I didn't know what to expect when I went up to the Bronx to look at this garden. I've been a Manhattan girl all of my adult life. The only thing I knew about the Bronx was the Yankees and the stuff of bad movies. To be honest, when I entered the gate and saw it, the first thought that came to my head was, what have I gotten myself into?
First, I cleaned up the garbage and discovered lots of junk the contractors decided to leave under mounds of morning glories. Morning glories are lovely blue, white or purple flowering vines, usually grown on fences and gates, that bloom, you guessed it, in the morning. They're also very invasive. One seed will multiply and multiply until one day you will wish you never heard of a morning glory. Unfortunately I speak from experience. This contractor decided to use morning glories to cover up the mess he left behind -- damaged siding, roofing tar, rusted nails, foam insulation and petrified mice. Ok, maybe he didn't leave the mice.
The new owner wanted lots of flowers and a place to grow vegetables which is possible because this space gets sun from early morning to early evening. Once weeded, I discovered three sections of garden space surrounded by concrete. Luckily the soil, after sitting under morning glories for who knows how long, was moist, black and full of worms. There were a couple of problems, the tar spill in one section of the soil were the vegetable garden will go and a sink hole or two. A small fortune was spent on adding countless bags of soil and mulch to level out the ground.
Then the fun part began. The owner and I decided on a scented garden full of perennials that love the sun. I also planted flowers that would mature and spread, (not like morning glories) but in a good way. Bee Balm, lavender, catmint, echinacea, daylilies and roses. We discovered a Lincoln Rose bush back there that was being strangled by weeds and overgrown. I pruned it, gave it a nice dose of manure and mulch and now it flowers long stemmed blood red roses that smell divine! I also added two more rose bushes and some daisies and zinnas for flower cutting. A big pot of dahlias and my new favorite, verbena bonariensis. There are plans for bamboo fencing to hide the police parking lot next door though it was fun being cheered on by the cops as I weeded and planted. The bamboo fencing will make the flowers pop and give the owner some much needed privacy.
A garden is never finished and this one will take a few years to mature. I've already planted some buckwheat in the section behind the lavender, (for the vegetable garden) and hostas under the tree, a whiskey barrel full of herbs and a large container of dahlias.
There is so much I haven't shown you. I forgot my camera the last two visits. Of course! But I'll be back to check up on them. And I'll definitely show you how it's coming along in the Spring.