New Place, New Plants!
by Jarad Johnson
I recently moved into an apartment, and there is a distinct lack of landscaping here. There’s a few weeping holly’s and some poorly trimmed hedges - don’t even get me started on that! Who trims a hedge when it’s going to winter damage? Fools! - but that’s about it. Of course, I’m not lacking on indoor plants -it’s a jungle in here- but outdoor plants are what I prefer to deal with. I’ve got a balcony to work with and some railing at the front door, and I’ve already got some plans for that- lots of planters, vines and endless other plants are on my buying list this year. Rosemary, lavender, moonflower, black eyed susan vine and heliopsis are must haves. Lilies and clematis and a lemon tree also. I’ve already moved some very pretty (and very heavy!) stone planters up the steps near the front door, so that’s likely where I’ll start. I’ve also got a large pot earmarked for a rose and some spilling annuals.
I just can’t seem to help myself. Everywhere I am, there will be plants. It’s just who I am. And I am not the kind of person who is content with a few pots and a hanging basket- oh no. My wallet would be much happier if I were. I need to squish plants into every available space possible. And when I run out of room? I plant vines. That’s why I love them- they cover more space!
Am I slightly mad for plants? Well yes, probably more than slightly. And should I be worried about more important things? Also, probably. But then I would probably be a different person, and I’m sure no one would enjoy that.
There’s also potential in the area around my apartment for a few….gifts, as I call them. You may remember that I’m no stranger to illicit gardening- when I was living in the dorms in college, I planted some mint as a going away present, and my neighbor’s yard was too ugly for me to continue looking at, so I threw some cosmos and zinnias in their vicinity. So, you see, if I ever end up being arrested, it will be for beautifying spaces that don’t technically belong to me, but which need help nevertheless. Mrs. Greenthumbs said that, “there is no law against having a shovel in the back of your car.” Well, I say there’s no harm in keeping a few extra seeds in your pocket!
There is an area at my apartment that is just mulch, and it needs some color. Some wildflowers perhaps, or some zinnia seeds. Something I don’t have to water very often. Because I have sneaking suspicion that if I’m out there watering seeds all the time, the people at the leasing office will realize who’s redesigning their landscape. They don’t need to know that. I shall be deemed the anonymous gardener-if you’ve got space, I’ve got plants!
One interesting thing about an otherwise redundant landscape is the presence of mistletoe. It’s everywhere. On almost every tree there are multiple clusters. I feel two ways about this. On one hand, it’s nice to see it growing so vociferously, because I rarely see it outside of the deep woods. On the other, it’s a parasite and this place is ground zero for mistletoe infestation. The druids would love it though, so it doesn’t upset me too much.
My apartment will no doubt be an anomaly here. I’ve seen a few pots, but I don’t get the impression that there are any avid gardeners out here. But spring is on its way, and I will no doubt be up to my elbows is terracotta pots soon enough!
Jarad recently graduated from college at MTSU, loves tea and coffee, and tries to spend every spare second reading. He has been a fervent gardener for 6 years and is fascinated by all related topics and has spent the last several years writing about this passion. He believes that nature is our greatest teacher. He majored in English with a concentration in literature and plans to pursue and master’s degree in Ecocriticism.