CityDiggity

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Archive for lisianthus

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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Holiday countdown: will cold- tolerant plants go the distance?

DSC01106DSC01102After I discovered that not all of my balcony garden plants had given in to the frigid Chicago autumn, I got a second wind of sorts. (No pun intended.)

I began to think maybe, just maybe, I could cobble together enough of a display to keep a pleasing view to the outside through the fall holiday season.

As you’ll recall, I already have clear net lights attached to the balcony’s perimeter — a perfect 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 »

Any given Sunday, first light is a good time to be one with garden

DSC00658DSC00766DSC00780(2)I’ve previously revealed my nocturnal watering habits. Well here’s another of my rituals: sneaking out at 5:30 a.m. for a little Sunday morning quiet.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t do it every Sunday — and frankly, it sometimes follows not having gone to sleep at all (I am an unabashed night owl) — but I do try to flip the script every then and again and take advantage of these solitary seasonal moments.

When I do, it’s just me, a piping hot beverage and some inspirational reading material. (One of my favorites is Anna Quindlen’s “A Short Guide to a Happy Life,” which holds up to numerous repeat-readings.)

Sunday is the day — and dawn is the time of day — that the noise of Chicago’s elevated train gives us urbanites a much-needed respite. It’s also before Read the rest of this entry »

Cool Chicago summer has garden about a month out of sync

DSC00699DSC00714I often delude myself into thinking that I’m in control of my garden, but in moments of crystalline clarity I realize that it is nature, not I, that bends the garden to its will.

Recently I had to right, and then anchor my heirloom tomato pots after strong winds caused them to topple over.

And, just last evening I was furiously trying to snap a few photos of first-bloomers and complete some garden maintenance before the dark clouds opened up to end the day as it had begun: with driving rain.

The upside: I was spared my nocturnal watering ritual for the day. Nature gives, but sometimes, Read the rest of this entry »

Flower boxes look good for now; but, I definitely need a new plan

DSC00403DSC00413No, dear friends, my plants are not happily basking outside today as I had planned.

Not because the weather didn’t hold up. Not even because I didn’t want to repeat all that lifting just to do it again in reverse a day and a half later. No, after stepping out onto my balcony with the best of intentions, I looked up — and then backed out. Or rather, backed back in… into my condo, that is.

I decided that maybe it wasn’t such a good idea to tempt fate and mess about outside while a huge metal scaffolding platform hung overhead — no Read the rest of this entry »

Don’t forget the KISS principle when mapping out your garden

Petunia baby duck is very dependable and it's small blossoms are adorable.

Petunia baby duck is very dependable, with adorable, small, yellow-centered blossoms.

It’s easy for me to get caught up in the wake of ambitious dreams when plotting my garden. But lest I drown in the disappointment of plans gone awry, I remind myself of the KISS principle: Keep It Simple Stupid. And yes, I’m talking to me.

Experimenting with lots of untried seeds — hoping they all sprout, hoping they don’t fall prey to my cat’s midnight munchies, and hoping they go on to grow, thrive and bloom — that’s a lot of pressure. Of course, I go into it knowing that some seeds won’t sprout and some that sprout won’t survive. What can I say, it’s a process.

That’s why I follow the simple rule of using plantlets that are already established to fill in the Read the rest of this entry »