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Courtyard Garden help and ideas needed

Gardening Reference » Gardening in 2002
by Mia242 on October 07, 2002 10:37 AM
My 4-story apartement building has a courtyard in the middle. I would like to put some plants in the courtyard that

1) can act as a barrier to an ugly air conditioner unit

2) won't produce too many leaves that need to be picked up or will clog the drains

3) can be pot grown - there's no soil here

4) are easy to maintain and will stay green a lot of the year in Hoboken NJ (Zone 6b, 0 to -5F).

5) can grow in non-direct sun - the courtyard has moss on the decking and while there is a clear shot to the sky from above, the four walls of the apartment building prevent much direct sun light.

So far - the only idea I have had is to plant different varities of hardy bamboo. However, when I saw the price tag of the bamboo I decided that there must be other options.

Admitedly, although I love plants and am excited to start my own garden, I have quite the black thumb. Everytime I buy a plant my husband asks who my new victem is.

I was hoping that someone with greener thumbs than me could point me in the right direction.



by Plant Doctor on October 11, 2002 02:19 AM
All sorts of ideas came to mind until I read the one criteria, "It has to be container grown", and that flushed every one of them down the toilet. There are not too many plants that can be kept in a container over winter in your area. The frost will attack and kill the roots.
One possibility would be to try growing some ornamental grasses, such as "Pompas". It grows 6 to 10 feet tall and has a nice feathery seed head that is seen in a lot of dried arrangements.
It is pretty inexpensive, and may winter over, if you mulch over the pots. This grass puts out a lot of roots however. I would imagine you would probably get 2 seasons out of a pot before it would become root bound. It is not the best choice in the world, but given you set of conditions, it is about the only thing that would fit the bill that I can think of. Maybe some city gardeners out there can give you some better ideas.

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by Mia242 on October 14, 2002 08:44 AM
Thanks for the tip about the frost and the ornamental grasses. I will check out the grass you recommended.


by Flabama on November 11, 2002 03:58 AM
Hello Mia, I have bananna plants I could mail to you. My brother lives in a norther climate and says that a frined of his, digs up the plant every winter, cuts it back and just throws it in a trash bag and stores it in his garage. I can barley kill them here. I am going to probably have to dig them up to kill them. I plan on keeping one in a heavy pot (so it doesn't tople over from being top heavy) in my yard where nother else will grow. If you are interested....let me know, Flabama

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