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Saturday, April 10, 2010

... In which I grow green thumbs. Hopefully.

I love the co-op we live in, it's fantastic. The people are great, the location is convenient, and it has provided us with an affordable, comfortable space in a city that chases out the working poor with its lack of suitable low income housing. Despite being in a relatively old building with maintenance issues varying in their degree of severity, our home is in great shape. Everything works, most things look nice. But the back patio garden... *shudder*

It just needs time and love, right?

Our awesome upstairs neighbour pressure washed the inch-thick mossandleavesandothergunk off the patio before I could get a picture of it. I think the fact that my sister thought we had a back lawn until she saw the newly unveiled patio illustrates the severity of the problem. Now we just have to take out all the old plants, put in new soil, and plant pretty things! If it weren't subjected to shade most of the day, I would love to have a veggie garden in this space:

It's currently full of weeds, ivy and huge tufts of spiky hollow grass (fondly named the possessed chives. No they don't taste like chives, I checked). The daffodils were a nice surprise, but they had to grow so tall to reach any good sun that they all fell over when a good breeze came up. I am going to try for some hardy or shade loving flowers here and see what happens.

There is also this little plot:

Which boasts a host of dandelions as well as the usual weeds. I think the leaves at the base of the tree had aspirations of tulip-hood, but didn't quite make it. The holly and the Daphne bush really need to go if I want a good patio for R to play on once she is mobile - one is a particularly prickly specimen of its kind, and the other is poisonous (and plotting world domination. There are little Daphne sprouts coming up all over the place. I hate the stuff). Some wildflower seeds and my mum's unwanted ornamental grasses would take care of the area nicely, but I might see how deep I can dig and then splurge on some rhododendrons.

My first step towards livening the place up came in the form of some $0.82 pansies from Walmart. The previous occupant had left a bunch of moldering ornamental cement blocks on the patio. I cleaned them up, relocated a few fat earthworms, smashed a few nasty centipede things and a black widow-ish looking spider with my trowel (yes, I'm a bad person, I killed them. I don't mind most insects, but bugs with more than 6 legs scare the bejeebers out of me), and got to work. The centre spaces of the blocks were perfect planters for these sweet smelling little beauties, and I needed very little potting soil (which is good because that's exactly how much I had on hand) to fill in the gaps. Have a look! What do you think? And yes... the row isn't straight. I'll fix it when it starts to bother me.
Oh, and check out my strawberries in those terra cotta pots! That's another great thing about this co-op. A friend who lives here was dividing her perennials and had loads of little strawberry plants to get  rid of. She gave them to one neighbour who planted a few and brought the rest to me. I planted mine and gave the rest to another neighbour. Now we all have some, and next year there will be even more to pass around. I love this place. I've never lived in a close-knit community before. I couldn't be happier.

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