Through the years I've had my share of potted plants and hanging baskets, mostly indoors. I've managed to keep them alive (except for maybe a few) and that's that. They sit in the corner, I water them and our relationship is not much to write about. More recently though, I'd say the last few years, I have really started dreaming about gardens and landscaping. When I go on my walks around the neighborhood, I study each yard I pass noticing every detail. I get super excited seeing other people's gardens on their blogs and websites. It is all so inspiring! And the thought of my family growing its own food satisfies both my resourceful and wanna-be-frugal attitude. But alas, we are renters, and the thought of upping someone else's property value is a little off putting, and who knows if our landlord would let us dig up the yard. So, you see, I was stuck in a real conundrum. Back in May sometime, I watched from my back door as my neighbor planted her tomatoes and peppers. I was struck by an unsettling spat of jealousy. She was so cute in her hat and sandals. She looked so at ease and peaceful, and at the same time brimming with hope and anticipation. I thought to myself: I really need to get some of that. But all of the excuses and reasons not to flooded my head; We rent, I don't know how to garden, and the perenial (yes, pun very much intended) favorite, I don't have time. So I went about my day, admiring her little backyard bliss from the other side of the fence. Fast forward a few weeks and I was sitting out in the backyard playing with Rylie, and Erika, my gardening neighbor, was out in her yard too and we got to chatting. I fully admitted my unabashed and irrational garden jealousy. Always positive and encouraging, she told me that it would be super easy for me to plant a few herbs and a tomato plant in containers and set them on a little area at the back of my yard that gets full sun all day. I said; "Yes, you are right, I really should. I mean, what am I waiting for?" She proceeded to tell me that now is really the perfect time and that she even has a good book that I can borrow to get started. The book is called You Grow Girl. This was all I needed to hear, because somewhere in the back of my mind I had filed that exact book away as the someday-when-I-start-gardening-I-am-going-to-read-that-book book. So that seemed as good a sign as any. For the next week I read through the book and on a warm Tuesday afternoon headed up to my local farmer's market to buy seedlings from the seedlings guy. I bought herbs mostly: rosemary, basil, parsley, sage, dill, lavendar and arugula. The next day, I got up and went to the garden center right when it opened. I got a tomato plant, a hanging basket, Marigold, African Violet, a container, a watering can, potting soil and some fertilizer. I quickly got back home and went to work potting my plants and putting my garden together and here it is:
There are a few other herbs to the left that are out of frame here, but you get the idea. I had most of this stuff just gathering dust in the garage. Yes, my basil plant is in a planter shaped like a Lion's head. I got that many years ago now at the Melrose Trading Post. In fact, we had that little gem in Venice too, see. (Unfortunately, that was one of my plant casualities) Anyways, so far, so good in the garden! Except I quickly found out that delicate greens like arugula do better in fall or early spring when the temperature is not so hot. See it has already bolted. What do I do now? I have no idea . . .
I planted this African Violet in a terra cotta pot that I slathered up with yogurt and then put soil all over the outside. The theory is, and I learned this from that fabulous book, that if you keep the pot in a shady spot with lots of mositure it will grow a beautiful moss patina in a few months time. I really hope that works out.
Another science experiment that I have going is something that I remember my mom doing when we were kids. I am on my third try with soaking these avocado seeds in a sunny window to see if they will sprout. Part of the problem may be that there is NO SUN! June gloom, remember when I mentioned that phenomenon before? Alas, we'll see if we can't get a tree going one of these days.
Let's see, what else... Oh yes, here is the beautiful hanging basket I bought at the garden center. It does wonders for the overall pleasantness of the backyard.
I also spruced up the succulents in the front. They were started from cuttings bought at a yard sale several years ago now. I love them because they are virtually maintenance free, I do want to replant them in the near future though. I feel like they would really thrive in bigger pots, they've outgrown these digs (yep!)
Oh, and all of the plant attention prompted me to help out my indoor plants too. Here they are looking better than they have in months (years, really.)
I do have a confession though; I could never do this all myself. My gardening is made loads easier because I have a very diligent and eager little helper.