CityDiggity

A green space for urban gardeners

Archive for terra cotta pots

It’s deja vu: plants have to be hauled inside – one last time

DSC00640DSC00631DSC00636If you’ve been following my posts, you’ve read about how work on the exterior of my building has been interfering with my balcony garden. I had to move all the plants — herbs, flowers, heirloom tomatoes — inside for nearly two weeks! And once they were back outside there was still the issue of mortar dust blowing about.

Well, the dust has finally settled, but instead of being able to kick back and relax in the garden I had to move the plants inside — all over again! This time it was because our association mandated painting of the balcony railings and washing and sealing of the wooden deck flooring.

So, I was up at 7 on Tuesday morning hauling three 36-inch boxes of flowering and trailing plants, two 36-inch boxes of herbs and edibles, Read the rest of this entry »

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Oh, my aching back: More stress than calm in garden this week

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A planter box (top) and tomato pot (above)

Sometimes you have to wonder if your garden is serving you or if you are serving your garden. The rhetorical question reared its head this week as I played musical chairs with my balcony garden plants.

Let me explain: Work is being done to the facade of our building and the dreaded stage was finally slated for my elevation on Tuesday. So, by 3 a.m. that morning I had painstakingly brought in five railing planter boxes, cell packs of flowers that I haven’t yet made room for, and too many clay Read the rest of this entry »

So many different types of basil, so little time – and space

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The basil seeds sown directly into the large terra cotta pots that will be their summer home have sprouted, despite the cold air that spring hasn’t yet managed to chase away.

So, I’m confident that I’ll have a robust crop for pesto, and all the other fresh dishes the herb enhances, in just a few weeks.

I planted Genovese basil and one that I haven’t tried before — lime basil. In the past, I also added a colorful purple basil plant to my container garden, which at the time seemed quite exotic to me.

However, as the Bard might have said (if he had a taste for the herb): there’s a lot more to basil than Read the rest of this entry »

Inside out: go with a seamless flow from interior to garden

Wrought iron chair adds whimsy.

A wrought iron chair used to add elevation and whimsy plays off similar interior elements.

Today was magnificent! Sunny, 80 degrees, with the softest of breezes playing across my balcony. Gone was the icy chill that has been hidden in the winds of recent days.

Chimes for feng shui

Chimes for feng shui

Sprouts, small plants, and my tabby sunned themselves outside, and as if on cue, I got an email from Burpee saying that the remainder of my plant order was being shipped and would arrive in two days. The danger of frost has past. At last.

With tonight’s low temperature forecast at a nice 60 degrees, I think that for the first time, I’ll leave things out for the duration. Except for the cat, of course. I’ve begun to envision being able to finally sit  Read the rest of this entry »

Make no small plans: use time inside to enhance time outside

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Lantana is one of the ready and waiting small plants I've bought to go in my balcony boxes.

My sprouts and plants are lined up like soldiers next to the balcony sliders, my cat has taken to staring wistfully through the glass while making his little bird sounds, and the empty terra cotta pots outside are stacked and waiting to fulfill their destiny. But Zone Five summers won’t be rushed, despite the impatient champing at the bit to shift into full garden mode.

Birds shouldn't get to have all the outdoor fun

When the bird sounds start, summer is on the way.

With the sunshine battling the chilly air and bouts of icy rain for dominance, we won’t get the green thumbs up until total victory over the fluctuating elements is claimed in this seasonal smackdown.

Of course, when you don’t have California weather, a good portion of your garden work is spent California dreaming — better known here as Read the rest of this entry »

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 »