Thursday, September 22, 2016

A Long Series Of Compromises

One of the delights of living in an 1890 house in original condition (we know-a descendant of the woman who commissioned the place dropped off the architect's plans) is not having to undo home "improvements" that degrade the original design. One of the sad aspects of the development raging around the lot is having to accommodate public health considerations of increased density.

Several years ago the house next door was demolished to make room for apartments. While the lot was empty, I had a chance to view and understand the south elevation of this place. Clearly, it had been designed to take in a sweeping aspect of the gentle southward grade. The house came with a small, deep pond. The stout concrete wall of the installation also acts as a retaining wall against the slope of the lot. When we moved in, there was an ancient wood frame holding yellow water  lilies in place. I removed the planting when growing shade trees retarded the lilies.

Originally the pond had a fountain that was operated by turning a handle on the basement water line. The supply pipe was lace and history by the time we assumed responsibility for the property. In retrospect, it would have improved our standard of living to have invested in restoring that pipe. The white noise of falling water takes the audio curse off living with traffic.

I now realize that the pond and its fountain were a lovely grace note in what must have been the sunny sweep of the front garden. Unfortunately, concerns about mosquito-born disease and child safety led us to drain and fill in the pond. I'll plant it with native iris so that it looks like a mature wetland  -30-

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