A green space for urban gardeners

Despite cold and neglect, some balcony plants still blooming

DSC01059DSC01037Monday was a delight. It was bright and sunny and felt more like the beginning of spring than the middle of fall. I was drawn outside onto the balcony. Drawn to the garden I’d given over to hibernation.

While brown had replaced the once-green foliage in most of my planters, and naked dry stems stood where there previously was a profusion of blossoms, I was pleased to discover that there were a few flowers mixed among the ruins.

The petunia baby duck was still covered with its small, pale yellow blossoms; the lobelia is flourishing prolifically; and, the Nigella — which didn’t start flowering until late summer — was still cutting an impressive true-blue silhouette against the skyline.

Also, my nasturtium has begun to reveal lovely multi-colored blossoms of yellow and orange that I don’t remember seeing during the summer, and my cat’s flat of grass was greener than ever. (He was overjoyed to become reacquainted with it.)

All the precipitation that’s come with the frigid weather has kept the soil in the planters moist without the necessity of watering — cold comfort when most of the flowers can’t survive the low temperatures. (Don’t you just love irony?)

Seeing the survivors got me so stoked that today I beat a path to the local home and garden outlet and picked up a few inexpensive flowers that are a bit more cold tolerant and have decided that I’m going to put together a small-scale display that will take me through the Thanksgiving entertaining season.

So stay tuned, I’ll post an update later in the week after I put in the new additions.

In the meantime, tell me which cold-withstanding plants are still thriving in your garden if you, too, live in the frostier climes.

For those of you who live in hot spots, tell us which plants do best in the worst of the heat.

[The top photo shows my Nigella standing tall against the backdrop of lobelia and petunia baby duck and the second photo shows the nasturtium.]


  Jo wrote @

I can’t wait to see what plants you’ve chosen for your autumn display. I noticed the other day that my Salvia-Hot Lips, which stopped flowering a while ago is now in bloom again.

  Stephanie wrote @

Glad to see that you still have these wonderful blooms to ‘warm’ your balcony. I like that blue Nigella very much! The form is so special and the blue is beautiful. I have to tell you this… the other day I saw packs of green envy zinnia seeds being sold at a home centre. I remembered yours, they were so beautiful, so I bought a pack. I hope the seeds will be able to germinate and do well in my garden 🙂 The flower which thrive well in my hot garden here is desert rose. This plant blooms throughout the year! It’s a wonderful plant to have here in the tropics.

  City Diggity wrote @

I’m glad to see you’re giving the zinnia envy a try, I’m sure it’ll perform beautifully there. It’ll probably sprout in a week and flower in two. Can’t wait to see your photos. And I love your desert rose. I assume from the name that it’s native to a hot, dry climate; good to know it does just as well in a humid climate… Maybe better?

The hot lips salvia is a vibrant red, right? My black and blue salvia is but a memory at this point. Nice to know some varieties are more cold tolerant. Maybe I’ll try the hot lips next year, with the extended season in mind. Thanks for the tip!

  linda wrote @

So cool to find survivors of the chill!

We still haven’t had frost in the backyard yet. Not much blooming though – wax begonias, a rudbeckia here and there, Rozanne geraniums, and bugbane buds are opening. Bugbane’s the latest, and Rozanne’s the longest perennial bloomer here – they’ll both go until frost gets ’em.

You’ve got a gorgeous view from your balcony. Looking forward to seeing your cool-season containers Avis!

  Lynne Jordan wrote @

Love the top photo!

  Beth wrote @

I love the contrast of the cityscape with the blossoms. What a beautiful photo!

  City Diggity wrote @

Thanks Beth!

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