A green space for urban gardeners

Starter gardener: planting a seed

A past season's end game:

A past season's end game: A view of my balcony garden with city vista beyond.

It doesn’t take much more than a 63 degree March day in Chicago to turn the thoughts of urban gardeners like myself outward.

Well, 63 degrees is exactly what we gotrecently, and before I had the slider fully open my cat Melon scampered through his (self-made) cat door onto my condo balcony. (I vow to replace the torn screen in the days to come.)

His pot of grass from last year sits dead and brown, but still he nibbled on the dry blades and doubtless recalled the pleasures of our gardens past.For several summers now I’ve cultivated a small-space garden on my city balcony to provide a buffer from life’s stresses andΒ  downtown’s pounding heartbeat — at least for a few brief months.

If you’re a beginner looking to create your own oasis in the city, or, if you’ve been at it for a while like I have, we’ll share our experiences and triumphs through this blog. I just wanted to plant the seed…

So let’s get the garden party started!


  Marcia Frellick wrote @

Avis– what a beautiful site! You’ve got me thinking about what Eddie and I can plant in a pot on our deck. He would get a kick out of growing something and eating it!

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Thanks Marcia! I think it would be a great experience to share with him. Try the sun sugar hybrid cherry tomatoes. They’re like candy.

  Lynne wrote @

I am so glad to see you’ve started a gardening blog! I am trying to be inspired enough to plant a potted garden myself (after at three year respite) this season.

I will never forget the utter joy at picking a cherry tomato off the vine from my own terrace garden.

I bought a solar powered fountain a few years back and it was a joy!! Can’t wait to get it up and running!

  Marlene Gelfond wrote @

Hi Avis: What an exciting website. I need tips for my foray in houseplants, and for the first time I revived an orchid plant. All flowers fell last fall, therefore at the advice of a friend, I placed the plant in a warmer part of the room, watered it only occasionally, and a month ago buds reappeared. I placed it back near a window now that the air is not as cold, and today I have 8 orchid buds ready to open!

Also at the end of the summer I bought a flaming orange hibiscus for our living room, and after the blooms died I could never grow any more flowers. The bud would develop, yet drop off. The same friend told me to water it once a week with a pitcher full of water, which I do each Sat. morning. I have been doing this for a few weeks, and this morning a bright, gorgeous hibiscus proudly greeted me. At the moment nurturing my orchid plant and success with my hibiscus is making this city lady very happy.

Good luck with this website and will read every day.


  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Break out that fountain. Water features are fab!

Marlene, You’ve done me one better as far as the orchid goes! I’ve never quite had the patience to keep watering despite the fact that they look as though they’re goners. I have one now that I kept hoping to make my first orchid to come back, but I don’t think I’ve given it enough water and it’s probably a lost cause. You are a true nurturer! Your hibiscus sounds gorgeous!

Flo, All you need is a sunny sill to get a small garden going πŸ˜‰

Andrea, There will always be pesto for you at my house. And your pugs would love a pet raven πŸ˜‰

  Flojo wrote @

Avis, I love your site. Wish I had a balcony down here in Miami…Maybe I’ll plant something on Francisco’s balcony.

  Andrea wrote @

Avis, congrats on starting a lovely blog. I look forward to reading along so I’m ready when I finally have some outdoor space! In fact, maybe I’ll even do a few window boxes this year for practice. Though I am slightly afraid of attracting ravens. πŸ˜€

I can testify anytime to your success with big ol’ basil plants — but only if you keep me on the pesto handout list!

  Tonyaa wrote @

This blog is nice. Do you know anything about growing roses in containers?

  Avis Weathersbee wrote @

Tonyaa, I haven’t grown roses myself (see my post “Picking flowers: part 1” for my thoughts on perennials). In a warm climate like yours though, with plenty of sun, I’d probably attempt miniature roses in containers. Good luck and keep us posted!

  Mom wrote @

Avis, As you know, I can’t grow a thing. If I were to lay hands on those beautiful plants of yours they would be gone to plant heaven in a flash! You got the green thumb from your grandma, not from me.

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