My Townhouse Flower Garden

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After weeks of plotting, planning, and visiting every garden center in town, I finally finished my flower garden last week! It took about six weeks in my new place before I was even ready to think about the garden. By then, the spring planting season was over, and interesting plants were more difficult to find. But I managed.


When I moved in, the entire landscape area was covered in rocks. My mom helped me clear most of them to one side, under the balcony, where I park my bike and which doesn’t get enough sun anyway. We created a line of demarcation just past the bike, leaving me with a roughly 4×10 blank slate. A few weeks later, my dad and I installed pavers around the front and side perimeter, and plastic edging along the back and other side to protect the fence. We filled it in with bagged soil and mulch. Even without plants, I was thrilled by how much better it looked.

For my own records and for anyone else who enjoys flower talk, here’s what I have:

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One Rose of Sharon (althea). I lost the tag, but I think it’s the Lavender Chiffon variety. In trying to determine the color, I just found numerous gardening threads with horror stories about how invasive Rose of Sharon is. This is news to me. In any case, it’s beautiful and has abundant flowers, so I’ll keep a close eye on it for the time being instead of ripping it out. (I foolishly planted lemon balm at my old house, but managed to keep it in line over several years, so I think I can handle this.)

Three “Ruby Stella” daylilies. The flowers are burgundy with yellow centers. Unfortunately, they got really wilty and dropped their flowers right after I planted them, so they might not bloom again this year.

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Three lantana. Two “White Trailing” and one “Confetti.”

Two phlox. They haven’t bloomed yet, but the flowers should be lavender. I chose some with mature-looking foliage and one of them is already putting up a stalk.

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One “Black Knight” butterfly bush (buddleia). Last time I bought a butterfly bush, it dried up and died within a few weeks, so I’m very happy to see this one thriving!

One “Balmy Purple” bee balm. It’s blooming well.

One “Julia Child” yellow rose bush. Considering the small area I’m working with, a Knock Out rose seemed like a bad idea. I wanted a real, special rose bush that will keep to its own space. I was already leaning toward a yellow rose, and when I saw this one named for one of my role models, that was it. (It looked great when I brought it home, but some of the leaves already have black spot. UGH WHY.)

One lily of the valley. This is another plant I love and attempted at my old house with zero success. I put it in the shadiest area, against the front fence. Right now it’s just two puny-looking leaves sticking out of the ground. We’ll see what happens.

These are all perennials (with every trip, I told myself, “One-time expense”). I may add some spring bulbs in the fall, or fill in with some annuals next summer, but for now I’m happy with this. It was exciting but intimidating to start with a blank slate. I had to think about how the heights and colors of the plants would work together – I didn’t want it to look chaotic. Even so, the overall concept evolved one plant at a time. I ended up sticking to shades of purple, with some white and pink/red and the splash of yellow. The garden area only gets morning and early afternoon sun, so I took a risk planting mostly sun plants. But so far it seems to be enough sun for them.

I also specifically chose a lot of butterfly- and bee-friendly plants to help the declining bee population. I’m serious… if more people don’t start helping the bees, the impact on agriculture is going to be huge. Look it up. :)

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In my custom planter, brought from my old house, I have some begonias and a “Miss Bateman” clematis. This climbing flower was slow to settle in, but I swear one vine just grew an inch between Sunday and Monday. Time to upgrade the trellis.

In a pot by the door, which is a shaded area, I have a “daisy” gardenia (not pictured). It was cheap and I couldn’t pass it up, and it seems very happy there. On the other side, I have a baker’s rack with some potted herbs: basil, oregano, mint, and one jalapeno that’s having a bad time. Oh well. Can’t win them all.

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I couldn’t give up growing vegetables entirely, so I have two tomato plants in pots: the classic “patio” tomato, and a cherry tomato. They’re doing great!

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And that’s the urban garden report!

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister's iced tea. View all posts by Brenda W. →
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4 Responses to My Townhouse Flower Garden

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are awesome. You need to meet my new *husband James. He loves to garden and could talk to you for ages about it. :-)

  2. Liz W. says:

    It’s look like you’ve done your research – nicely done! I like that you’re considering what could help the ecosystem.

  3. I think that’s so awesome! I look forward to having a place to garden and grow things. One of these days…

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