CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Spring’s shown its face, now I’m a believer!

It’s been the kind of day that even melts the resolve of those with the frostiest of dispositions. Chicago had a record-setting March 14 — hitting 80 glorious degrees!

Forecasters caution that the temperatures likely aren’t here to stay, but — for a city that’s reveled in unseasonably warm weather since early February — pardon us if we choose not to believe.

And we’re not alone in our complete disdain for the prognostications of Punxsutawney Phil and his ilk. Nature seems to have joined us in a conspiracy to usher in spring earlier than reason would dictate. Trees and flowers are giving in to the spirit of “carpe diem” and pushing up the date Read the rest of this entry »

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Got riddles? Gardens — even small-space ones — hold the answers

I’m an unabashed movie buff. And, one of my all-time favorites is Lawrence Kasdan’s “Grand Canyon,” built around the powerful story of two seemingly different men who meet under trying circumstances and wind up connecting as friends.

There is one scene where a third character, a Hollywood producer, intones “all of life’s riddles are answered in the movies.” Nicely put, right?

I think many of life’s riddles are answered in the garden, as well. And while I don’t usually pound the “garden as metaphor for life” drum, as I said in my last post I’m feeling a little Zen right now, so I’m going to indulge.

Today’s riddle: How do you cope when you’re beat and the number of hours needed to complete your ever-growing to-do list are in inverse correlation to the number of hours available?

Here is the answer (plucked from the garden), which I’m happy to say has been affirmed in my life more than once:

Occasionally, when you’re too tired to water, you’re blessed with rain.

Meaning, sometimes the planets align at exactly the right time, and an outside force intervenes to get you through the moment and lighten your load.

It’s at one of these times when you can just sit back and smell the roses — or, gaze upon your angelonia serena purple (pictured) at dusk.

[I’d love for you to share some of the riddles demystified in your garden through your comments!]

Garden is the perfect antidote for the stress of long days

As the sun set on the first day of summer, I reflected on the state of my balcony garden — which, sad to say, is still in its infancy.

The crush of months of unrelenting work, plus a stubborn bug that zapped any remaining energy I had at the end of the day, has resulted in a slow start. I’m still adding plants as the days progress, and I have to admit that for once I didn’t go into the season with a well-crafted plan.

I had the usual abundance of seed packets, and even picked up a few more that displayed photos which struck my fancy… But, the visions of color

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With winter in the rearview, new garden season is on the horizon!

It’s been a long winter.

But it looks like my garden’s hibernation can soon give way to resurrection and a return to the halcyon days of seasons past.

The cold and snow is being replaced by April’s showers and a few green things are already sprouting amongst the soil remaining in the pots and planters from last season.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Chicago blizzard of 2011: Yes, a garden’s buried here!

Here’s what my balcony garden looked like after the blizzard of 2011 blew through Chicago overnight, leaving almost 20 inches of snow on the ground.

Looking out the window after midnight yesterday — and into the day today — all you could see was a thick white haze.

And believe it or not, we had snow, thunder and lightning simultaneously. A first for me!

Most entities here just threw in the towel and called it a snow day!

Not a bad time for reflections on last summer’s garden. Here’s a look back at some of my favorite blooms…

Blossoms fight the good fight as one season fades into the next

An epic battle is raging in the garden. As the seasons vie for dominance, witness some flowers continue to boldly blossom while others dry up and wither around them.

This morning I saw an outstanding bloom on a heavenly blue morning glory vine that has winded its way up from a small pot on my balcony deck to the planters attached above it at the railing’s perimeter.

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Spreading the word about urban agriculture, sustainability

I’ve been bad. Slow to blog and busy… So busy, in fact, that I’ve just barely been able to keep up with all the watering.

(You know you’ve been swamped when the postman has to call you to come down to clean out your mailbox! Such was the case with me a week or so back.)

But, I plan on using what remains of the Chicago garden season to make up for lost time.

Deliciously, my days of harvesting have arrived and as you can see here I’ve got lemon cucumber Read the rest of this entry »