CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

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Cold comfort: Rosemary, Thyme, and spicy chili for a dreary day

Sunday was bleak here in Chicago. With sleet raining down on my once bountiful balcony garden and serving as a barometer of the snow to follow, it’s no surprise I sought a little comfort from the cold.

In other words:  A glowing fire in the hearth, a flavorful pot of chili on the stove top, and a diversionary DVD at the ready.

One collection that offers the perfect degree of light entertainment for the off-season gardener is the aptly named “Rosemary & Thyme.” In the 2003-2007 British series, two women of a certain age wind up partners in a gardening business after one is dumped by her husband and the other by her employer.

The title derives from the given name of the latter and the surname of the former. Rosemary Boxer Read the rest of this entry »

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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 »

Care and maintenance of plants in the urban container garden

The dead blooms on this geranium need to be removed for aesthetics and to promote new flower production. (Click on image to enlarge.)

The dead blooms on this geranium need to be removed for aesthetics and to promote new flower production. (Click on image to enlarge.)

I remove the flowers that form on herbs like this Thai basil periodically.

I remove the flowers that form on herbs like this Thai basil periodically.

In some respects, we urban container gardeners have it easier than those of you with lush, never-ending yard gardens.

For example, there are no raccoons, squirrels or deer nibbling away at the plants of my 10th-floor Chicago balcony garden. And I never have the wits scared out of me by slithering soft-bodied invertebrates or slippery gastropods.

Weeds? Unless delivered by way of a seed dropped as one of our feathered friends buzzes overhead, weeds just don’t exist in my world.

But, in order to keep our small verdant spaces looking pristine throughout a long summer, even container gardeners have to suffer through deadheading and other routine upkeep necessary Read the rest of this entry »

Growth: Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it isn’t there

DSC00546DSC00548I’ve been slow to post this week for the simple reason that I felt like not much was happening in my garden.

Replacements for lost plants had been set out and new seeds sown where necessary. The weather has been warm and sunny. I’ve been diligent about my watering and feeding. And, the drama going on with the repairs to my building seems to be in its last gasp.

So, it was the plants’ turn to get busy and fulfill the lush, colorful vision I put forth for my balcony Read the rest of this entry »