Saturday, August 6, 2016

Small Gardening: Just for Fun

When we  moved to a suburb in New York, we had a side yard we developed into a beautiful garden in which we  spent many long, happy hours working.  I wrote several blogs about the garden. Here is an example: Dressing Down to Dress Up

We have sold our big home with the garden and moved to a very enjoyable, easy to manage condominium.  In the process of moving, we no longer own land for outdoor gardening.

I am going to grow a garden anyway.

My inspiration to continue growing a garden without owning one, came from reading about people who took up gardening potholes!

I figure if somebody could successfully make a pothole into a garden, I ought to be able to find an plot of land for gardening in downtown Portland, Oregon.

I recently decided to adopt a four foot square area out in front of our condo that has a tree in the middle.  This small piece of land is right next to a main thoroughfare and cars often park next to it. Because nothing is on the land and it is shady, because people step on it, because dogs water the tree and wander freely across the dirt, plants haven't grown.

Here is my chosen plot of land.

You may ask, why would I choose such a spot for gardening?  Well, for starters, I figure I can't do much damage to this plot of land. And with a tiny bit of luck, perhaps I can do better.

It was already the end of the July when I decided I needed a garden which means that most of this year's growing season is over, not leaving a lot of planting time. Harvest is already upon us.

Therefore, I have dug up the area and have started planting perennials, hoping to establish a base of greenery that will root in this year, and expand and flower next year.

An amazing number of people have stopped to speak with me while I work on the garden.  Many offer words of encouragement, saying they enjoy seeing the little plot of land change its design as plants are added.

It is a perfect-sized project.  I have dug up the dirt, planted a variety of perennials and the biggest goal I have now is to keep the plants watered.  I might also drop some bulbs in for spring flowering. Toward winter  this little plot of land will be composted and I hope at least some of the newly planted perennials make it through the winter and show themselves next spring.

As of today, the outdoor square area looks like this.

Will it survive?  I hope so, but if not, then I can start all over again next spring.  If it does survive, I will add many flowers in the spring.

After all, the entire purpose of a garden is to have something to look forward to in the future, to care for something, and to see the cycle of life as it rotates through all its beauty.


  1. More (flower) power to you, Mary!!

  2. Thanks, Brigitte. Will let you know how it goes. Luckily, the amount of digging and weeding involved is minimal, making the prospects of the project succeeding more likely. For that matter, if it fails, the loss won't be too devastating either. It is a project that has some risk, with reasonable rewards and punishments in the outcome.

  3. Brilliant idea, Mary! Looks very good. There's a woman who has done something similar on W 58th NYC, and every time I walked past, there were people admiring it. I talked to her about it... dogs seemed to be the main problem!

  4. Thank you! Yes, dogs (or perhaps I should say dog owners) can sometimes be a problem. But since I am keeping it green and watered, people seem to be choosing other locations now, for their dogs. Time will tell. Luckily, when we took a week vacation and had the hottest days in Portland on record, a neighbor of mine watered the plants, out of kindness. In all, this is turning out to be fun.

  5. MC: Love the beautiful garden, i'm thinking you will adopt a few more in the next spring season. Good to know you are on the west coast of USA.

    1. Good to hear from you. I have been considering some more "land adoptions", but time will tell. Next spring I plan to add more plants and flowers to this little one that I have started, and will enjoy watching it change and grow.

  6. Note I have learned that my garden does not need as much water as previously used in years past. I'm keeping my garden alive with all the gray water from the house: dish rinse water, pre shower water (while warming), and using the soapy water for toilet flushes. Its amazing that i have only used the hose two times this entire summer.

    1. Yes, using grey water is a great way to go. But now that I live in a condo, carrying the water down the elevator is not so efficient. I use grey water at our cottage all the time for plants. It works well. Glad you suggested it.