Tom Attempts to De-Ugly The Apartment

One of the perks of living in a very small apartment building that is owned by a person and not a corporation is that I’m allowed to garden.  Not only do I get to garden, I get paid to garden and the owner gives me money to buy the plants.  Last week I was given $50 to buy some plants for the south side of the building.  Before I moved in it was just turf right up to the foundation and one large patch of (admittedly happy) shasta daisies.  Shortly after moving in and being given permission to do some gardening I went out and got some round up and sprayed out a nice little plot of garden space.  That was all I did with the south side until this spring when I planted some tomato plants (which by the way never gave me any fruit.  They’re still there…with lots of green fruit that is weeks away from ripening).

Here’s what it looked like today before I got the new plants in:

Pretty awesome looking right?  Yeah… I didn’t think so either.  The impatiens to the right looked really great up until about 3 days ago when we got into the 40’s at night.  They were NOT happy.  That bed of impatiens was also new this year, our building manager and I are probably going to expand it next year because it looked so much better than just the yews in front.


And now a shot of the plants all laid out:

Already looking better!

And now here we are all planted up:

Much better!  Next summer we’re probably going to extend it even farther out from the apartment but since I don’t think that is going to happen before next fall I badgered the landlord to just let me plant it now (plants are so cheap this time of year after all!).  So what all did I plant?  Here’s a list!

Phlox ‘Laura’

Hibiscus ‘Plum Crazy’

Coreopsis ‘Big Bang Cosmic Eye’

Hemerocallis ‘Happy Returns’

Agastache ‘Black Adder’

Helenium ‘Mardi Gras’

Penstemon (I don’t remember what variety though)


So what else have I done to de-ugly the yard?  Well I took the north side of the building and moved around all the hostas.

The landlord built that trellis…it’s not exactly my style…I hate that it isn’t parallel to the building and it was built out of tacky looking materials but oh well not much I can do about it.  When I moved in this garden consisted of the yews, the pachysandra, and a row of hostas along the driveway (where the bare dirt is).  The hostas were suffering horribly because so much heat reflected off the driveway and the soil was horribly compacted from years of snow piles weighing down on it.  My landlord didn’t believe me that the hostas were reacting negatively to being in full sun with blacktop reflecting on them but sure enough, now that I’ve moved them in amongst the pachysandra they’ve darkened up and generally look a lot better.  Hopefully next spring it looks a lot better because right now the hostas are kind of lost amongst the groundcover.  I also planted a few daisy plants and columbine in there so that there is some flowery goodness too.

And last but not least…the west side walkway:

Not the most terribly exciting planting ever but it’s better than before.  Before there was nothing.  Just brown rock.  It was so awkward and unwelcoming.  Now we’ve got Autumn Joy sedum, Fuldaglut Sedum (red trailing similar to dragons blood), and Sedum kamtschaticum ‘variegatum’.  The two groundcover ones provide some color in the summer and the upright one gives us a nice burst of fall color.  My landlord insists on watering these ALL THE TIME so they’re starting to rot.  I’ve explained it to him no less than 3 times now but he won’t listen.  He keeps blaming it on the dryer vent or rain or some other thing that is clearly not the problem.  Oh well..his money not mine!

Anyways I think that’s it for yard improvements for this year…I can’t wait to see it next spring when everything is growing again!


2 thoughts on “Tom Attempts to De-Ugly The Apartment

  1. Looking good!
    As far as the green tomatoes, leave them on as long as you can, then pick them. You still may get some ripening.
    Wrap and put them in a box in a dry, cool dark place. We center a bath towel in the bottom a cardboard box and then fold ends over them. Gramma used to wrap them in newspaper, but we like covering them this way because we then easily look at how each of them is doing without unwrapping them.
    It wasn’t the best years for tomatoes up here in Minnesota, either. This year we didn’t bother, but in year’s past we’ve been able to box a couple of dozen semi-ripe to yellow-green tomatoes, enabling us to eat homegrown tomatoes into November.
    There’s also fun recipes for green tomatoes, fried, pickled, etc.
    Keep up the posts, I enjoy reading them.

    P.S. Looks like you’ve got yourself a purdy sweet deal down dare in Chickago.

    • Thanks! It makes me happy that someone out there actually reads my blog. My mom up in Minneapolis didn’t really have any tomato luck either. I’m kind of debating if it’s even worth it to leave them on any longer…I kind of just want the space to plant up now! Then again I’m kind of getting sick of gardening and I’m not sure my landlord will give me anymore money so maybe I should… yeah I guess I’ll just leave them. I would like at least ONE tomato!

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