I just got an apartment in the heart of new york city with a yard that
is about 20ft x 20ft in size. The backyard has been completely
neglected and is overrun by weeds. I am wondering if anyone has any
tips for plants I can start planting there beginning September 1st (my
move in date) after I mow that jungle down.
I'd like to get some types that will survive a few months before the
frost hits, and if they automatically re-bloom in the spring that would
be terrific (I don't know what the garderning term is for that,
perennials?). Thanks for any ideas,
I'd look at the metropolitan museum of art. Check out the Japanese
garden area I believe they have. Not been there but I'd guess a small
garden can have large potential.
All bonsai with water and a few stones with a sculpture and borrowed
scenery or and perhaps less.
Bill Have much fun!
S Jersey USA Zone 5 Shade
This article is posted under fair use rules in accordance with
You have a unique opportunity to give sanctuary to misplaced birds and
other critters. How lucky that you have a garden in the city. I
suggest you read "Noah's Garden" by Sara Stein to get some good ideas.
Native plants are always best, so do a search on plants native to
"Front Yard Gardens: Growing More Than Grass" by Liz Primeau is a good book.
It has gardens for different climates and sizes. I borrowed a copy form the
library and am planning on buying it.
You can plant Tulips, Daffodils, Crocus and Winter Aconite in the fall to
bloom in the spring. Maybe someone else has a suggestion as to what other
types of perennials you can plant this fall.
Good Luck and Have fun,
Pruning and such
If you do not desire imposing extra injury to your tree - I highly suggest
reading this book.
And do not use wound dressing.
Once you have read it you will be able to answer your own question.
You also would be wise to offer the tree other treatments that address their
This book would help someone understand many treatments.
John A. Keslick, Jr.
Beware of so-called TREE EXPERTS who do not understand TREE BIOLOGY!
Storms, fires, floods, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions keep reminding us
that we are not the boss.
Some people will buy products they do not understand and not buy books that
will give them understanding.
KICK RICK SANTORUM OUT IN 2006!
Why? See his score card here
What do you want your garden to look like? How do you want it to function?
Is your aesthetic a zen-type garden, very minimalist, or do you want
English cottage style, semi-wild and very mixed up. Or very formal, with
topiaries and paths? Or knot gardens? Or... or... or... Do you want to do
some food production in your garden? Or is it purely decorative? Can you
build something (raised beds, paving, vertical wall, fountain), or must it
stay much as it is now, but weeded? How much do you want to spend?
How much do you want to work in it? Do you have an easy way to get water
to the garden space, or are you going to be carrying it in pitchers and
buckets? Do you want to attract butterflies? Birds? Do you want a garden
that is at its best in the evening?
You've got some excellent gardening sources in the City of NY -- Brooklyn
Botanic Garden, NY Botanical Garden for a couple of places to look for
ideas and figure out what styles appeal to you.
My first thoughts, given that you're asking for color now, and that you'll
probably want to sit out and enjoy the garden, would be to pave a very
small section of it for a small table and a couple of chairs -- something
like flagstones, perhaps with something like creeping thyme growing in the
spaces between the flagstones.
I'd build raised beds around the periphery, and fill them with a mixture of
columnar evergreens, vines like clematis, shrubs and small trees with
colored leaves and interesting bark texture and roses. I'd also add spring
and summer blooming hardy bulbs, and add annuals next spring for more color.
Then I'd build a slightly lower raised bed in front of that one, preferably
with a curved "front" to it, and use that for a mixture of edible plants
like tomatoes with fruits of various sizes and colors, peppers (ditto),
decorative but edible lettuces, herbs like basil, thyme, sage, oregano,
rosemary, parsley, and some perennials like rhubarb and asparagus -- again,
I'd mix in annuals for more color. Finally, I'd add an interesting small
specimen tree, some miniature or groundcover roses, a few pots of annuals,
and maybe a small fountain with a recirculating pump.
All that will take money and time... less time to keep up if you mulch
intensively and install drip irrigation. BUT -- is that something you can
do? Something you want to do?
You're a new gardener, and you don't yet know if you're going to enjoy
gardening as a hobby. What I just outlined is fairly intensive gardening
in a small space, and is going to take a lot of upkeep and some good selection
of plant materials -- you're not going to want to plant something that'll take
up the entire space all by itself in a couple of years -- you'll want to go
for something that remains fairly small and compact for most of your plants.
So what I'm going to suggest is that you consider something like "flowering
cabbage" or "flowering kale" for fall planting, perhaps some pansies (I
don't know how they'd do out there in a NY winter), and some spring bulbs
in pots. That'll get you some color now and early next spring. In the
meantime, you can start visiting some display gardens and writing down
stuff you like and stuff you really hate, making some sketches, and getting
the soil ready for planting -- my guess is it's going to be pretty compacted
and acidic, and probably fairly nutrient-poor -- a soil test would be a
good idea, as would starting a small worm bin to help you compost your
kitchen garbage as soil amendment.
Then head for the library or bookstore. My favorite book for brand new
gardeners is Rodale's Chemical Free Yard and Garden, by Anna Carr...
especially the first few chapters on soil, water, plant selection,
diseases. Read that first... it's kind of dull looking, but it has some
really important information on working with your soil and conditions to
make it much, much more successful. And head over to one of the garden
catalog lists and sign up for some things that sound interesting/pretty/
useful. That'll get you some winter reading you can clip and circle and
plot and plan with easily. You'll want to order some spring bulbs now --
daffodils and crocus are pretty easily grown in pots, and some tulips
(drop me a note if you want an old faq I did on forcing bulbs for winter
Next, I'd probably send you to the library for several sets of books...
pick the ones that are interesting to you: the old Time-Life gardening
set, with titles like "Trees", "Perennials", "Annuals"; a series of picture
books by Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix ("Roses", "Shrubs", "Perennials",
etc.); and a series of small books from Brooklyn Botanic Garden --
look in the shopping section of http://www.bbg.org for new titles, the
older ones are also excellent and your library
may have them cataloged as part of the Plants and Gardens series.
There is also a paperback from Fine Gardening called something like
gardening in small spaces or plants in small spaces that may be of interest.
Anyhow, that'll get you started....
Let us know how you want to proceed, and we can probably help.
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