CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for balcony garden

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 »

Tomatoes indoors? Plants keep producing despite relocation

DSC01025About a week or so ago when a freeze warning was announced I finally gave up the garden, leaving my summer pride and joy on the balcony to suffer the chilling winds of the changing seasons.

Some of the sturdy herbs I left out in hopes they’ll last till Thanksgiving when I can fold parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme into the traditional dishes.

But the basils, jalapeno and my fancy leaf geranium were pulled inside to be turned into pesto, pickled peppers and a favored house plant. Harvesting and saving a thing or two is pretty much a part of my yearly garden ritual, but I did Read the rest of this entry »

The garden in winter: saving some thoughts for a snowy day

DSC00603DSC00553DSC00650Months ago, a friend — who tends to see the glass as half-empty — asked what would happen to this blog when Chicago’s gardening season ended.

It was a question I hadn’t even stopped to ask myself. As it was, I was struggling with finding photos to illustrate posts for my fledgling blog, since nothing was yet in bloom — and, stretching the random photos I’d saved from previous seasons on my cell phone camera was beginning to be, well, a stretch.

Over the course of developing CityDiggity and cultivating my small-space urban oasis I learned 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 »

The survivors: three heirloom tomato plants still standing

DSC00838DSC00828DSC00840While reading accounts of bountiful harvests by garden bloggers around the world, I’ve waited patiently, hoping my day would come.

Well, despite the setbacks I’ve faced this year in the cultivation of my small-space balcony garden, I can at last proclaim: I have tomatoes!

Not as many as I anticipated when I began this year’s gardening adventure, but the fact that I was overambitious has perhaps paid off, since half of too much turns out to be quite enough. Wild cherry, rosalita and isis candy heirlooms endured Read the rest of this entry »

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 »