Project #181 – Front Stoop Garden

The people in the house next door moved out and the landlord is fixing the place up to move someone new in. Fortunately, they cleaned up the yard, stripping out the jungle of weeds. Unfortunately, they also accidentally cleaned up our front flower bed, scouring down to tulip bulbs in the soil. All of my perennials were stripped out, ones that were juuuust on the verge of blooming nice flowers that I like to use in arrangements. The poison ivy in the corner, however, was untouched. Haaaa.

Clearly, my front garden was not part of the yard next door, but whatever, mistakes were made. The landlord has the personality of a very angry cactus, so I was surprised that he sent someone out to put some new flowers in the bed, even if they were annuals and not the perennials I had lost. Still, I know when to leave well alone and decided to turn that part of the yard into another food generating zone.

I am very loyal to our local garden center, Sestili nursery. It’s located in one of the most densely populated parts of Pittsburgh, but it somehow remains a big secret. It’s built up against a cliff in Oakland overlooking Schenley Park and just across the Swinburne bridge from my neighborhood. They are very generous with the late season discounts and I’ve been taking great joy in ‘adopting’ vegetable and herb plants that otherwise wouldn’t find a home past the end of June. I’ve been getting perennials for half price and herbs for $1 each. I’ve never had anything die on me and the proprietors are kind enough to indulge my requests for weird varieties of mint and basil.

My front stoop is now home to a bush variety cucumber, three tomato plants of various lineages, a black-eyed-susan perennial, a bee balm perennial, three deep purple pepper plants, and the small crop of replacement annuals. It’s a nearly vertical plot, so it’s a relief to have something taking up space.

The new front garden looks a little bare, but I’ll have it filled in and blooming in a few weeks. It will be a good excuse to spend some time in the front yard for once.


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