Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Brown to Green Thumb

The total sum of my knowledge of all things green, yellow, red and all the other pretty colors of a garden wouldn't fill a thimble. I have, with some hits and misses nurtured a very small variety of house plants over the years, but until two years ago never had opportunity to venture outside tackle mother earth head-on, so to speak.

I am the polar opposite of outdoorsy. I've never been camping. I've been party to only a handful of forest preserve picnics. I've spent a good part of my life in a concrete jungle where the only thing growing was despair. After moving to the suburbs, I began to see another world and new interests emerge. I still lived in apartments where the grounds were maintained by professionals, yet, the idea of one day having my own outdoor garden was planted.

So, it didn't come as a complete and total surprise when I assumed the role of Plant Master Flash of our dis-associated condo association. Having sparked an interest in growing things and deciding that my body had grown enough, well this seemed a perfect solution.

A previous owner, bless her soil encrusted fingers, got the ball rolling with an end of season clearance purchase about three years ago. She too, apparently, harbored a desire to rid the front yard of the wayward weeds overdosed on steroids persona it wore from the years of neglect. She bought a heapa stuff with roots and green things. She enlisted the aid of a friend or two and they spent a weekend digging and planting. The final result was a bit over reaching and a bit haphazard, but I applauded the efforts.

Sadly, she sold her unit and moved away shortly after this burst of botanic inspiration. As winter was approaching, I waited to see what the spring would bring.

Ahh, spring. And look! Tulips, daffodils and some other stuff I can't call by name. There were shrubs and two small trees, one budding and one not. There was some ground cover along with a lot of unruly grass masquerading as weeds, oh wait, it was all weedy. Here I go. I'd spent many hours over the winter looking at catalogs, ordering all manner of plant life. I got out there and raked, dug, cleared a path and planted, looking to all the world like I knew what I was doing. Not. A. Clue. Yet, onward I pressed.

The buncha stuff I bought (note: buncha less than heapa--I didn't have heapa money, truth be told I didn't have buncha money either, but what the hell) now firmly implanted waiting for me to will it to yard beautiful. Like with the house plants, there were some hits and some misses. Mostly due to my impulsiveness and poor planning. One other thing I didn't consider was what a valuable asset in would be to have a spigot in the front of the building. Watering will be much less taxing if I didn't have to stretch 9000 feet of hose around the back of the building, down the length of the building, (through an alley) across the Continental Divide, I mean, the front. (note to self: get lazy board to put spigot on list of things to do and then get them to do it.)

Two years into project yard some progress has been made. We are still the not so proud (well, me anyway) owners of a raggedy plot of land. However, with the adjustments to attitude, visits to local conservatories and advice from professional and amateur gardeners, it won't be, forever. Gardens are not built in a day, or even 730. I must be patient, diligent and tolerant.

It would be nice if any of the other owners would help, but even if they don't, this is for me. I will conquer this plot. It will be mine, mine A L L M I N.., well, you know it will be pretty.


  1. Having grown up in the suburbs, I kinda take suburban greenery for granted.

    Gardening does take patience, not that I have much experience with it. I applaud your efforts. :)

  2. I have loved to garden since moving to the burbs 10 yrs ago. However this yr is the first I was so short money I couldn't afford to buy my normal slew of purple/& red petunias & brightly colored impatients to fill it all in. It was always so beautiful. Luckily I do have perinials that pop up ea year, but clearly not enough.
    Invest in perinials!

  3. I can't tell you how much I miss having a garden. A real one. With room for tomatoes and squash and two types of lettuce. Dig in and have fun. It *will* pay off, in a multitude of ways.


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