CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for container garden

Period of adjustment: Plants sometimes look worse before they look better

DSC02091It looks like my caladium has finally made peace with the full-sun exposure of my balcony garden.

For the longest time, I wasn’t sure if it would make it. Many of the vibrant leaves—a splattering of ruby red over white over lime green (a little like an abstract canvas)—had turned brown and shriveled at the edges.

But remarkably, it’s rebounded! The sickly looking leaves have fallen away, and the new leaves are healthy and standing proud.

Of course, too much or too little sun isn’t the only thing that stresses garden plants. Just changing
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If garden is a work in progress, then start by working with what’s already there

dillwild

Confession time. I didn’t clean up the wilted and battered relics of my balcony container garden at the end of last season before the soil froze over. I also have been slow to get this season’s garden up and running. I add a random plant here, sprinkle a few seeds there, sweep up one corner of my deck one day, bag up a broken pot the next.

As you can imagine it’s been slow going and frankly, it’s still a work in progress. But I suppose a garden always is, right? You’re constantly making changes and additions, and of course marveling at the surprise changes not of your own making.

PetuniareturnsOne of the advantages of procrastinating with my small, urban garden is that it gives some of the plants that have re-seeded on their own a chance to pop up and perhaps set the basis for the overall arrangement. I recognize the leaves of one of my standard bearers, petunias, at their very early stages so it was easy to begin work from there.

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Garden payoff: On an evening like this, it all makes sense

A gentle breeze, temperate weather and thriving container plants — some in full flower, others on the cusp of revealing their beauty… Such was the scene  this evening on my downtown Chicago balcony.

And alas, dear gardeners, if you were steadfast in your watering through the oppressive heat of the past couple of weeks, you, too, are likely enjoying the fruits — and flowers — of your efforts. (And openly marveling at just how much your plants have grown.)

The 100-plus thermometer readings created an outdoor hothouse effect that had varieties like the yellow and orange lantana (in the second photo) reaching out with arm-like chutes — happy to receive the sunshine being offered.

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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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Mid-July garden follies: wind, rain, heat and the master plan

I started Saturday with a plan. You see, I knew the forecast  predicted scattered thunderstorms, which I was actually looking forward to because I hoped they’d take some of the sting out of the blistering heat we’ve been experiencing. I was also hoping to save myself from the grueling task of watering my container plants under the sweltering sun. And lets not forget how beneficial rainwater is to developing plants. And mine, delayed as they are, need all the help they can get (smile).

So, I crafted what I thought was an ingenious scheme: I’d keep watching the skies and when they grew overcast — the dark before the storm — I’d Read the rest of this entry »

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 »