plant something big underneath the window, because there is a concrete patio there. There's no point in erecting a fence, because we already have a fence and the neighbors can see right over it thanks to differences in elevation between properties. I also can't build another fence closer to the window, because the concrete patio takes up 90% of the yard. We have a huge apple tree in front of the fence, but it just misses blocking their view of our bathroom window if they are at their garage.

I've lived here 16 years and these neighbors rarely used their garage or hung out by my fence. Then the owner started renting out her guest house, and the man who moved in uses the garage quite a bit, especially when I'm naked and getting in the shower. The guy is like 70-years-old, so he doesn't scare me. He's just rude by not keeping his eyes within his own property line.

Going into the city for any kind of shopping takes a minimum of three hours, which I can't spare. I could order a different window treatment or shrub over the Internet, but it would take weeks to arrive unless I'm willing to pay through the nose for overnight shipping. Then I remembered a nursery we have just a few miles from our house. I asked my son to drive me in his pick-up truck there over my lunch break.

I told the nursery worker that I wanted something I could keep in a pot that is about 8 to 10 feet tall and thick that I can use as a privacy screen in front of a bathroom window on a patio. The guy's eyes got all big as he immediately went into a panic knowing he didn't have anything that would help. It's really hard to find anything that survives around here.

He first took me to a deciduous Maple tree that was way too big to fit in front of my bathroom window without blocking the patio sliding glass door, which I need my clients to be able to walk in and out of once my photography studio is set up. Plus once the thing loses its leaves, people can still see right into my bathroom window. I could plant it in my lawn, but that takes time I don't have, and the gap that would be needed between it and the apple tree would just leave a gap for the Peeping Tom. Plus it's one more tree to maneuver the lawn mower around, which we don't need.

He then showed me a small willow tree that looked like an umbrella, but it would need to eventually be replanted in the ground. It could only survive in the pot for a couple of years. The top portion needed to be just the right height to cover my bathroom window, so I didn't want to take any chances on it.

He suggested that I buy a vine from him, and then go up into the city to buy a trellis, but I didn't have the time.

He showed me a huge evergreen juniper-type tree, but again it would have to be planted in the ground sooner than later. I settled on a couple of Emerald Cones that can grow to be 25-feet tall, and need to be in shade, which they would get being in the corner of a patio surrounded by walls. These were just recently replanted in larger pots. He said I'll have to eventually replant in even larger pots, but that won't be for several more years. Deal!

They aren't quite tall and thick enough yet to offer total coverage when the window is all the way open, but they definitely help.

Unfortunately, the pots block our ability to turn the water spigot on and off, so we'll have to shove them to the side when we need to water. Once one of them gets thick enough, I'll probably move the other one to the other side of the patio and that will solve the new spigot problem.

Now I can keep the window open and enjoy the breeze.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Well, there ya go then. :)


fernvalley01 said...

Works for now , and by the time you need to change it, something else may have come to mind

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

I'm really hoping that in a couple of years we can be in a position to move. We're encouraging our son to choose a college in a state we'd like to live in. However, with all our current loans the economy would have to improve a lot before a bank would give us a home loan on top of the car and college loans. We don't own the home we are in, so we have no equity. In the meantime, I'll just have to keep looking for quick fixes to the problems caused by new neighbors in a neighborhood that is declining in quality quickly. Disappearing into the mountains on the weekends really helps. Tomorrow I get to take a letterboxing trek I've had on my To Do List all year. Can't wait.

Breathe said...

It's a start. Grow baby, grow!!

lytha said...

i've never heard of emerald cones. they look like cedars to me. they should grow fast. i love evergreens.

i think it's cool that you're asking your son to pick a good state so you can all move, hehehe. i wonder what states are on your list.


JennyB said...

I'm so happy you found a solution!!

Don't be fooled about that Peeping Tom though! When I was a broke college kid I lived in a bad neighborhood, a rental with a very elderly man living across the hall. The first time I saw him I was friendly in a "hi neighbor" kinda way. The second time he asked if I wanted to come watch pornos with him! I avoided him like the plague after that until one day he knocked on my door. He shoved his way inside, grabbed my arm in a shockingly strong grip, and starting the nastiest dirty sex talk I've ever heard! I'm quite sure he would've raped me if my roomate hadn't come home at precisely the right time to run him off! Don't take ANY chances just because your peeper is 70.