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Before June, 2003, I’d never done any outdoor gardening before, and the extent of my houseplant skills was my ability to keep them alive for a decent amount of time, just by watering properly.

In 2001 I moved to Manhattan, and the apartment I ended up choosing to rent came with private access to the "garden". At the time, this garden if you will was essentially a 60 s.f. urban cesspool with depressing, 6’ high cinderblock walls, and some kind of a garden floor I could not see, as it was covered by a foot of backed-up rainwater and debris. At the time, I saw this "garden" as nothing more than just another part of the urban landscape around me... a patch of cement "out there behind my apartment", that I did not have a desire to become personally acquainted with.

At some point I decided I wanted the backyard cleaned out, so I paid someone to do it (as I’m rather squeemish about coming into contact with unknown "yuckies"). I was now left with a bare cement yard... not exactly pretty, but at least it was clean! And little by little, I bought a plant here and there, and then a table and chairs, and then a small Weber grill, and I now have a number of shrubs (ixnay on the shrubs, which have since died, since I did not yet understand the if-in-pots-subtract-2-zones rule), an acer palmatum, a bird bath, feeders, a small statue, some ferns... My current new project is growing from seed some perennials, with a blue/purple color scheme as well as winter interest (lunaria, malva sylvestris, monarda fistulosa, echinops ritro and chasmanthium latifolium). (Update on the Growing From Seed project: none of the plants did well, as I didn’t understand that Full Sun meant a Full DAY of sun! My yard is essentially a part shade/shade yard. :--) Future projects may include promoting the growth of moss on the cement walls and floor (my yard is inherently damp, and clearly has the potential to sustain moss, as I occasionally see it occur naturally on parts of my wall, and on the bricks under my potted plants. I also plan to someday grow some climbers along the walls, maybe have a few hanging plants, and perhaps have a simple just-above-the-cement floor "deck" built, in order to provide me with a level surface area. (Currently, the yard is sloped so that water will drain to the "sewer" in the cement floor of the yard. What I would envision therefore is having a deck built in "sections"... pieces that could be easily lifted, should I need access to the cement ground below, in order to clear anything that might be clogging the drain.)

And then, maybe, just maybe my little Garden will be complete!

Oh, but then there’s fruit trees. (Ixnay on those too. I now know that most fruit trees require Full Sun!) That would be nice for visual purposes, and as food for the birdies. Oh, and I’ve always wanted to try growing some vegetables. (Uh, that ain’t gonna work in my Shade yard either!) And what about bulbs for the Spring... I’ve never grown anything from bulb! And maybe I should think about some flowers for winter, like Snowdrops... Maybe some more bird feeders. Oh, and I almost forgot... I want to try a small water garden in a half-barrel. .... oh shoot!... I wanted to invest in a heated birdbath so they’ll have water in the winter too. What about some type of a feature with running water interest? And maybe a few more little statuettes?

P.S. Can somebody please tell me how I’m going to fit all this in my 60 s.f yard?!! :--) And so the struggle continues!

I live in: United States

My zone is: 6/7 NYC

My favorite forum 1 is Container Gardening.

My favorite forum 2 is Winter Garden.

First registered on October 31, 2001 .