Ever-Expanding Obsession

I see bare dirt. I want there to be green things in it. I can't resist.

So, since the threat of last frost is so shortly going to pass, I started thinking "What can I do to the planter in front of Mr. Yogato?" I thought it would be neat to grow some of the frozen yogurt toppings there: Strawberry is about the only thing that's easily amenable to the climate and space constriction, so strawberry it is! There are a lot of "surprises" in store for Mr. Yogato, however... I sowed some seeds, too! And I won't be telling anyone what's in there. I mean, unless they read my blog.

Also, click on the pictures for a larger view, it'll be easier to see if'n you're curious.

My canvas. A triangle with a narrow row at the end and a small area underneath the windows (with the peacock head decorative things).

Wow, suddenly there are plants!

I broke up the soil (a lot of clay and potting soil, it looked like) with my trusty hand trowel (my arms hurt). The tree is a ... I forget. A little evergreen that will grow up to 30 feet tall if allowed, and it is naturally yellow in new growth (a nice variation effect, I think, when you're using mostly vegetative growth for designing a garden). I'll check the tag (you can just see it in the photo) tomorrow when I go back. The rocks around the base of the tree were ones that I collected while hoeing/troweling/whatevering. In front of the tree are lots of strawberry plants (only four can be seen, but there are some root systems under the soil that I have faith will grow leaves as well). On the left, there is a Alternanthera dentata. I was convinced that this was a good, generally vigorous plant by the PATSP blog, and I did a little bit more digging around. When I ran into a flat of them at Garden District ON SALE, I couldn't resist buying two (or were they just ridiculously cheap? Either way, great deal!). They get purple/maroon leaves in sufficient light; I'm pretty sure this area gets a good deal of sunlight during the day (It was overcast and raining when I was planting these, so not much light!).

You can see both A. dentatas here in the middle. They grow one foot to three feet tall, if I remember the plastic info label correctly. I want them to spread out a little and get bushy, so I might pinch off their apical meristems at some point. Or, I might not. But they are good for cuttings, so I might spread them in the planter a bit in a few weeks or so, depending on how well they're doing. Oh, almost forgot! At the top, I sowed a few Scarlet Runner seeds (Phaseolus coccineus). I checked out companion planting with strawberry, and it said beans, among others, were a good choice, and Scarlet Runner can climb on the railing, has nice red flowers, and even produces edible beans!

On the left and right are the Mentha pulegium (Pennyroyal mint) I bought. In the middle? Some bulb-type of plant that was there before I started. It was the only plant that I ran across in the entire bed, although there was evidence of previous plantings (little pockets of potting soil). I left the bulb--if it's growing back, then more power to it!

I sowed a few sunflower seeds behind here, too, just to see if they like it. The soil is only a few inches deep, so I'm not overly optimistic.

Whoa, I just read on Wikipedia about the mint species that I bought. Several notes: 1. The little plastic info tag said something like "Braid into a wreath as a natural insect repellent for your pet!" Wikipedia says this: "Dried pennyroyal should not be used as a natural flea repellent due to its toxicity to pets, even at extremely low levels." Pennyroyal tea is also a natural way to abort a pregnancy.

Awesome. Put that on your yogurt!

Despite the potential reproductive side-effects, these little mint plants also spread like crazy. I bought two tiny little pots of them, and I split them up into about five or six bunches each, because branches will just start producing roots and can become their own plant if you cut 'em off and put 'em somewhere. It's one of the reasons why mint is so tricky and pervasive--chop it down, pull it up, you're almost bound to leave a little bit behind, and that little bit will then reroot and grow into a big bit.

But in the window boxes, I planted more of the mint and strawberries (in front of the windows). In front of the bricks, I planted random sunflower seeds. I also had some zinnia from years and years ago that I just found in my "junk" storage box (same type of bin I made my worm bin out of). These will get tall, so I didn't want them to block the window (y'know, if they grow). If they don't grow, there's plenty of mint to fill in the box!

It's sparse now, but soon, oh so soon, these planter boxes will be overflowing with beauteous vegetative growth!

And this isn't even my Guerrilla Gardening project... I got permission to do this gardening.

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4 Responses to Ever-Expanding Obsession

  1. What a deliciously shaped bed.
    Are Washingtonians well-behaved enough to leave free strawbs alone when they walk past them?
    Let's hope they are.

  2. Walk "past" them? LoL they can barely keep from walking IN them.

    I have my work cut out for me.

  3. What a great little plot to green up! Why anyone wouldn't have already been planting there I'll never understand. Cities need plants most of all.

  4. It's my goal to green as much as possible for me to take care of (and as much as the residents of DC will allow me!).

    But, actually, someone did plant there last year. One of the... Mmmm, what do you call them? Investors. She is a friend of one of the owners and invested in the shop when he opened it. They say she gardened last year, and some bulb-type plants are still there along with random patches of potting soil mix, but I didn't see this place until January, so I can't say for certain what was there, if much. I can say that clearly nothing but the bulbs were left, and my gardening is a little more, well, permanent, hopefully.



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