I've conducted a very non-scientific survey of my close friends and determined that everyone agrees it takes about two years to really settle into a new house. So I'm working on my patience (not my best virtue, kids) in realizing that we're not going to get all the house things done right away. Right now I'm focusing on the instant-gratification projects where you put in an afternoon's worth of work and come out with an appreciably improved space. Enter, gardens! I planted a bunch this weekend and everything is still in that newly-planted, weed-free, great-looking phase. This phase typically lasts about two weeks for me, so it's important to savor it.
For being a city with such short summers, Minneapolis residents are serious about their gardens. When spring came this year we realized that we're living in between two expert gardeners, and our sad little weed patch stuck out like a sore thumb. I was pulling nettles and prairie grass out of the front garden to clear it out the other weekend, and one of the upstairs tenants (who has lived here for years) was so confused, because he "thought we had some nice flowers in there" (when what we really had were very dense weeds, punctuated by the occasional large spider). Hello, bachelor pad. Nice to meet you. I am NOT a master gardener, but I know a thistle when I see one. So I've got that going for me.
After I got the front pots and garden planted, one of the neighbors came over to compliment our work and say how excited he was about what we've been doing at the house--AND he gave me some great tips on how to take care of our new azaleas. And then he left and I did a little happy dance for Minnesota Nice neighbors. We're only one for two on that front though, the other set of neighbors was none thrilled about our fence. No gardening tips or compliments coming from that direction. But that's ok! Because I don't really like talking to neighbors anyway, and now I know how to take care of the azaleas! And look how pretty they are!!
I've also got some pretty annuals on the front steps (supertunias and gerbera daisies in the pots) and some herbs and veggies in the back garden (tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, mint, parsley, rosemary, and basil) surrounded by some marigolds because Pinterest tells me rabbits don't like those (although I just googled it and there seems to be some disagreement on that point--I think the smart money's on the rabbits eating all my plants no matter what I've got in there, but we'll see).
Best of luck, little plant-lings. You do not have a very skilled caregiver watching over you, but we're all pulling for ya.