The perennials I planted earlier are all doing very well, with the exception of the foamflower, which was the recipient of the last hard freeze we suffered. It will doubtless recover and do fine next year, but for now it looks a bit crestfallen. Everything else is fairly leaping from the ground in a blaze of colour and/or texture.
I lucked onto a sale of mini roses, which are very winter hardy here, and bought 16 of them! I put half in the garden downstairs and will pot up the remaining half in containers on my own balcony. When mine quit blooming in the fall I'll move them to the garden downstairs.
At the Annual General Meeting there were many happy comments about the beautiful flowers and general "smartening up" of the front garden, to the point where it was suggested we put in a similar garden on the southern entrance, which has only a grass-lined walkway. And while I was initially enthusiastic about this idea, I have now put it on the back burner, for this year anyway. I still have much work to do in the front, and I'd rather do the one well, than two badly. Over winter I can think about the south entrance and plan a low maintenance garden which won't look like a dog's breakfast if I can't keep the shrubs pruned.
The Annual General Meeting (AGM) has always been somewhat confrontational and an ordeal. It has always been difficult to get enough owners to come out to reach a quorum and they were cranky and quarrelsome. I suggested to the rest of the condo board that this year we provide chairs and food afterward. At earlier meetings people were expected to stand for a two hour meeting. No wonder they were cranky.
We sent colourful invitations requesting the pleasure of each owner's company. The invitation said would provide chairs and a light lunch afterward. And instead of 20 short of a quorum, and an hour of knocking on doors and begging people to come to the meeting, we had a dozen over quorum within five minutes of start time!
Along with the chairs, our president brought in two large folding tables. I organized tablecloths, colourful napkins and plates. A few hours before the meeting I did some needed pruning on a few trees, gathering enough blossoms to make an enormous four foot high bouquet for the table. I'd made a series of colorful (and funny) posters telling residents who to call when they needed help in different situations, when "quiet" times are in force, emphasizing that home should mean pride of ownership, peace and safety and respect for your neighbours.
Add a veggie and dip tray, a cracker and cookie tray, a fruit tray, four dozen fresh donuts, hot coffee, and four kinds of cold pop, and you have the makings of a party. What a change! Instead of the room emptying with the rapidity of a fire drill as soon as the meeting concluded, people gathered at the table, and stood in little groups, introducing themselves to neighbours they had not officially "met" despite years of passing each other in the hall or sharing elevators. People laughed and talked for a good hour before the room cleared. We divided the left-overs among our elderly residents, who seemed to really enjoy the chance to socialize. In all a *huge* success.
So what has all of this accomplished? Residents have been seen taking photos, not only of the flowers, but of their children standing beside the flowers. A real pride is growing in the garden and the building's appearance.
The front walkway used to be constantly littered with fast food containers, drink cups, bags, wrappers, pop cans and cigarette butts by the dozen. Residents simply tended to drop their garbage without a thought. There were days before when you could fill a garbage bag with the litter outside. That has stopped. Dead in its tracks. Today, although I hadn't been outside to pick up litter in four days all there was to pick up was a crumbling styrofoam plate which had blown in from somewhere else and a single cigarette butt at the far (parking lot) end of the walkway.
Many residents used to make a lot of noise as they came and went. Now they are much quieter. People are sitting on the benches in the garden just enjoying the sun or talking to each other, which you never saw before.
And to think, I was not happy when we moved here, but that's all changed. Now I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.