Well, after lots of rumors and bits of information coming from neighbors and city workers, I decided it was time to do my own research, so I went to the offices of Appropriations and City Planning. And it turns out that the house is going too! (And just as the imported tall bearded iris are getting a good hold on their new digs...)
So this blog is more or less suspended for a while; as the search begins for a new house with a garden. It's a bit of a challenge in the city - there are certainly places up along the Bosphorus, especially a bit father back, but in addition to price, there are lots of other things to consider - transportation (in some such areas there's nothing after about 10 p.m.), and who lives in the neighborhood, as so much of Istanbul is now made of immigrants from the east. They are some of the warmest people in the world, but being a lone foreigner living in that kind of neighborhood makes one the subject of intense and unending scrutiny. Some of it's just curiosity, some of it is failure to comprehend, or even outright suspicion of someone living in a way that simply makes no sense to them. (50? And not married? No kids? Why on earth?!)
So the two choices I'm considering are:
1) The neighborhood of Yedikule, near the city walls, with lots of old houses, many with yards, and fairly easy to get to. It's an old neighborhood with many Armenians, a bit of old Istanbul does live on there.
2) Burgaz Island, one of the Prince's Islands. A bit more removed from the city but with boats fairly late. The islands have a milder climate - many houses are covered in Bouganvillea, which I've never seen survive in Istanbul proper. No motor vehicles are allowed there. They are forested (though Burgaz tragically lost 80% of its forest to fires several years ago). It's clean, quiet, and an added extra bonus is that there are an abundance of wild greens growing there - I can think of 10 or so right offhand. The downside is having to make the last boat back when I am in the city, but I have plenty of places I can stay overnight if I need to.
So, as I don't have much of a night life... unless something really incredible and affordable pops up in Yedikule or somewhere else, the island is winning out!