CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Flowering plants

The garden started without me: spontaneous blooms are the first of season

I’ve been slow to get my sprouts into the garden, what with waiting out the weather and other distractions. Apparently, though, the garden decided it wouldn’t wait for me.

Despite the fact that I pretty much build my garden on annuals because I don’t expect anything sitting in plastic planters on an exposed balcony, enduring the harsh Chicago winter and winds, to regenerate — I’ve been pleasantly surprised in recent days…

Things started to sprout spontaneously in the Read the rest of this entry »

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Seed obsession: it grows on you

In the future (very distant, I hope) someone will be going through the basement of my last known residence and they’ll come across box upon box, filled to overflowing with packets of seeds. Pleased to make your acquaintance, I’m a hoarder.

It all starts innocently enough: I’ll see a pretty, colorful picture adorning a seed pack online or at the local garden store that I just can’t resist. …Or perhaps I’ll succumb to a two-for-one sale.

I always have every intention of planting the seeds that season, but when all is said and done I realize Read the rest of this entry »

The mystery of orchids and the Mother’s Day garden timetable


Orchids. There’s just something about them.

And to the envy of mere mortal women, they manage to achieve the double feat of being beautiful and mysterious. And it’s hard to put your finger on just what makes them so entrancing…

Like a good mystery buff, I first became intrigued with the exotic flowering plant after following the exploits of fictional detective Nero Wolfe.

Author Rex Stout painted an intriguing portrait of the brilliant private detective who, in unraveling the evil men do, got a first-hand look at the uglier side of nature.

Not only did his stately brownstone — from which he solved his cases — provide refuge from this ugliness, it also was where he escaped to his beautiful world of orchids.


He owned thousands and devoted the upper level of his home to them, caring for and nurturing them as though they were his children. He was an obsessive and devoted hobbyist.

Of course, today we can all share in the orchid Read the rest of this entry »

Of four-leaf clovers and other rare plant-world occurrences

DSC00911As visions of shamrocks danced in my head this week, I found myself suddenly transported back to first grade. One thing I recall clearly all these years later, is the vast, emerald field of clover that stood adjacent to my school.

The teacher would occasionally allow the class to while away recess period scouring patches of clover in search of that rare four-leaf specimen hiding among the three-leaf species. If a student Read the rest of this entry »

Color choices – blue, orange and I also want to paint it black

If you’ve followed this blog you know I love blue in the garden. Can’t deny it, can’t escape it.

And “true” blue is a hue that I find¬† absolutely irresistible. Thus, it likely will always play into my garden color scheme.

This year is no exception.

But, I have flipped the script a bit with my companion colors. Orange, which was a minor presence last year, will assume a dominant role, and, I’m also exploring black as a primary tone.

I do realize that “black” is perhaps even more elusive than “true” blue in flowering plants, so when I say black, that translates into extremely Read the rest of this entry »

For urban balcony gardener, there’s no denying the coming of winter (or the promise of spring)

There’s still a week to go before autumn’s end, yet Chicago finds itself already wrapped in the cloak of winter.

After a bout of snow and bitter chill — with more in this week’s forecast — my cold-tolerant plants can no longer tolerate the harsh reality of our plummeting temperatures (smile).

I had wished for my balcony garden to last through Thanksgiving. Thankfully, it did. The first Read the rest of this entry »

Holiday countdown: will cold- tolerant plants go the distance?

DSC01106DSC01102After I discovered that not all of my balcony garden plants had given in to the frigid Chicago autumn, I got a second wind of sorts. (No pun intended.)

I began to think maybe, just maybe, I could cobble together enough of a display to keep a pleasing view to the outside through the fall holiday season.

As you’ll recall, I already have clear net lights attached to the balcony’s perimeter — a perfect Read the rest of this entry »