Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Sunday Salon- City Gardens: Creative Ideas for Small Spaces

The Sunday
You know you're domesticated when you buy your first gardening book. Or three, in my case. This spring my husband and I have decided to get serious about our yard- our little, weirdly shaped, poor-soil-having, no-grass-growing excuse for a yard. In the city where we live, we're lucky to have a yard at all, and I don't mind that it's small. What I mind is that it's ugly.

We got three books- two practical how-to books, and one lovely book of design ideas- City Gardens, by Pierre Nessmann. I knew this book was for me when I read the section on lawns for small gardens:
"Creating a lawn in a garden that has less than a thousand square feet or so of space is not a good idea. The lack of enough sunlight, the often poor soil quality, and the competition for nutrients, space, and water from the roots of neighboring plants make this a difficult endeavor. Even when the grass does take, it will not last more than a few years; weeds and mosses will invade some areas, and foot traffic and poor conditions will create bare patches in others."
It's like he's seen our house.

Other sections are equally insightful and he takes the city dweller through the planning and design process step by step. I love this little book! I love that he understands our circumstances and challenges, and he presents the information in a way that does not intimidate me. Nothing's worse than when someone is giving me advice on gardening and has all these fancy, outlandish ideas and I'm like, "that's great, but how about we start simple? You know, like, say, a window box?" So today I'm having fun paging through and thinking and getting ideas. And since it's chilly and gray out, it's the perfect day to dream about summer and a beautiful, achievable yard.