Sunday, April 24, 2011


Welcome to my new blog about plants, trees, and green things in and around Hyde Park, Chicago!

Clematis, just beginning to leaf out
I have a tiny garden with a chain link fence and problematic sun conditions. Yet I seem to spend a lot of time out there, messing about, trying new things. I am no expert at gardening. Despite several years of experience, I could horrify you with stories of vegetal abuse and neglect. You'll see some evidence of this, I'm sure. But I hope also to share my various successes--perhaps some of it due to your help!

I'll start with a comparison of my indoor and outdoor seedlings. I didn't start anything until April 1st this year. I only have afternoon sun in the garden, and indoors I lack any south-facing windows. But I did buy a grow light...

This is supposed to be cilantro, although the red shoots to the left and right look a lot like my Swiss Chard seedlings. As you can see, sown outdoors in a flower pot, it's not doing great. Yesterday, I put a plastic dome over it. I don't know anything about 'cold frame' gardening, but I guess I'll learn. First problem: where to get supplies, or how to make them...

You can see the cilantro in the back there...It really did well. But perhaps the fluorescent lamp was hung too high above it, so the seedling got very leggy and fell over. I'm going to go with it though!

In front, you can see the morning glory. Morning glory grows into a great privacy screen on chain-link fences. It is quite invasive. However, my garden is small enough that it gives me something to do every day, whether plucking off excess seedlings in the spring or nipping off excess seed pods in the fall.

My biggest problem: they do not grow up high enough until mid-July in my garden, probably because I have limited afternoon sun. So this year, with a head start indoors, I hope I'll get some coverage a bit earlier than that. By the way, those are chives there too. They're doing pretty well indoors.

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