Here's how the Cultivate Your Cut-Out contest goes: Choose a tree pit (aka: sidewalk cut-out) and go rip-roarin' crazy with the planting, yo. Once you're done, either send me some pictures or tell me to get my butt over to the spot and check it out in person. The gardener with the most impressive cut-out WINS! (Before and After pics work GREAT for this. Hint hint.)
"And what does that gardener win?" you ask. The answer? I have no stinkin' idea! I'm thinking $50 and a fancy ribbon that says, "You kicked that cut-out's ass." For those of you who don't use such foul language, I can make the ribbon say "heinie." (Or "gluteus maximus" if you want to get technical. And anatomical.)
That's really all there is to it, but in the spirit of being a responsible person, I'll offer some suggestions.
- Choose a spot convenient to your home or work, or some place you pass frequently so that you can keep an eye on your handywork.
- Choose plants that require little to no maintenance (ie: drought resistant), unless you're prepared to lovingly tend that little bit of Earth.
- If there is an established tree in the cut-out, remember ROOTS! Plants with extensive root systems likely won't make it if you plant them there.
- AZALEAS ARE THE DEVIL. I know that you'll want to plant them because they're oh-so-pretty and super cheap, but take it from someone that has experienced the horror that is the INSTANTANEOUS BRITTLE YELLOW DEATH of an azalea... Just don't do it. Refrain, y'all. Refrain.
- People will get out of their cars and walk in your cut-out, and others will let their doggies make on your plants. Remember this so that you don't cry, and also so that you'll plant accordingly (ie: put shorter, hardier plants closest to the curb).
- If you desire those pretty iron fences that the District puts around some of the cut-outs, DON'T GET YOUR HOPES UP. For reals. I solicited the city for some of those and it was a fruitless endeavor. FRUITLESS! So if you need a fence around your cut-out, get creative and make one yourself. I suggest bricks, as these seem to be everywhere. You'll probably find a bunch IN the cut-out if you start digging around. (NOTE: Fences are not required for the contest.)
- Pay attention to how much sunlight the spot gets. If you put shady plants in a sunny spot, you get some wicked dead plants. (Believe me, I know.)
- I don't recommend planting fruits or vegetables in your cut-out, unless you test the soil first. There can be some super nasty things lurking in our city's dirt and you don't want to ingest that crap. If you don't plan on eating those edibles (instead letting the butterflies and bees and, uh... rats do it), then plant on. But if you do plan on eating the stuff in your cut-out, test the soil and for the love of God, PLEASE wash your fruits and veggies before you eat them. Dogs have likely peed on your squash. I kid you not.
Deadline for planting and photo submission is July 4th. Independence Day! Judging will occur that week, with a winner announced on Monday, July 12th.Go at it, my friends! You know you're itching for that ribbon. YOU KNOW YOU ARE! Best of luck to you all, my beloved subversives. Best of luck.
P.S. If you plan on participating, drop me a note to let me know, por favor. It would be a cryin' shame if I continue to blog about this contest and there's no one out there participating. I'd be all embarrassed and my fragile fragile ego would go up in BRITTLE YELLOW DEATH... like my azaleas.