We did. Something about sunny 70 degree weather makes us want to add a little color to our casa. And since we’ve had a $100 gift card to a local garden center sitting around for almost a year, we decided a beautiful Wednesday night was the time to execute our plan for our front planter. Considering we were using our front door for the past couple of weeks and walking by our sad, mostly dead planter every day, we knew it was time to say goodbye and welcome in spring with an array of spikes, impatiens, coleus, and vinca vines. Ok, we didn’t know that specifically, but we figured it out along the way with a bit of help. And our first planting project of 2011 is a success.
Dain has already mowed once, and he’s been hitting the weeds pretty hard with his killer spray. But this was our first outing to a garden center this year. Even though it is just a mile from our house in Minneapolis’ Linden Hills neighborhood, we had never been to Sunnyside Gardens. We figured there’s no time like the present. Sunnyside Gardens has a wonderful selection of annuals, herbs and vegetables, and perennials as well as gorgeous pre-planted pots for those that prefer to just buy their yard beauty instead of investing the sweat equity, which I would totally be on board with if they weren’t $125. Sigh. So DIY it is for us. Oh yeah, and because Dain loves to do it.
Our front planter is very shaded during the summer, which we found out the hard way last year when all of our geraniums died a slow, dark death. So this year, we asked an expert for tips, and we rolled with them. On the pro’s suggestion, we picked out 5 spikes to go up against the house along with 5 impatiens to fill in the middle and 4 vinca vines to cascade over the front of the planter as well as a few shade friendly coleus to fill in.
Dain started by pulling out all of the dead plants. Luckily, the planter still had soil in it from last year so we only had to add a small amount of new potting soil along with the last of our miracle-gro and some milorganite to fertilize the soil.
Dain takes his gardening very seriously. Last spring when he was creating a flower bed in the front yard, one of our neighbors who we had yet to meet came up to him and asked “So are you the landscaper or the homeowner?” And he was being 100% serious. It might have been a comment on the fact that we do our own lawn care (since a lot of people in our hood hire out). Or maybe he was just so impressed with Dain’s skillz that he thought he might be professional. We’ll go with the later. Dain is so meticulous that he begins with positioning the plants to make sure the spacing is perfect. I am much more apt to just “eyeball” things, which might explain why I am no longer allowed to hang pictures in our house.
But as much as I gripe about someone’s perfectionism, it pays off in the end.
The front planter is looking good. Now we just have to wait and see if the impatiens survive better than the geraniums did. And even though the prices at Sunnyside are significantly higher than places like the Home Depot, we knew we wouldn’t use all of our moolah with just those plants. So to hit our quota, we decided to also make a planter of herbs and veggies. We picked out dill, basil, sweet pepper, and garlic chives.
The basil smells amazing, and we are excited to use all of them in a few recipes over the summer. We had purchased one bag of potting soil at Target on our way home, and we used it to plant our edibles in a large pot. The pot was leftover from last year, and it’s nice because it has a hole in the bottom allowing for plenty of drainage. We also used our rain barrel for the first time this year to water our little herb/veggie creation. The dill looks a little catawampus right now, but we think it’ll perk up in its new home.
Since we wanted to make sure we hit the $100 mark (because we are nerds like that), we also added a random marigold plant to start another pot of flowers. And we were pretty much like giddy school children when she announced our total…..$99.99. So incredibly perfect, especially considering we were just adding in our heads as we went along and were assuming we’d go over by a little bit. We are totally those people. The cashier gave us the gift card back along with a penny (we’re not sure why, but she said “I guess they’re going to keep your penny”). We don’t question things like that. We just skipped on our merry way delighting in our own awesomeness (or dorkiness as it may be).
Pretty sweet use of a gift card. And luckily, we still have a few other gift cards to garden centers to use this summer. We are planning to use our gift card that we won to Pahl’s market to get some hanging baskets for our deck. Other than that, we are in the market for more perennials and possibly some more trees and bushes. We are also busy trying to come up with an affordable privacy solution for our back yard but more on that later. What about you? Any gardening plans?
(We hope to have a yard tour posted in the next few weeks so you can see what we’re working with.)