A green space for urban gardeners

Oh, my aching back: More stress than calm in garden this week


A planter box (top) and tomato pot (above)

Sometimes you have to wonder if your garden is serving you or if you are serving your garden. The rhetorical question reared its head this week as I played musical chairs with my balcony garden plants.

Let me explain: Work is being done to the facade of our building and the dreaded stage was finally slated for my elevation on Tuesday. So, by 3 a.m. that morning I had painstakingly brought in five railing planter boxes, cell packs of flowers that I haven’t yet made room for, and too many clay pots to count — suffice to say, six of them were the big ones that hold the tomato plants. (A planter of flowers and an heirloom tomato pot are pictured above, respectively.)

Later that day, I spoke with the crew boss and asked when it would be OK to move my plants back outside. (At this delicate juncture, following days that have been cold and wet, I hate to deprive my plants of even a few hours of direct sunshine. Not to mention I don’t particularly like stubbing my toes on terra cotta pots when I go for a cup of coffee.)

He told me that with inspections they wouldn’t get started on the actual work till Friday, so I could move the plants back outside in the interim. I did. Then it rained on Wednesday and Thursday, so I was betting that it would slow them down even further and that I’d have till Sunday night before I’d need to bring them in.


Early Friday morning, like clockwork (annoyingly accurate clockwork), there was a knock at the door requesting I move my plants off the balcony. I worked like crazy and cleared the decks (pun intended) — even down to the grill — all under the bemused and confused stare of my tabby.

Now practically every foot of available floor space in my living room is covered with plants and my back is aching from all that heavy lifting!

I spoke with the crew boss again (a very pleasant gentleman, by-the-way) and he said I could bring the plants back out at the end of the workday Saturday, but I’d have to take them back in before Monday morning because they’d be working above my balcony for a few more days next week.

So, I get to move everything again tomorrow afternoon so that my plants can enjoy about a day-and-a-half in the sun — then it’s back inside for a couple more days… It’s all been very stressful.

What I wouldn’t give for a tranquil, relaxing garden to calm my nerves (smile).

[Have you had any frustrating garden moments this season? Leave a comment with details.]

Coming Sunday: A closer look at my flower planter arrangements


  Megan wrote @

I know that aching back feeling, although I’m the one to blame, since I’m always the one deciding to rearrange when the whim strikes. I think a tranquil relaxing garden may be an urban legend 😉

  Meredith wrote @

Hopefully your plants will have a permanent spot back outside soon, and your back a chance to rest!

  Nicola wrote @

I have only just realised your garden is on your balcony. I would have loved to do that too when I was living in a flat, but never really thought too much about it. Roll on the work being finished so you can get everything back outside permanently.

  Chicago Garden wrote @


And people say gardening is suppose to be relaxing.

  Jo wrote @

The things we do for our plants eh?

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