Monday, April 11, 2011

Plants: Art for the outdoors

Steven and I grew up in rural Virginia, surrounded by luscious green landscapes for the warmer months of the year. When my parents looked for housing, anything they rented/bought had to have a minimum of 2 acres and the house I consider my "childhood" home had a partially wooded, (eventually) beautifully landscaped lot of about 2 acres, but it was surrounded by 40 acres owned by the neighbors that they have fortunately never had any interest in developing. In looking for our own house, yard size was definitely a factor but we knew we had to be realistic since we were buying in Baltimore City. For those of you that have never been to Baltimore, traditional row houses are not exactly known for their yards (they usually don't have a front yard and at night, in a bad neighborhood, the rows and rows of stone and concrete houses look like something out of post-communist Russia).

One of the reasons we were drawn to this house is because it actually has a front, gardenable lawn and an "OK" back yard/full concrete patio atrocity that I'm ripping up. But more on that later. In addition to the yard, there's a gigantic, well-maintained city park across the street. We're definitely not lacking green spaces.

For the front yard, I have visions of a cottage garden, full of flowering plants and shrubs with a tiny meandering path to my rain barrel (that I already have picked out). I want lots of purples, pinks, whites with splashes of bold colors. I want big flowering herbs to add a splash of fragrance. I want hydrangeas or azaleas right underneath the windows for that extra splash of color.

Here's my rough sketch:

But the reality is that that cute cottage garden costs lots of money and I'm not sure we'll have the funds this year for it to be fully realized. But that doesn't mean I'm giving up!

Find cheap plants? Challenge accepted.

We received a $75 dollar home depot gift card for cashing in our points on our credit card, and though we went there with the intent to purchase a circular saw, we came away with plants and planters for the front porch/patio of our current apartment and those plants will be transferred into the front garden after we move.

Check out our basket of awesome:

While I'm not particularly a fan of buying my plants from Home Depot or Lowes, they are guaranteed for a year and you can take them back and exchange them if they die. It's hard to beat that. And their prices aren't BAD, they just have a lot of selection and I generally go plant mad when I'm there.

Remember my obsession with art? Plants are like outdoor art for me. I blame my parents (although my grandma is pretty big into the Garden Club of America). Their house is sooooo well landscaped and my sister and I spent many a summer out there, getting in their way and enjoying the yard/woods. We even got married in their back yard and did all the landscaping (they went a little nuts and put in a patio) so it has some sentimental value to me. We made Steven do a lot of the heavy lifting, so I'm sure he's a little less sentimental. But then, he brought it on himself. If wasn't so brawny, we wouldn't have made him do all that work. Right?

Obligatory wedding photo:

I was so pumped to garden yesterday I totally want to rework all my plans for the house and garden first. I think that wood paneling might trump a pretty yard though. We also realized that the ceiling tiles in our living room might be made with asbestos (they were installed after asbestos was discontinued, but given our penchant for second-hand buying we realize that these could have been a discount/asbestos filled buy), so that project has definitely moved up to the first or second place in our to-do list. I bought us toxic spore rated respirators (only $20 a piece on Amazon!!) and am picking up our asbestos removal suits today and have been reading extensively on how to properly remove the ceiling tiles (I'll do a post about how to do it when we get to that point). We may have to move back our demo party to make sure our friends aren't exposed to potentially toxic spores, which kind of sucks, but safety first!

Oh and 17 more days till we close! Huzzah!

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