–by Christine Rimmer
Our house is on the Southeast slope of Mt. Scott, in a community where there are designated wildspaces. We have a wildspace behind our house here—between our house and the ones on the block behind us. Wildspaces are protected natural spaces where homeowners are not allowed plant backyard gardens. The space must be left in its natural state. And in our neighborhood, homeowners are not allowed to build fences across the back of the properties. Whatever backyard space we have must be open to the wildspace.
It’s been a challenge for us to make a sort of wildspace backyard, creating a natural-looking landscape that blends into the wild area. A challenge and a joy.
And not only is there a protected wildspace in our backyard, there are also several protected trees, most of which are in the area close to the house—not in the wildspace, but protected nonetheless. These include several giant Douglas Firs, each one specifically listed on a map of the neighborhood. Also protected are all trees with trunks more than one inch in diameter. To cut down one of these protected trees, an arborist must certify that it is damaged or diseased enough to be a danger to the surrounding homes.
And what happens if you encroach on the wildspace or cut down a protected tree? Nothing—until and unless the city somehow finds out. And if the city does find out, we are talking thousands in fines. A few of our neighbors had learned the hard way not to mess with the wildspace or the protected trees. We learned from them.
And we haven’t messed.
Instead, we’ve terraced a little and planted a little in the area that borders the wildspace. We have cut down one of the protected Douglas Fir trees, which was diseased, after jumping through all the necessary hoops with the city.
Another rule? Felled protected trees and stumps must be left to decay naturally where they are felled. So as you can see, the trunk and the stump are still there three years later.
And over, time, we have groomed and planted and still tried to keep the special tone of our backyard, which is slightly wild and slightly groomed. Now I love to sit on my back deck under my protected trees and enjoy the beauty of nature while I read a great book. Or have dinner beneath the stars on my patio down the stairs beside the deck.
Do you have a garden? Something about it you especially love? Whether you do or not, do you have a favorite spot where you enjoy your summer reading the most?
Leave a comment here by Friday. Saturday, I’ll choose a winner from your comments for a $10 Amazon gift card! Love and hugs and thanks for visiting….