Hoarding Precursor: OCD Gardening?

When I was a little guy and visited my Auntie’s home with my mom, everything was just so tidy, immaculate, perfect inside and outside. I well remember beautiful flowers, vivid colors and sharply contrasting white walls and green lawns.

In later years, as I ventured off into adulthood, I failed to stay in touch with my Aunt beyond the holiday cards and occasional phone calls. Along the way, my Auntie took pictures that I have just come across. The pictures were taken at a time (mid 80’s to early 90’s) that show the Shed is already walled up as is the Patio with the visqueen/tarp walls and bamboo poles. By this point the walls are not quite bulging yet, but the stuff has spilled into these outer vacuums and some photos depict what seems an inordinate amount of flowers. Is OCD gardening a reflection of that same malady of hoarding all manner of other stuff? 

backyard 87
This was a small portion of my Aunt’s back yard. Densely filled flower beds and close cropped green lawn were the norm in this 1984 photo.
OCD flowers shed to patio
In this 1987 photo, looking between the Shed (L) and Patio (R), you can see the tarp & visqueen walls are already up. Much of what was in the two locations was wrapped in early 80’s newspaper. This was a barely traveled pathway but nestled edge to edge are dozens of pots holding Geraniums and Sweet Williams. At first glance, colorful and attractive until one realizes these were just a portion of the hundreds of similar pots lined here and there.
Hoarding Woes Driveway Flowers 84
Again, a 1987 photo, showing colorful Petunias down the driveway toward the carport and back toward the street. At some point, the color had to give way to the Vacuum principle.
auntie helping at very start
A June 2011 photo of my Auntie agreeing to help me commence the cleanup of the driveway. Many dead animals beneath the piles finally convinced her to let me tear into the stacks, but only under her watchful eye. One hour later after this photo, my dear Auntie fell and cracked her knee and left elbow there by commencing a terrible downward spiral of further falls and dementia until her death in February 2012.
By this point, the pots of geraniums are a distant memory. Faded colors of bins and tarps become a very non-pleasing visual.


From June 2011 until March 2012, the outside was cleaned up. Several times over the driveway was cleaned and several times over it filled up. Here a large storage locker had to be emptied out (March 2012) and the contents brought to the Hoarding house. Psychologically, this was a hit.
By April 2012, we were having our first sale of outdoor furniture…the first of many multi-day sales that year, over the next 6 months.
If you have followed along the last three years, you no doubt know this driveway has seen a gazillion footsteps toward dozens and dozens of drop boxes. Right now a few weeds are growing amongst the cracks, but it is empty for now and rather blah.

I know my Auntie took enormous pride in her yard. Eventually, she tired to a point where a half dozen pots satisfied her as long as the colors were there.



2 thoughts on “Hoarding Precursor: OCD Gardening?

  1. swmbo

    What a beautiful place. If she had only confined her OCD in the garden, how much better off you all would have been. Bless her heart !

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