In June 2003, I bought my first house, a sweet little 1920s bungalow
in the arts & crafts style, just west of downtown Eugene. The renovations
were nearing completion, and I fell in love with it at first sight:
the fir floors, mullioned windows all around, the original built-ins
- the kitchen cabinets, a hutch in the dining room, shelves on
either side of the yellow-brick fireplace - a converted studio
and charming old apple tree in the back yard, and a beautiful
old lilac in the front yard. There were a few quirky things, like
the stairs to what was originally the attic that required you
to crawl into the upstairs, and the laundry drainage in the basement.
The neighbourhood was also a little quirky - across the street
was a Taco Bell®, and at the other end of the block was an adult
video store. I used to joke that I could have dinner and a movie
every night of the week. ;-)
For the first couple of years, I neglected the garden. My neighbour
would come over and mow the lawn, but the garden really needed
attention. So, after hiring labourers to clear out the blackberries,
weeds, and assorted debris, I hired
a gardener. He worked cheap - just room and board for a few days,
but he did a great job. The photos at the end are the "after" pictures.
Did I mention that the gardener is my uncle? My aunt came along
for the ride; she had fun shopping, and we had fun playing together
when I could get off work.
In July 2005, though, I had to sell my house, as I had decided to return
to my native British Columbia. It sold in 5 days, and I think
the garden was a big selling feature. I've been by a couple of
times since then, and the new owner is definitely a better gardener
than I am.