In which I trespass

You don't get to be Bernal Heights' most famous garden blogger by playing it safe.

Sometimes you have to break the rules, like I did last September when I offended the fine and proper moral sensibilities of 34.51% of Garden Rant readers by trespassing into my neighbor's yard.

Guess what? I'm going to do it again--right now. Just watch me!


This is the view of his backyard from my deck. The canopy of trees and vines is solid.


I'm going to put mosquito dunks in his standing water. Even though we didn't get much rain this year, I've noticed the mosquitoes are biting. I know they're not coming from my yard...


I'm strapping on my hiking boots for this job.


That little white splotch? A drop of 12M hydrochloric acid that slipped from a pipet one day in grad school.


Note that my neighbor's wisteria is carefully clipped away from my house. I do that once a week all spring and summer long.


This is where I hop the fence to get in.


Absolutely the only time dude goes into his backyard is to put out the trash.


But we're going this way.


It's a dump back here. And it's so dark the camera needs the flash.


Clearly, once upon a time, someone gardened here. And then at some point in the not too distant past, gardening came to a complete stop. We think something strange is going on. Guy did some research online and learned the house is currently assessed at $40,000--that's an absurdly low assessment for San Francisco (you may recall that an enter-at-your-own-risk knock-down recently sold at auction for $525k). Dude looks to be in his early 40's, not old enough to have bought this house for $40k. On top of that, the current property taxes are past-due.

The back steps...


I can only imagine what's going on under the back steps...


This, btw, was in the general area of where I found the most amazing rose growing back here last year. No sign of it now. And, no, I never took cuttings from it. Sigh.

There's one break in the canopy where you can see the house.


The top floor you see in this picture is unoccupied and appears abandoned. I think dude lives in the front half of the downstairs unit only. We can see through the kitchen window on the top floor from the deck on our roof and nothing in that kitchen has changed or moved since we bought our house in 2003.

Here's the water I came to poison.


There's another one hiding behind the bamboo.


On my way out, I snap a picture of lost, forgotten garden sculpture.



ADDED: an update.


Delphine said...

Oh Chuck , j'adore tes aventures ! you are a kind of Indiana Jones. Your neighbour's garden could be a fantastic rain forest ! I prefer this jungle compares to the garden of my neighbour !! you have to see it :-( It's an ugly empty square of poor grass with few gladiolus in a plastic pot and 3 daffodil at spring...

Carol said...

I was amazed when you posted pictures before (I think that is the 1st post I read on your blog) and I am still amazed. At how overgrown it all is. At how nothing is done about it by 'the authorities'.

You should check out the documentary film 'Grey Gardens'...

Anonymous said...

Maybe he's hiding Laci Peterson's head under the stairway?

Annie in Austin said...

I hope you don't get in trouble, Chuck - you do have an Indiana Jones aura! Heck, Paris got out early and off easy so you should be given a pass too - you're actually doing something useful!

See you in a couple of weeks


Pam/Digging said...

What illicit fun this post was! You know, I think I would have been tempted to turn those pots full of water upside down rather than just putting a mosquito dunk in them. I've emptied neighbors' standing water before myself. Mosquitoes are B-A-D here.

chuck b. said...

I tried to tip them over last time and for some reason I couldn't. One of them has a tree growing out of it, one I physically cannot get to and a third I was problematic in some other way I don't recall. Maybe I just didn't want to risk getting wet or dirty. :) So, even if I could tip one or two over, I'd still have to come back for the other three.

And those are just the pots I know about. There may be others under the deck I also cannot access.

We've tried getting some help from the city, but no luck. I'm going to contact my city supervisor's office and see if someone there will listen.

anna maria said...

That was scary.
I was sure you were going to run into a rat or two. I've seen 3 rats (1 dead, 2 alive) in the past month in my backyard (ivy on the fence on 3 sides) and it's not overgrown at all. Eeeek!

LostRoses said...

Hee, hee, what a guilty pleasure venturing with you into the unknown! So people get peeved about you doing stuff like this? I'd say you're doing a public service. And it's not like the guy is going to care judging from the looks of things!

JvA said...

I feel your pain! Our neighbor is breeding a super-race of mosquitoes right next door:

Disgusting pool

Our neighbor's not in any condition to fix the pool, but next time we see his son, we're going to ask him to drain it. In the meantime, maybe I should buy some of that mosquito killer and toss them in there.

Amy Stewart said...

Maybe Ed Jew's living in there.

lisa said...

What a cool adventure! From the looks of that sculpture and the pots, if he ever has a clean-up day you could get some nice stuff! I agree the situation sounds hinckey...be sure and post whatever you find out!

chuck b. said...

Ed Jew, for non-Northern Californians.