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Welcome to the Garden!

May 1, 2011

I did a serious bit of gardening today – in fact, I pretty much got the balcony garden finished – now I only need to buy another window box (silly me went shopping without a shopping list on Saturday), and another bag of potting mix – I only just had enough for the pots I had, and that was with re-using some old mix.

The balcony was a nightmarish mess while I was working – pots, plants, saucers, potting mix and potting mix bags, railing hooks, bamboo sticks, wire, string, screwdrivers, pruning shears, horn meal… all scattered all over the place. Not that there is a lot of space to scatter it – my balcony (technically, a loggia, as it’s set back into the building, enclosed by walls on three sides) is only 3.6 by 1.2 m (8.5 by 4 ft) – so there was hardly room left to walk, let alone work. Fun!

But it’s all neat and clean, now, so – time for pictures!

Flanking the door – to the right:

Black-eyed Susan Vine (Thunbergia alata), the 'Heating Joseph' Pelargonium, and a 'Sunrise Serenade' Morning Glory (Ipomoea purpurea)

To the left:

Lobelia erinus (Trailing Lobelia) and Pink Sorrel (Oxalis articulata)

Looking  further to the left, along the wall with the living room window:

My Lantana tree, the Oxalis/Lobelia bowl, and Hippeastrums already outside for the summer

At the time I took the picture, the Lantana still needed to be tied to the new stake, and the stake secured at the top so it doesn’t get knocked over if it’s windy.

Further along that wall, and the wall that separates mine from the neighbour’s balcony:

more plants out for the summer, tomatoes and morning glories to be given away, pea planter, bean planter

Well, I call them the pea planter and the bean planter, but of course, there’s a lot more in them – the one on the left has two rows of ‘Blauwschokker’ peas, four cauliflower plants (supposedly, they’ll be purple and orange), a ‘Printo F1’ grafted cucumber and a morning glory;, the one on the right, one row of freshly sowed ‘Blauhilde’ beans, another morning glory, another cauliflower and a ‘Hunor’ pepper plant. And a Tradescantia temporarily taking the place of the cantaloupe or water melon that’ll be added in a couple of weeks.

Stuff on the floor that hasn’t found a real home yet: Chlorophytums out for the summer that will be moved from place to place for the next couple of months, and a lot of tomato plants I have to give away:

Miniature scented garden:

Heliotropium arborescens (Garden Heliotrope), Lobularia maritima (Sweet Alyssum) and Stock (Matthiola incana)

Up high:

Volcanic Sorrel (Oxalis spiralis ssp vulcanicola)

This wall (being the only one without a thick polystyrene insulation) is full of holes and wall plugs from where the previous tenants had attached their satellite dish – I used those wall plugs to secure the trellis for the peas and beans and to hang this pot.

At the corner:

Again the bean planter, and one tomato planter

More morning glories and cauliflower, two tomato plants (‘Lea’ and ‘Rose Quartz Multiflora’), dill and borage.

Hidden in the corner:

Bog Sage (Salvia uliginosa) and Lovage (Levisticum officinale)... oh, and carrot seedlings.

Moving to the other corner so I can get pictures of the railing:

railing planters, and below, the rest of the tomato planters - the first doesn't actually have tomatoes in it yet (still waiting for the white currants to get big enough), the second one has the Galapagos tomato (Lycopersicon cheesmanii), and the third, the red and yellow currants. Also, more morning glories, cauliflower and Swiss chard. Against the wall (behind which is my kitchen), the second bean planter.

I guess it’s not the best place, shaded by the railing and the railing planters, but I hope the tomatoes will be OK once they grow taller than the railing.

On the railing:

Lots and lots of herbs, lettuce, chard, cauliflower... oh, and horned pansies (this planter used to be at the bedroom window)

The herbs are completely out of hand – just look at them!

Whatever will I do with this much parsley?

Along the wall to the kitchen:

currant tomatoes in the corner, bean planter #2 (some sort of yellow bean, an eggplant, cauliflower...), and the Thunbergia/Pelargonium pot by the door.

The currant tomato planter (with ‘Gelbe Johannisbeere’ (‘Golden Currant’) and ‘Tess’s Land Race’):

I'll be trying to save seed from 'Tess's Land Race' this year - the little bag is supposed to prevent cross-pollination.

Because they are forecasting cold night temperatures again, and I can’t move the pots inside any more thanks to the stakes that are all tied to each other, to the railing and to screws in the walls, or wedged in between the railing planters, I had to come up with a way to protect my plants. The amaryllises and the rest of the houseplants (which I could theoretically have moved inside, but didn’t want to) were all moved down to the floor and covered with thick fleece, for the rest I used the bubble wrap my couch was covered in.

This un-poppable bubble wrap (there was some serious pouting when I realized this – I guess I’ll never be too old to have fun popping bubble wrap!) is pretty tough, so I simply pushed some metal curtain hooks through it – at the top, the hooks go over the cross pieces of the trellis:

and at the bottom, over the edge of the planter:

Easy to put up, easy to remove, and made from stuff I had lying around anyway – now I just have to hope it’ll do its duty!

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2011 23:39

    Hi there, remember me from the Kraut&Rüben-Forum? I just saw that your Bloglink turned up in the mail I get, whenever someone answers to my questions. So I found your blog after all! Now you just have to let me know wether you prever me to talk to you in English or German! Just subscribed to your blog so that I can read it on my Google Reader! Will take a look around now, too!

    For now it looks like you have less room than I do, but you have way more planters around the railing of you balcony. The thing with my balcony is that most pots and planters and so on are things that I had around the house anyways and therefore I don’t have many planters at the railing because I lack a way to secure them from falling down on the cars that are parked below ( one reason why I have my 2 planters on the inside instead of on the outside of the railing – it is pretty windy around here and I didn’t want to risk anything!)

    Oh well… looking forward to reading your blog from now on! Talk to you soon, I hope! Cheers for sharing pics, experience and advice!

    • May 16, 2011 07:24

      Huh – k&r has been messing with my links, it seems. Odd.

      For the languages, either works fine, but since I have some readers who don’t know German, it’s probably more polite to talk in English here.

      Those planters and stuff, ugh, they certainly were expensive! I just hope they’ll last a long time!
      If I had more time, I’d find a link to Erin’s railing-planter solution at The 6×8 Garden, but I gotta run off to work now! Oops – pretty late again!

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