If you’re anything like me, I’ve looked at peoples’ lovely yards full of flowers, fruits/veggies, and cultivated by season and always had envy but also did the … and I have other stuff to do and have never wanted to spend a ton of money on it either. So, last year as we moved to Germany and I had some time on my hands, I decided to give it a whirl (sometimes I think mostly because I like taking pictures of flowers 🙂 ). Our yard was pretty basic — here is the ‘before’ picture — at this point I had cleaned out the junk from both corners, added about 8 bags of soil to level everything out, and mowed the yard. I think for most of us moving into a new rental house, this is pretty much what we hope/ expect to see.
So, in the spring, I got some potted plants and seeds of various kinds — and seriously, I have no idea what most of them are… the names were in German and my two criteria: (1) were they pretty and (2) did they suit the lighting conditions in the yard? I only spent about 100 euro (around $130) on the whole thing — soil included. I spent a few hours one day putting it all together. Now, I was battling a bunch of vines that creep in from the neighbors yards, so I had to weed each time that I mowed, but all-in-all, it was a couple of hours every couple of weeks (and that includes picking up after the dogs).
There are various flowers in each of the corners — with some blooming in the spring and some in the summer up the right side (from the perspective of the yard shown above) I had sunflowers and zinnias. Across the back, I put in some super baby strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, and blueberry plants — 2 plants for each type of berry. I got a few strawberries and raspberries in 2013, but they mostly just grew. The slide show below shows the results at various points across the spring and summer in 2013.
All in all, I was pretty darned satisfied with my first proper gardening/ yard attempt. It was inexpensive, made the yard look a lot nicer, and in years to come will provide some really nice berries for us or anyone who lives here and takes care of it. So, for 2014 I decided to add a stronger spring component to the yard and on a trip to Amsterdam picked up about 35 euro worth of bulbs (I mean seriously, I’m in Europe if I’m going to to bulb plants, I may as well get them direct from the Netherlands 🙂 ). I think I ended up with about 60 tulip bulbs (2 varieties… a small and a large), along with some dark purple calla lilies (that didn’t come up…grrrr), and Kaiser’s Crown (you’ll see it below). Now technically, you’re suppose to plant them in the fall so they can winter. I didn’t really get around to it in the fall, so put them in my garage and everything but the lilies are coming up with no problem.
I got everything in the ground a little later than I had wanted (mid-March), so my tulips are behind but as of April 11, 2014 here’s what the yard is looking like. Notice how much the berry bushes have grown and it looks like I’m going to have a bunch of blueberries off of two little plants.
The bottom line — for not a lot of money and not a lot of time (yes, you do have some work to do), you can play in the dirt and have a nice little yard … and you don’t have to know much about growing stuff :).