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Now that the swing set is gone...

A Note from the Editor:

Last summer the boys themselves took down the backyard “Schooner,” which is what we called the play structure their dad built—before the younger one was born, in fact.

An incline of knotted rope and a ladder each led up to a platform encircled by a balustrade, a bow and stern with a ship’s wheel and a mast. A gangplank turned into the header from which hung swings and gym rings. When the pirate flag wasn’t flying, the mast and outriggers suggested a cross, and I often thought the thing was as much a church as a sailing ship.

The boys long ago outgrew it, but taking it down would have required confronting the passage of time. Then rot set in and the structure became what lawyers call an attractive nuisance. Now that empty expanse of yard looks unfinished, ready for grooming or even a makeover. I am wary of adding anything else that needs maintaining. Who knew a half-acre could be so demanding? Better to ignore the back yard, to stare toward the “ocean glimpse” near the horizon when looking out the window!

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Such were my sentiments for the past year. Now, once again, I am teased or tortured by something in the magazine: photos of the gardens at Rose Valley Farm (in the Summer 2011 issue). I do not have room for a three-story water tower, nor an office and barn. But the impressive pergola reminds me that my house, too, once had a long pergola, wending its way toward the stone beach club at the shore. The pergola came off the rear porch entryway, cut through blueberry and thistle moorland, and joined a dirt path marked as Woodbine Lane. The beach club building remains, but the pergola is history, the yard hemmed by mature trees, and the old lane a string of suburban back yards.

I don’t need a 70-foot pergola to paint and repair into my dotage. But how nice to see the restored garden in Pennsylvania! It has inspired me to do something charming where the Schooner used to be.

Patricia Poore,Editor
10 Harbor Rd., Gloucester, MA 01930

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