Saturday, April 04, 2009

April 4, Astoria: The garden, before and after

This little patch of garden near our front door isn't very big, and that's probably a good thing. When we moved in two years ago, I was too busy to tackle it, then last year I started planting some things and the owners followed through with their plans to renovate the entire outside of the building. It looks great now, but for the duration I couldn't even get to the garden, let alone do anything. It had tarps on it, equipment, lumber, ladders, and work boots trampling on it all summer. A few things survived - the peppermint on the left, some purple sage in the middle, lavender on the right, and (surprise to me) a couple of small stands of chives were coming up and smelled really good. I didn't remember that they were there last year. After months and months of rain, I decided to take part of this sunny Saturday and dig in.

Here's the "after" shot. It's hard to photograph in the mixed light and shade, but I got most of the weeds and grass out. Oh my god, was that hard; my muscles are screaming at me tonight. Four and a half (or was that five and a half) laps on the treadmill last night were only about a quarter as hard as this. I had fun, but "ouch." Some of the plot has nice potting soil, and some is the worst rocky subsoil. Then there were the huge chunks of grass with roots that infiltrated like molars. I moved the rocks out around part of the border to take in the whole dirt area. Maybe tomorrow I'll get some more plants and finish filling it in.

Here's another photo of it after I finished today. I left in everything I could from last year, and addd new things. The plants I bought last night were Siberian wallflower (yellow), carnations (light pink), Tuscan blue Rosemary, fuchsia (babies), cyclamen (purplish, I hope), variegated rockcress (blue/purple), columbine hybrid ("swan pink and yellow"), heather (bright purple, right front), ranunculus (deep red-purple), anemone Mona Lisa (the big red flower; I may need more in that or other colors). I tried to get mostly perennials, but I have some annuals, too. I like it when they get big year after year, and it's less work and expense. My most recent experience trying to keep a garden taught me that some of the "annuals" actually last a few years, depending on what they are. There are a couple of sucker trees or big bushes around the backlog that will need clippers.

I bought the flowers at Freddy's last night, and they looked nice in the sun this morning.

I think I'd like to put in a more ambitious planter here on the outside of the building. Other businesses have them down the River Walk and in town, and they look so nice. These pots came from my apartment, planted several years ago, and I've neglected them badly for two years. They're herbs, or they were. I bought some bush beans and things to try in pots this year, and also some herb seeds. Yeah, I'll get to the dandelions, too. They're pretty, but you look at them and your mind says, "weed," so I guess they have to come out.

This area is between the garden and the front steps of the business. I want to do something about that grass, because it's not mowable. I put the pots there for the moment, but I'll plant something else - maybe spearmint and purple sage. They do really well and shouldn't need much maintenance. I hope the fern rejuvenates. I like it, and it came with the place. If not, the spearmint will probably take over anyway.

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