the dirt(y) truth

i first became obsessed with gardening and the latin names of plants when we lived in seattle. we lived at the back of the building on the first floor and could crawl out our window whenever we pleased. 

when we moved in, there was green astro turf on the ground and a raised bed of  noxious weeds along with a weed tree that although from a volunteer tree, had sited itself perfectly, so i left it to grow and planted around it.

what raised the bed above ground were broken bits of cement.  if it were't for a lack of funds, i would've replaced them with a proper stone wall. instead i planted moss and vines. elsewhere, i planted daffodils, a katsura tree (a wedding present from co-workers), hydrangeas, and trillium. 

if anyone is actually reading this, and happens to also live in seattle, and feels like getting out for a drive, the address is the chelsea on queen anne @ 620 w. olympic place. i'd love to know if the katsura is still there.

here's another garden we planted in san francisco. we covered the wood fence with rolls of reed fencing, and planted it with vines like creeping fig and cobea.

fast forward to present day and a garden that is the biggest we've ever had, and one that we oftentimes don't know what to do with. this is partly due to spending years living in cramped 500 sf apartments and growing sunflowers in 5" terracotta pots.

here i'll share our horticultural triumphs, future plans, and blunders…like planting four lombardy poplars in a row within inches of the city sidewalk. i cringe every time i see someone walking by and being attacked by their already wide-spreading branches. naturally, it wasn't until after we planted them and saw how quickly they grew that i decided to learn a little more about this proliferous plant. a google search turned up an link titled – "reconsider planting lombardy poplar in your yard". there are four more in the backyard.

blunder  no. 1 or make that 8.

this is last year's stand of amaranthus or love-lies-bleeding. so many people ask about this one. i keep a bag of seeds to give to those who do. it's a  beautiful rogue that will return year after year, just like the morning glories on the side of the house.
{image 1 above: smithsonian institution on flickr}

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