Am I jealous of the wealthy owners of this pool and garden? Gawd, yes. I imagine my life lolling around this gorgeous pool as pure bliss. (Notice that’s lolling, not swimming. Very stress-reducing, that lolling.)
So all this was on my mind when I read in today’s Washington Post Magazine a column by Jeanne Marie Laskas describing her reaction to an old friend’s new Enormous House: “Good God, how much money do you people make?” Of course she’d never ask that question because despite our culture of Oprah and Phil and open discussion of prostate glands, marital infidelities and stints in rehab, we don’t talk about money coz that’s personal, ya know. (And believe me, any regular user of public transportation can tell tales of truly cringe-worthy personal details they’ve unwittingly overheard. It’s enough to drive us all to iPods – or XM Radio.)
But back to Jeanne’s reaction to her rich friend. The Enormous House in question has “no trees yet, no landscaping” in its newly developed neighborhood and despite acknowledging that “a palace without trees hardly cries out in welcome,” Jeanne tells us she experiences “hot jealousy.” Well, Jeanne, you lost me there because I save my hot jealousy for homes with trees – and stonework and pools and spas and waterfalls and patios and gazebos and great masses of plants – but never for oversized boxes in barren, unwalkable neighborhoods.
I know it’s only natural that my rush of jealousy comes from seeing rich people’s gardens and I assume all gardeners feel the same way. But to my surprise, the reaction I hear most frequently to professionally designed, installed and maintained gardens is resentment and grousing that the homeowners aren’t real gardeners. To which I surprise myself by leaping to the defense of wealthy checkbook gardeners with this irrefutable logic: You’re rather that nongardeners did nothing at all with their property? Or maybe: What would you prefer they spend their money on? Fast cars and flat screen TVs?
So to all my wealthy readers (you never know) I offer this sincere suggestion. Hire the smartest, most talented designers you can find and write them a blank check. Then DO enjoy that slice of heaven your money has enabled you have. And maybe once a year how about inviting the public, including some of us real gardeners, to enjoy it, too? I promise I won’t ask if it was paid for with drug money or Enron-style accounting tricks.