Monday, July 11, 2011
Monday Visual Inspiration: Mile High Gardening 2011, or looking like a fool with m plants on the ground
As with everything in my life lately, my balcony garden has suffered due to a combination of too much work and too little energy to do anything else. I've resigned myself to the fact that a lot of this year's balcony bounty will just have to involve annuals and/or sacrificial perennials as accents to the band of usual suspects that I drag in and out of the house every year, much to Guy's chagrin. In this top photo of the 2011 Mile High Balcony Garden, you can see a few of those Mile High mainstays, including my two Chinese evergreens on the right, several pots of pothos and some sort of arrowhead plants in the midground, and the massive arboricola in the background that we've named Feed Me Seymour.
Shooting the other way, we fully absorb the fact that, on the right, I've killed a boxwood and have yet to pull it out of its pot. I'm calling it a golden boxwood; Guy says I've just made an example out of it to the rest of the plants. Either grow or die, but don't fuck around. At the far end of the balcony/porch, we see a few new herbal additions to the garden that, God willing, will survive to join the rosemary and parsley plants in the kitchen come October.
First new addition: Greek basil. They're both blooming, whatever that means. (I'm always amazed when I see plants bloom in my care. I never know if it's because of or in spite of me.) So far, it smells good if you touch it and it tastes great on a pizza.
Next up, a veteran from last year: the Virginia creeper. I thought I'd killed it during the winter by letting its roots get exposed, but one branch/tendril of it managed to burrow its way out of the cold, hard potting soil and arise yet again. In keeping with my habit of giving my plants inappropriate monikers, we're naming the Virginia creeper Jason Voorhies.
Oh, look, Pixie finally bought a lavender plant, about 12 years after everyone else put one in their garden. She's so innovative with her gardening, such a visionary. Well, at least it's blooming.
And the tomatoes, which we always do for pizzas and chili/soups. This year, we're doing a cherry tomato (left) and a Roma tomato (right). Not sure why the Roma is so bushy. Should we tie up the branches or just let them get spidery?
And finally, no porch garden, and indeed no porch, is complete without a porch kitteh. Hazel like to snuggle up in a wee ball of tabby indifference whenever I'm outside. She lays pretty still while Gracie runs laps around the porch, into the kitchen, back through the dining and living room, and back out onto the porch again. Hazel only leaves when Guy comes outside to hang out.
When I talk about my balcony garden, I say "balcony" but think porch. In the South, you put plants on your porch and sit out on it to watch the world (and your neighbors) go by. My grandmother covered her screened-in porch with massive ferns and would sit and watch cars go by on the country road about 200 feet from her house. If an ambulance went by, she'd get up slowly and go in the house to call a friend down the road: "Hester, they's uh am-bulaintz comin' yo' way; lemme know whey it's goin' to." If someone pulled into her driveway, the heavy foliage on the porch gave her ample cover to run in and put on a better dress or apron in case it was someone she wanted to talk to. Further, the porch gave her someplace nice to entertain surprise visitors in case she hadn't cleaned the house. It had ceiling fans and the cooling effect of just-watered plants, and the cushioned wicker furniture (which was so old I think it was 40 years' worth of paint that held it together) and glass-top coffee table allowed her to bring out sweet tea in heavy glasses and some Nilla Wafers on a paper plate laid in a wicker plate holder (holla if you know what I'm talkin' about) and set them down and chat with her guests. In a way, my grandmother saved herself a lot of time and energy by investing in her outdoor space. The house's interior didn't have to be cleaned spotless nor air-conditioned heavily when she kept 100sf of her 200-square-feet of her porch tidy, that 100sf being the area to the right of the front door as you stepped onto the porch.
I think there's something be learned here, assuming that I'm listening.