Sometime last winter, half a polycarbonate panel disappeared from the greenhouse. Note, the greenhouse is under my care, and has been since my husband and an employee of the Michigan State University Extension built the structure in April 2007.

Considering the guys nearly suffered frostbite while constructing my dream come true, I appreciate this creative space where I once grew blooming things. Hundreds of lavender babies filled racks for eight springs and summers until I retired my lavender farm at the conclusion of the 2014 season.

Since then, large rolls of weed cloth, terra-cotta pots, a potting table, beekeeping equipment, and garden stakes with miscellaneous spades have happily cohabited their dry, cozy home. Like vacationing in Florida, I overwinter several pieces of lawn furniture in the greenhouse.

Several years ago, a top panel and most window panels began to mold within the plastic tubing. A local greenhouse owner explained, “That happens when the caulking at the ends of the panels corrodes. There’s nothing you can do but replace the panels.”

Well, I decided to ignore the unsightly panels. It’s a greenhouse, after all. I’d rather spend money on plants than plastic.

Then the wind blew out half of one cracked panel (never to be found) this past winter. One warm, day, I fetched a ladder and removed the remaining moldy pieces. Indeed, the caulking along the top and bottom of the panel had corroded, and moisture molded the interior.

Preoccupied throughout the spring and summer, I ignored the jungle emerging inside the greenhouse. If I hadn’t retrieved my beekeeping gear to open my hive, and tripped on a vine, I may have avoided the mess.

At last, one fine day in June, I ordered a replacement panel from Hortmark in Capac. Last week, husband drove his Prius to fetch it home only to find the 4 foot by 10 foot panel wouldn’t fit in his car.

Chagrined at my oversight, and my husband’s needless errand, I considered Plan B. Call Roland, a congenial handyman and neighbor. I explained to him my polycarbonate panel situation.

“I’ll call my neighbor Paul and see if he’s available. His truck bed is 10 feet long.”

Within five minutes, Paul and I confirmed his drive to Hortmark and delivery to my house. Two hours later, he removed the panel from the truck bed and carried it downhill to the greenhouse around noon. Regardless of pesky mosquitoes, Roland completed the panel’s installation well before dinnertime.

Oh, before he left, Roland also repaired a finicky folding bedroom closet door.

Dear Reader, regardless of itchy mosquito bites, I slept well that night. Thanks to Paul and Roland, my belongings inside the greenhouse are secure from rain, and my closet door closes at last.

I’ve since removed the tangled mess of weeds within my greenhouse. But they’ll be back next spring. For greenhouses live up to their name by growing things. Evidence of the power of nature, much like the force of neighborly neighbors who do what comes naturally.

Contact Iris at irisfarmletters@gmail. com