This new apartment. Let me tell you. Our mattress is still on the floor; we still don’t have Internet; we still have lots to fix, buy, adjust, move, dust, mop…
But man. We’ve rediscovered that time of day before 9 a.m. We’re getting lots of outdoor time. We invested in lots of small home improvement tools (including a machete for the garden #ImpulsePurchase #ThisJustGotSerious) for <$200. We have light flooding our apartment from early to late. It’s like the Awesome Karma of the Universe suddenly just turned its favor on us. Even my poison ivy hasn’t gotten that bad! And I’ve spent a lot of time in it lately, all tangled in the weeds of our patio & neither me nor Joe remembering what the damn thing looks like until it’s too late.
Oh, wait. Is that it? No. Wait. Yes. Yeah, that’s it.
One of the main things that really drew us to this new place was the ability to cultivate an outdoor space. Over the last few years, the tenants haven’t kept up the patio area. The landlord was happy to have someone enthusiastic about the space–even got us a hose set-up within our first three days of living there. We have big plans, & we couldn’t wait to get to work. Here’s what’s been done so far.
Pre-first, that photo up top. Any idea what that plant is? I couldn’t tell you, but it was growing in an ant-infested, huge planter with lots of other worthless looking stuff. I salvaged it & put it in this cute little pot. The guy seems to be doing alright, but I’d love to figure out what he is!
Now, first, the before.That’s it. The backyard. Riddled with weeds, cigarette wrappers, trash can lids, baby trees & climbing plants of all varieties.Joe got to work tearing out weeds from the patio. We’re filling it with sand (one of my favorite chores growing up, because I’m an odd, odd kid) to prevent future growth.
While Joe pulled weeds (and assembled our new compost bin–thanks, Dad!), I took on this jungle. The overgrowth was hiding tons of pots that we’ll fill with soil & edible plants. This is a shot from before any work was started in the back.I cleared out one quarter–a gravel patch great for succulents or housing all of the larger pots. From the start, the trash was stacking up–but this was a great place to store all of our containers. Phew. One quarter down……and this mosquito haven is what I tore out of it! Can you believe that?Next up was the opposite side. Bindweed (1) is a total jerk and (2) was completely smothering this large pot of sedum + this clematis. My mom has an insanely large, gorgeous clematis, so finding this made me feel even more at home on our patio. As for that sedum–well, I’ve been obsessed with succulents for the past decade and just discovered sedums when we planted some dragon’s blood sedum (a good ground cover with shallow roots) at the Orchard. That random sign was one of the many things we uncovered in the garden. Instant decorations!But this is important! What do you do after you tear out aggressive weeds like bindweed, honeysuckle, or invasives? Lay them out in a thin layer where they’ll get a lot of sun without being able to take root. Our bindweed had already gone to seed, so this was extra imparative to prevent it from spreading. We’ll let it all dry out–then probably still burn it to keep it from the compost pile.
Now, this last bit isn’t really something we accomplished–but it was another Wonderful New Apartment Magic Moment. While tearing out weeds on Friday, we were eaten alive by mosquitoes. I mean, we must have West Nile at this point. (I know I shouldn’t joke–but I’m not really. I started getting super paranoid.) We need a bat house, Joe said in passing.
Then……this guy turned up, tucked in & cozy under the mudroom’s overhang. Bats are having a hard time in Indiana–between highways built through their habitat & this God awful white nose syndrome attacking them. We were happy to have one safe–and happy that he’d go to work on our mosquito issue.
He was in the back on Saturday, then sleeping comfortably above the side door on Sunday. We haven’t seen him since, but we’re even more eager to put up bat houses now that we know they’re close by.
Between the bat, the butterflies in the sedum, the bees in the weeds, the plants we’re putting out (lavender, mums, strawberry, sage & rosemary so far) it’s a veritable wildlife sanctuary. Oh, and–shudder–the rat that flew from beneath Joe’s truck the other morning. I’m so glad we’re sprucing up & creating zero spaces for those nasty guys to hide.