Park Seed Customers Hate Their Neighbors, Love to Get Naked


Did anyone else receive the "Neighbor Blocker" e-mail from Park advertising a collection of trees that would quickly provide a barrier between you and those awful neighbors of yours?  If you did, send it on.  It got tossed before we had a proper chance to dissect it.  The message, as we recall, was disturbingly survivalist in tone, and it was reinforced by the catalog copy on Park’s website, where Thuja ‘Green Giant’ is billed as a tree that will shield you from those deadly threats to your homestead:  "noise, neighbors, or rough wind." 

Wayside Fortunately, another missive arrived from Park’s with almost the same message, and we managed to hang on to this one.  It came from their subsidiary Wayside Gardens, which means, of course, that it had a more friendly, "indie" tone.

No Tan Lines!  read the Subject line.  Privacy in Your Own Backyard!

That’s right, we’re Wayside Gardens, not Park Seed, and we understand that it’s not so much that you hate the neighbors, you just don’t want them to see you get naked, as you so often do.  (After all, you’ve gone to all that work to create those "outdoor rooms" in the garden–shouldn’t one of them be the bedroom?) 

Or what if you’re not naked? What if you’re just "playing catch with the kids or lying by the pool"?  Wouldn’t this be a pleasant time to wave to the neighbors, make a little friendly chitchat, or even invite them over, thus strengthening your community bonds, forming friendships with the people who live around you, and taking a stand against our increasingly fragmented, isolated, Bowling Alone lifestyle?

Hell, no!  Or as Wayside puts it, "You don’t want the neighbors to factor into your enjoyable afternoon!"

Of course you don’t. So how do you "eliminate" the neighbors as a "factor" in that enjoyable afternoon of yours?

Plant some Thuja–the tree that says, "Get the hell off my property and stay away from my family."

Coming soon:  The Moving Van Collection, consisting of quick-growing poison oak, the highly allergenic male cottonwood tree, and castor beans, whose toxic seeds are attractive to children and Park2pets alike.  Your money back if they don’t leave in a moving van or a hearse.

UPDATE:  Thanks to the alert readers who sent in the "Neighbor Blocker" e-mail.  Nice to know we  weren’t imagining things.


  1. Excellent points, though I hasten to add, as a recent buyer of the noted ‘Green Giant’ myself, that they’re in a modest little clump, not a straight line. AND I spend enough time on my front porch – not to mention gardening in the front and along the hell strip – to know everyone and their cousin. And to my utter amazement, I’ve heard some Bowling Alone comments about my beloved front porch. Like the advice that I plant a privacy screen all around the front garden so I don’t have to “look at that ugliness,” pointing to my neighbors’ homes. Naturally I took offense on their behalf.

  2. England has been dealing with nuisance hedges and even hedge rage for years. (People get into fights over invasive of unkempt hedges…one man was killed.)

    In Austin, the only thing that grows fast enough to tower over one’s backyard, cast gloom, invade privacy, and otherwise ruin a quiet moment in the garden is a McMansion.

  3. Plenty to ponder below the surface there… Meanwhile, we can’t even grow those here so I guess I’ll have to keep my clothes on and say hi to my neighbors.

  4. We introverts appreciate a nice, quiet, private space wherein we can feed the birds and squirrels and just generally disappear after a hard day’s work interacting with other humans. You extraverts may be energized by socializing, but please, cut those of us who aren’t a little bit of slack.

    We’re not antisocial creeps. We’re just quiet and we like our sanctuary.

    And I swear we’re not sunbathing nekkid back here. Really.

  5. Sounds good to me. I live next door to the Neighbors From Hell. I rant about them regularly on my blog. It’s one of the few personal topics I cover. I try to stick to gardening topics only, but these people regularly destroy my gardens so they get frequent mentions.

  6. I just forwarded the email. It is for Leyland Cypress and it is entitled Neighbor Blocker, but I didn’t see anything about nudity. We have some men in the neighborhood who go shirtless while mowing on hot days, and my-oh-my, they really should not!

  7. Hey Firefly,
    One more confirmed introvert here and God I just love your comment! I feel so vindicated. All I want after work and dealing with people and their “problems” is to just have my ‘bliss’ with my plants and not have to deal with the neighbors and their questions/comments (though most of them are nice enough)…the joke between me and my partner is the six foot fence we installed should have been twice as high, then no problem!

  8. Well I have had several people over the years very explicitly tell me that they were so darn fussy and demanding about their privacy screening when I asked because they like to go nude in their gardens.

    The nice thing is that you can do that year round here. I do however discourage them from planting bougainvillea.

  9. Oh, Firefly. You said it brilliantly. Extroverts have a tendency to cast a suspicious eye on upon us introverts. When they think they’re being kind they call us shy and try to draw us out. If that fails then we’re labelled as anti-social. Something must be wrong with us.

    I, too, garden to unwind from a day of social interaction. I need some time alone with my thoughts; gardening is the perfect meditative activity. Introverts are not unfriendly any more than extraverts are overbearing. We just have different ways of recharging our batteries.

  10. When I put up a 6′ fence between the street and new vegetable garden, I just told the neighbors it was to keep out the deer. However, it’s also because there’s no way I want to subject everyone to watching me bend down and weed every Saturday morning. Sometimes privacy is in the neighborhood’s best interest!

  11. Having recently moved from a very secluded acre of property to a suburban street I have to say I REALLY miss being able to skinny dip without fear of offending the neighbors. On the flip side of that, my veggie garden is in the sunniest area of the yard, previously known as the front lawn!

  12. Wow! Shocking. I have never understood why people wouldn’t want privacy. Every garden I have designed has privacy as the most important goal. If I want to talk to the neighbors I’ll talk to them in the front yard. The backyard is off limits. I have no desire to see what they do in theirs. Call me antisocial…go ahead. I admit that I can be and see nothing wrong with that. With that said, I have great neighbors all around me and we get together for bbques and badminton tournies. We have bonfires and fireworks at halloween and get together for dinner once in awhile. I think we are all introverts and that is why we all get along so well.

  13. I moved recently and I miss being able to go out and garden in my jammies in the backyard early in the am or after work or when I’m goofing off on the weekend. If I want to interact with the neighbors, I’ll work in the front yard.

  14. Privacy is one thing that most Americans take very seriously and the little patch of green in the backyard or front yard is a sanctuary for most of us. The great thing about Thuja Green Giants is the wonderful aromatic fragrance they give out. If you plant them as a border for your property, they can perform two rather nice functions. One, they respect your neighbor’s privacy by effectively screening them out from you and two, their pleasant fragrant aroma can be enjoyed by your neighbors as well.

    Thuja Green Giants need not send out the wrong signals if viewed in this manner. Spread some goodwill and plant a Green Giants today!

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