CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for Flowering plants

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 »

Gather ye seed pods while ye may. But after that, what?

DSC01066DSC00813DSC01079I’ve learned a lot from other garden bloggers. At the very least I’ve been inspired to seek out new learning.

So a few months back when a fellow tomato fancier asked if I’d be interested in trading seeds with her, my curiosity was peaked.

(You see, for several years now I’ve been growing heirloom tomatoes using seeds purchased from a catalog. They’re cheap — less than $3.00 a packet — so paying for new ones every season seemed a minimal, yet high-yield investment.)

Eager to learn, I quickly acquiesced. Of course, I had no idea how to get the seeds from the tomatoes to swap. She assured me it was easy peasy.

That was in the spring and I hadn’t thought about Read the rest of this entry »

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 Read the rest of this entry »

Denial: not just a river in Egypt, but thriving in a Chicago garden

DSC00914DSC00927DSC00995It’s pretty obvious that I’ve refused to acknowledge fall’s arrival 10 days ago — even in the face of the horrible weather that’s plagued Chicago this past week.

One day it was gale force winds (actually, I’m not sure how much force needs to be exerted to rate gale, but it was pretty severe); then it was temps that were hard pressed to break 60 degrees; and finally came the chilly, steady rain.

All these signals that the garden’s days are numbered, yet still I’m in that happy state called denial, fueled by the combination of hope and unreasoned belief that tell me there will be — have Read the rest of this entry »

By any other name: garden flowers with rose-like blooms

DSC00916DSC00763DSC00918In preparing to show you the blossom of the final lisianthus in the tri-color group I purchased this season — lime green, joining the previously unveiled blue and yellow — I couldn’t help noting how much they lived up to their description. The distributor promised blossoms reminiscent of those on a rose.

Basically, to me that means the way the buds compact and the subsequent layers of petals unfurl look a lot like that most popular of garden flowers. The lisianthus bundle I purchased is in fact dubbed “rose bouquet.”

Unfortunately the lisianthus, an annual, doesn’t provide the added gift of fragrance that roses can Read the rest of this entry »

Postscript: one last photo of zinnia shown in previous update

DSC00814In its final stage of evolution, you can see that all the petals of this zinnia “envy” have emerged.  I took the photo just this morning, around 7 a.m. See the post below to read the full story…

Evolution of a zinnia: popular garden flower gets bigger, better every day

DSC00714When I showed you this first photo of my zinnia “envy” bloom a few weeks back, I was quite impressed with its pastel lime-colored splendor.

DSC00761It appears, however, that I may have rushed things a little, because time
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proved that it was only phase one of this sturdy garden flower’s coming of age — and each phase Read the rest of this entry »

Out of sight color: blooms of vibrant orange and truest blue

DSC00792DSC00753Looking out onto the deck I have a pretty nice view: I can see the morning glory climbing up my balcony and attaching itself to the net lights, four varieties of basil, a fancy-leaf geranium and healthy pots of heirloom tomato (bar one).

And when I look up at what’s attached to the railing I see lots of gorgeous flowers: petunia, Texas bluebonnet, lisianthus, lobelia, salvia, zinnia, lantana and several others.

Therefore, as you’d suspect I’m pretty pleased right now. But being so taken by all there was to appreciate in my immediate sight line, I neglected Read the rest of this entry »

Any given Sunday, first light is a good time to be one with garden

DSC00658DSC00766DSC00780(2)I’ve previously revealed my nocturnal watering habits. Well here’s another of my rituals: sneaking out at 5:30 a.m. for a little Sunday morning quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do it every Sunday — and frankly, it sometimes follows not having gone to sleep at all (I am an unabashed night owl) — but I do try to flip the script every then and again and take advantage of these solitary seasonal moments.

When I do, it’s just me, a piping hot beverage and some inspirational reading material. (One of my favorites is Anna Quindlen’s “A Short Guide to a Happy Life,” which holds up to numerous repeat-readings.)

Sunday is the day — and dawn is the time of day — that the noise of Chicago’s elevated train gives us urbanites a much-needed respite. It’s also before Read the rest of this entry »

Cool Chicago summer has garden about a month out of sync

DSC00699DSC00714I often delude myself into thinking that I’m in control of my garden, but in moments of crystalline clarity I realize that it is nature, not I, that bends the garden to its will.

Recently I had to right, and then anchor my heirloom tomato pots after strong winds caused them to topple over.

And, just last evening I was furiously trying to snap a few photos of first-bloomers and complete some garden maintenance before the dark clouds opened up to end the day as it had begun: with driving rain.

The upside: I was spared my nocturnal watering ritual for the day. Nature gives, but sometimes, Read the rest of this entry »