Monday, May 25, 2009

Stealth Gardening and crafty practitioners thereof

I visited a place I used to live yesterday and noticed that the little corner of the development that I had rescued from disarray and neglect is now flourishing. Big treat, since I had forgotten it was even there. When I bought the condo, this was the point at which the landscapers got tired and stopped every time. So it was a little jungle of cotoneaster, unpruned and home to many paper bags and other blown papers and garbage, various weeds and was in urgent need of something.

Over the years I lived there, I brought in daffodils from a friend's garden, daylilies from the place I now lived, sedum from the same friend, pachysandra from my other garden, all easy and trustworthy perennials which choke out weeds and look good almost all the time. Crocuses, too, in a nice curve -- I saw them again this year, after they recovered from the landscaper's cutting off all the foliage and putting the crocuses out of business for several years.

There's a stand of iris there now, which has a nice history: many years ago, we bought a house with a lot of iris around the foundations, overgrown, you practically needed a chainsaw to separate them, and I gave a lot of them to the daffodil friend, a neighbor and keen gardener, who loved the old yellow iris. Then we moved away, in the fullness of time, and I lived in an apartment, no garden, left the plantings for the next owner.

Later when I had a gardening spot at the condo, friend returned some of the iris to me, and they, being tough as old yellow boots, have come up faithfully ever since. I think they must be at least 75 years old, judgimg from the gardening history of the original owner of the old house we bought.

Since my old computer is now refusing to upload pictures of what I just described -- I need to get the picture software installed in this computer, and will do so as soon as I can get it in to the shop, no CD drive on this one -- it made me wonder about other stealth gardens, which means unauthorized gardening wherever it seemed like a good idea.

And realized I've done quite a bit of this one way and another, what with giving other people's gardens some of my own stuff, inviting apartment dwellers to come grow veggies in my big back yard, and then our family daffodil planting in the little belt of woods behind our current house, as a 9.11 memorial. If I can get my
external drive to respond, I'll show you pictures of these.

I met a nice Polish woman recently busily digging up a little plot near the condo, and with no common language other than mime and arm waving, understood that she too was a stealth gardener and I indicated I wouldn't split on her!

Most of the work I've done in our current home is stealth, such as the daylilies now coming up all around the dumpster area, so that you will see flowers not a garbage area when you drive in! and most of the planting out front is a crafty way of replacing the ugly old yews and privet the developers originally, and cheaply, put in. And I've given pachysandra and daylilies and spearmint to people wanting to beautify downtown Trenton, which certainly could use it. I'd say that's stealth gardening by remote control!

And if you read this and suddenly have an urge to plant stuff where you want to, and just have the satisfaction of leaving the area a bit nicer than when you found it, then I will have craftily succeeded once more, in gardening by remote control. It's a whole lot easier on the gardener's back than the direct method!


  1. Lizzie and I stealthily planted daffs down by the creek last fall. I've moaned on about how they hadn't come up. Then they did, about 1/3 of them. You can see them from our 8th floor window, just! The lawn cretins looking after this place are replacing most of the beds with sod. Not a flower has been planted so far this year. The soil blows all over in the wind. I'd rather see grass than empty flowerbeds.
    Nice pictures, too, up there.

  2. I so love that you do this ... your own world beautification projects.

    I recently found two beautifully potted orchids and 4 pots of miniture roses on a clearance table for .02 each ... $64 worth of plants for 12 cents!!! They looked scraggly, but with loving attention they're beginning to thicken and are forming buds and shoots ... feels wonderful.


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