CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for City of Chicago

Lights, climbers, action: building a twinkling, virtual garden wall

Net lights hung around the railing of the balcony make for a magical ambience.

Net lights hung around the railing of my city balcony make for nighttime ambiance.

Every summer the City of Chicago puts on a festival called Venetian Night, in which a host of boats tricked out in sparkling lights drift past the city’s shoreline. Did I mention — for those who have never visited Chicago — that the beach here is ACTUALLY DOWNTOWN? What more could an urban dweller ask for?

Technically, it’s lakefront, not beachfront. But, it’s a Great Lake, so it has the aspect of a beach, without the salt water. Anyway, the magical effect of those twinkling lights is what I try to evoke on my 5×12-foot balcony.

I make my brand of magic by attaching a length of Read the rest of this entry »

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The color of water and other splashy container gardening secrets revealed

A little water is a wonderful thing. But don't depend on raindrops alone.

A little water is a wonderful thing. But don't depend on raindrops alone to nourish plants.

Armchair sleuth that I am, I jumped at the chance to gather intel when I saw a crew making its way down one of our city streets attending to the splendid hanging baskets Chicago adorns its lamp posts with during summer.

As the magic wand was extended over the baskets I made a discovery that changed the way I would maintain my container plants in the years to come: the water he used … it was, well, BLUE! Maybe that was the secret to success.

From that point forward every other watering lavished on my plants had just the slightest tinge Read the rest of this entry »

In the urban jungle we take our green space where we find it

City sidewalk-scapes like this bring nature to concrete jungle.

Vividly planted sidewalkscapes like this bring touches of nature to the city's concrete jungle.

My obsession with urban gardening is no doubt a manifestation of my own need to get back to nature. It is a need apparently shared by countless city dwellers.

Chicagoans who can afford it buy weekend getaway homes in the country, others squeeze gardens onto terraces, rooftops, porches or, like me, a small condo balcony.

And our city — in league with our pastoral proclivities — plants ginko trees in grates along Read the rest of this entry »