How to Talk the Landlord into Flower Gardens.
If the building where you rent has some ground space where a flowerbed would look nice, contact your landlord and point out how his property will look even better with flowers. Choose a small area and offer to pay for the plants yourself. The best location is a sunny spot that is difficult to mow. Offer to plant flowers there and maintain the flowerbed throughout the summer. If it is a success, your landlord may offer you other areas to plant.
How to Buy Plants that Cost Less.
Making the offer to your landlord to pay for the plants sounds good, but really, why should you pay for them? The trick is knowing where to get economical plants. Garden centers give huge discounts around the end of May then again in July. You can get flats of pansies, impatiens, petunias and other flowers for as low as 8 for one dollar. At the end of October, watch for garden center discounts again as they unload their fall flowers. This time purchase such perennials as mums, asters, rubeckias. These will grow for two months and survive the winter to return next summer. Fall is also a good time to get small shrubs such as holly and rhododendrons. These are nice shrubs for small areas near buildings.
Tactical Gardening – How to Keep Your Plants From Being Tramped or Taken.
Study the location where you intend to plant your garden. If the neighborhood takes that corner as a short cut and you can see a definite path running across the area, you will need to think in terms of tall plants such as grasses or better yet, shrubs such as azaleas. Also try evergreens such as arborvitae or butterfly bushes. Use some tall flowers like Canna or giant marigolds to deter the neighborhood from walking through your garden. Even tulips or daffodils stand up and are noticed by walkers. To prevent your flowers from being picked there are only two strategies. Either plant so many that if one tulip or daffodil, or Brown-eyed Susan is picked it will not be noticed. Or try planting flowers that do not hold well in the hand such as small flowers like Lillie of the Valley, Grape Hyacinth, Primrose or Coreopsis.
Quick and Easy Planting.
Suddenly one spring morning your apartment building is surrounded by bright yellow daffodils, red tulips and purple hyacinths and crocus. How did this happen? Last fall, when no one was looking—even the landlord, you took your bulb planter and a bag of bulbs outside and you secretly and stealthily planted bulbs in every open lawn space or abandon corner you could find. Bulbs are easy to plant in autumn and everyone appreciates the blossoms that come in spring. This is a sneaky gardener’s way to spruce up the neighborhood. When buying bulbs look for discounts in plant catalogues or buy boxes at the garden center. Buying bulbs on sale may be risky. Sometimes they acquire molds or dry out and are dead. Bulbs should be firm, look “fresh” without grey spots. Plant them in the holes you make with your trowel by placing them with the narrow part of the bulb pointing up.
Where else on Earth to Plant?
City parks can always use some extra flowers. Sneaky gardeners can plant daffodils along fences and walls in the fall. In spring, scatter a variety of sunflower seeds in abandon lots to fill the void with flowers and attract birds. Better yet, volunteer with your local parks department to help plant formal flowerbeds. If they do not have a program for urban gardeners, start one and work with the park department. Get local plant vendors to offer free plants for the advertising. Check in with your state’s agriculture department and ask for any gardening programs they may be organizing.
Renting an apartment is no reason to suffer from a lack of gardening. Try these suggestions and see what you can do.
Copyright 2006 by Patricia Hilliard