CityDiggity

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Archive for balcony garden

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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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 »

Year two: The promise of spring, renewal, and all that jazz

To my mind, winter was made so that we could more fully experience the exquisite bliss of the awakening of spring.

In fact, in more sentimental moments, I feel downright sorry for my gardening buddies languishing in tropical climes (smile).

OK, so they have non-stop blooms, lush color and the life that gardens bring to your world all year-round. But, hear me out, what they miss is 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 »

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 »

Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme – and sweet potatoes?

It’s 5 p.m. on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and I’m happy to say that I’ve just clipped fresh herbs from my balcony garden to use in preparing dinner — parsley, sage, rosemary and, yes, thyme.

And I’d say the holiday arrives just in the nick of time, since the forecast has temps dipping precipitously tonight and I’m not sure the garden will last past the next few days.

As I’ve got more preparation to do in the kitchen, I just wanted to briefly share with you some of the 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 »