We had the wonderful stroke of good fortune yesterday. We finally have the inside of the house livable enough, and are getting our prep for the semester under control enough, that we started tackling the mess outside. The house has beautiful but overgrown gardens on all sides. Mr. Mochi was mowing out back and I was trying to clip a navigable path through the front hedge when a woman approached me, asked if we were the new owners and introduced herself.
Mrs. C lived in this house for 37 years and did all the planting. They sold the house two years ago to move into a smaller place that needs less maintenance a few blocks away. The Fs, who owned it until we bought it, had not touched the outside. (It turns out Mr. F had a number of medical issues and was too frail to go upstairs. I'm still trying to get the urine smell out of the downstairs bathroom floor - it's parquet so I don't want to use harsh chemicals, but I may have to.) Mrs. C was thrilled that someone would be taking care of the gardens again. We did a quick tour and I found out that, in addition to the cherry tree and grape vine that I knew about, we also have a peach, a sour cherry, a red delicious (tall enough that you can pick apples out of the Bean's window on the second floor), and an ornamental cherry (I'm already mentally planning a cherry-blossom viewing party tradition). And the grapes are catawbas.
She also confirmed that the back garden does flower all year round, which I had suspected since it did all three times we were here. We talked a bit about how she had gone about putting it in and the choices she had made. In a lot of ways, it's the garden I would have planted if the back yard had been bare when we moved in. I'll change a few things, like taking out the stone circle in the middle, but most of it is perfect as it is.
She couldn't stay long and they are going out of town for a few weeks (as everyone does in this part of the world in August), but she has promised to visit again and give me a full garden tour when they get back. This is a very good thing since, at the moment, I'm a bit clueless as to what are weeds and what is worth saving. Mr. C, who wandered over in the middle of all this, has also offered to explain the vagaries of the plumbing and electrical systems. All good things.