Sunday, July 26, 2009

Drama in Gardening

Copy of an e-mail I sent my landlord, edited slightly (M is my landlord, J is the caretaker):
Hi M!

Looks like there may have been some miscommunication between you, J, and me. A while back I asked if it was okay if I weeded and edged around the existing plantings, and you said yes. When I saw J, he asked if I was going to plant flowers, I said that wasn't my plan. He said he'd like it if I planted flowers. Then quite a bit of time passed before I had time to do any gardening here... I was busy with other things, and gardening at my mom's, dad's, and elderly neighbour's. Recently I had the opportunity to get some perennials for here, so I started planting them here. Today when I was planting a few more, J saw me, and asked me if I had your permission. I was confused, because I thought he had asked me to plant flowers. He said he thought I was going to plant them in the back, but he liked what I had done.

So I guess I'm now belatedly asking permission to plant flowers. I'm sorry I hadn't asked before, but I was under the impression that J had asked me to plant flowers, and planting flowers (properly) requires digging flower beds.

Here's what I've done so far, to the left of the front door:

My intention was to dig a bed along the front that starts out the depth of the concrete slab, and then narrows to the depth that you see there on the left. Where there are shrubs, I planned to curve out to include them, so that they don't have grass and weeds growing up in them. Since digging is hard work, and garbage men will refuse to take the trash if too much is put out at once, I planned to dig the bed as I acquired plants and/or had time. (Since it's best to dig the bed before acquiring plants, and I know several people who will give me perennials if I show up with a wheelbarrow and tools.) Finally, since I don't know exactly what all I'll be getting, I figured I'd put them in willy-nilly, and then do a final transplanting arrangement in the fall or spring when I knew what I had. (Digging the bed a second time will be good for it, and I'll add compost from my parent's compost bin then.)

If the above plan is okay, please let me know.

If this is something you do not want me to do, would you like me to leave that one bed of flowers as it is, or should I remove them and spread grass seed? (The flowers currently there are day lilies, campanula, two scraggly flowers that Mrs C planted but didn't water, one columbine, and some bachelor buttons that may or may not survive... the person who gave them to me asked me to knock the dirt off the roots, and so they're in shock. I can put something else in their place if they don't survive.)

In other gardening news, I started weeding things that are growing up in the shrubbery. I decided to start with the self-seeded elms and manitoba maples for two reasons: I was tired of digging for the day, and also I broke the lawn edger I was borrowing from my parents. (Cheap lawn edgers have trouble dealing with Red River gumbo. Aside: If you felt like supplying a lawn edger for the building, that would be really nice.)

The two trees I weeded out of the shrubs on the east side of the front were small enough that their lack isn't very noticeable, but there's a substantial manitoba maple taking over the decorative bush on the west side of the front. (I suspect that it snuck in there, and has been gradually choking out the decorative bush for quite a number of years now.) I cut out part of it, and have left the rest to deal with later for several reasons:
1. I didn't want to put so much in the trash that the trash men would refuse to take everything away.
2. The bush is right in front of J's bathroom window... I suspect he'd like the privacy there
3. I don't want J to flip out when he sees what I did.
This is what the bush looks like now:
It had been half covering that window to the left (livingroom window?), and was right down to the flowering bush. I took out the left side as well as the bit right above the flowering bush. When the flowering bush grows up to meet the tree again, I'll cut down the rest. (Unless you object.) The flowering bush should recover fine in time, now that I've opened it up in there.

You might want to warn J that I did this, so that he's not surprised by it.

If you (and J) would like me to take down the rest of the manitoba maple without waiting for the shrub to grow, just let me know.

Speaking of self-seeded trees, I wanted mention the two trees in the back:
Those are elm trees, and they're growing right next to the foundation. I have no idea if they were planted there on purpose, or if they seeded themselves and escaped notice until they were so large that the person taking care of the grounds at the time felt they didn't have the authority to remove them. I'm mentioning them for several reasons:
1. Having trees planted so close to a building's foundation is really not a good idea.
2. Elm trees don't make attractive shrubbery, but are too close to the building to be allowed to grow into real trees.
3. The one on the left has a rather proportion of dead twigs. (I suspect they don't like being pruned as shrubbery.)
You might want to consider having them removed.

Finally, the only other gardening I've been doing is pulling some dandelions from the front lawn. (So far I've pulled a grocery bag full, but that's hardly made a dent in them.) I assume you have no objection to me pulling dandelions?

Hopefully my gardening efforts get the all-clear. (I can't wait until I'm in my own house!!!)

If you're curious, here's the dead lawn edger:
I tried bending it back, but the metal ripped enough that it doesn't have the strength to be pushed into the ground. (Stoopid modern cheaply-made tools.)

In other news, some eedjit tagged the front door. The caretaker did a pretty good job at getting it off, although if you look for it, you can still see where it was.

Also, the latest casualty of my apartment's cross-breezes:
My cookbook suffered the most, although it's plastic covered prevented the damage from being even worse, thankfully!

No comments: