Susan Harris childhood home in Bon Air, VirginiaMichele’s rant about landscapes in her home town prompted me to take a closer look at the photo I took recently of the house I lived in for my first 15 years.  It sits in a 20-home development in Bon Air, Virginia, a small town not far from Richmond. 

And when I look at this plain suburban landscape, I’ve gotta admit it’s nothing special.  No landscape professional has ever set foot on the property, I’m willing to bet.  And this is pretty much how I remember it – long rows of evergreen foundation shrubs and lawn in the front.  And worse, there appears to be no walkway to the front door, which I can’t remember anyone ever using, and no wonder.  HUGE landscaping error, I know!  Since that hasn’t been fixed in all these years, I guess it’s not a biggie.

Susan Harris in her childhood home in Bon Air, Virginia

But my mother was an avid gardener, at least in my possibly idealized memory.  So let’s go to the back yard, where the real action is, starting with enough lawn for croquet and badminton.  There was a flower border for cutting and a large vegetable garden behind a hedge.  Looks like from this b&w shot that there were more evergreen gumdrops in the back, a fieldstone walkway from the cars to the side door we always used, and a struggling hedge of some kind off in the distance behind the border.

But we have to talk about more than plants here because the crown jewel of this landscape was the small cinder block pool that cost all of $500 to install.  It was deep, shaded, and freezing even in August, and we all loved it!  It didn’t have a drain, so spring clean-up was a BIG DEAL – hours bailing out water, cleaning the pool and saving the tadpoles.  Getting the pool ready for summer was hard work, but exciting.

Susan Harris and her mother in their Bon Air, Virginia swimming poolHere’s a shot of my mom and me riding inner-tube ponies in our swimming pool.  Thankfully I never noticed the crappy cloth privacy screen or the cheap metal security fence. 

So okay, I’m rethinking the whole “My mom was an avid gardener” thing but I’m sticking with “My mom knew how to have fun in the garden.”