Urban Gardener Returns–Without the Inferiority Complex

It’s spring—and the squirrels are getting hungry. I know this because little rascals are digging holes in the soil of my flower pots and window boxes, in an apparent search for buried nuts. So far, the main victim has been garlic I planted last fall. But this is a small complaint—trivial, in fact, by comparison with the frustrations of many of my suburban gardening friends.

Rieger begonias

Rieger begonias on Anne’s stoop

I used to feel deprived that my urban garden consists only of containers and a small plot of dirt in the middle of a concrete sidewalk. I would gaze at gardening magazines with envy and dream of a flower bed resplendent with peonies, hollyhocks, and lilacs, and a vegetable patch filled with bumper crops of heirloom tomatoes. Now I realize that my humble urban garden is just as rewarding to me as a proper flower bed–and much easier to maintain.

My suburban friends battle voracious deer that nibble their way through just about anything green. Here in Hoboken, no one has seen a live deer for decades. The city’s boundaries form an industrial strength deer fence that requires no effort on my part. To the east is the mighty Hudson River; to the west, the steep wall of rock known as the Palisades. And if that’s not enough of a barrier, to the north and south are the highways that lead into the Lincoln and Holland Tunnels, major arteries of traffic into New York City.

Lyme disease? Not a chance. Without the deer, there’s not a deer tick in sight.

Nor do I have to contend with rabbits, raccoons, and other small creatures that are the bane of so many suburban gardeners.

True, the range of perennials I can plant is limited. But on the other hand, I never have to worry about weeds in the lawn or landscaping that disappoints. If something doesn’t look right, I move the container to a new spot or buy a new plant.

Now that spring is here, sap is rising, and I’m filled with anticipation. The squirrels have given me notice—it’s time to start gardening.

Not a deer in sight

Not a deer in sight

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One Response to Urban Gardener Returns–Without the Inferiority Complex

  1. karen fielding says:

    Has your garden attracted birds and preying mantis and crickets or toads? We have a black bird — same one for years — a male, I named Regis — he sings from the branches of our mulberry tree. I love him so much; he’s a beautiful boy. We have a little English robin, very curious and sparrows, the odd starling, and a few months ago — a gigantic wild parrot! one time I saw a river rat — about the size of a woodchuck and always little grey mice that eat out of the rabbit’s bowl — I love my wild creatures — even the foxes although I have to be vigilant with the rabbits and the magpies I throw stones at because they swoop in and feast on my baby birds in their nests. I can hear the alarmed chatter of many birds and I come out and break it up until the intruder flaps away.

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