It is not far away! We have already experienced that occasional warm day. Now is the time to be planning your spring and summer gardening projects. Urban gardeners face unique challenges from those in the burbs. Gardening space is smaller and you need to get the most bang for the buck. One thing you should do now, in preparation for spring, is look at your gardening tools. Clean shovels, make sure the tires are good on that wheelbarrow. If you have a wrought iron fence or picket fence use those first warm days to scape and paint it. It is much easier before your plants go in and much cooler than the dog days of summer.
Now while we all might like that grand Victorian estate garden like this one at Biltmore, most of us have to deal with a small lot and planning is the key. Urban homes usually have small front yards. Think of your front yard as a "entry way". Long before your guests are at your front door they have really already entered your home. Your front garden should be bright and inviting. If space allows consider an arbor over your front walk. Flower boxes are great for those who have no front yard and you should look for low maintenance plants.
Many homes in an urban setting often are by busy streets, consider using water to create" white noise". Fountains are great and can take the shape of a grand fountain like this Victorian 4 tier or a smaller urn with a bubbler.
Done in phases, most people can achieve low maintenance attractive garden and while you neighbor is out mowing the grass and trimming, you can be relaxing in your garden. Most urban homes have two, sometimes three "outdoor rooms" The front, the back and sometimes a side garden. By treating these as separate projects it is easier to get a sense of satisfaction in a hurry. Gardening is a great "Urban Revitalization" tool. You will find when you fix up your yard the neighbors become a little jealous, gardening is infectious and don't be surprised when that neighbor whom you thought didn't care at all starts keeping their place a little cleaner.
Don't forget that your porch can be an enjoyable outside room, Today there area variety of Victorian era furniture, Wicker is a great option and the new resin based products are very durable to the elements. Consider using an outdoor "rug" on your porch space, especially if you have a concrete floor that you would like to hide. Porch swings are "very victorian" and you can even find them at your local "big box" home depot or Lowes. Hanging baskets add a colorful accent.
Whether its a small "vignette" or a grand garden space. A garden can be a relaxing way to slow down at the end of a busy day. Soon we will begin our series on the Gardens at Knox Hill. We have extensive plans for our double lot that includes ponds, a sunken garden, a side formal courtyard with fountain and an outdoor gazebo space with formal gardens. It should be an exciting summer at Knox Hill.