Three years ago, my neighbors were storing a canoe up against the chain link
fence that separates our backyards. It was an eyesore. My opinion is that I
have no right complaining to my neighbors about what they do on their own
property, so I took a pro-active approach instead. I planted some Silver
Lace vines on the chain link fence. This worked very well, and by the end of
summer it hid the canoe, and it looked really nice.
The following year, they got rid of the canoe and planted a flower garden in
its place. Even though I no longer needed the vines, they looked so
beautiful that I kept them.
Now, three years later, they are a magnificent backdrop to the rest of my
flower garden. It's a backdrop to their flower garden too, and they didn't
even have to pay for it.
During teh Christmas holidays, I invited these neighbors over for a holiday
drink, and James said "Michelle, you're going to have to do something about
those vines." When I asked him what he meant, he said that the vines were
growing into their yard and are strangling their plants.
I told him that it's a vine, and all vines need trimming occasionally. I
told him I trim my side of the vine every two or three weeks in the summer,
and it only takes about five minutes each time. I said that's a small price
to pay for having such a beautiful plant that is covering what was an ugly
chain link fence.
He told me that he and his wife shouldn't have to trim it at all, because it
was my vine. He said if I were willing to trim it on their side of the fence
from now on, they wouldn't have a problem with it, but if I don't do this,
I'd have to "do something about my vines". He of course means I should kill
the plants to make him happy.
I changed the topic and wasn't the same for the rest of the evening. I was
insulted that they would come into my home, drink my wine, and use it as an
opportunity to criticize me. Plus, it's winter! Why is he bringing that up
in the middle of winter?
I have already decided that I will trim the vines on their side of the
fence. But now I'm wondering who is right, and who is wrong, in this
situation? Am I right to think my neighbors are cranky? Does the law
obligate me to trim vines that enter my neighbors yard? Should they accept
the minor chore of vine trimming in return for having such a beautiful
backdrop (their words) to their garden?