broadsideblog

Flowers and plants and shrubs — oh, my!

In beauty, behavior, cities, design, domestic life, life, Style, urban life on July 14, 2012 at 12:04 pm

I love this blog, {frolic}, and this post about a gorgeous plant nursery in Sweden.

I love nurseries and garden centers!

Buying flowers and plants makes me so happy. I enjoy getting up early in the morning to say hello to them all, watering and spraying them before another 80 to 95 degree day. (Did you know you shouldn’t spray plants when they’re already in direct sun? The water droplets act like magnifying glasses and can burn into the vegetation.)

We only have a small balcony — 12 feet wide by six feet deep — but it gets a lot of sun and wind, facing northwest and on the top floor of a six-story building with no shade beyond the building’s own shadow.

Here are some of this year’s plants (so far), clustered at the base of our Alberta spruce, which has already weathered several brutal winters exposed to frigid temperatures and high winds.

This year’s include heliotrope, lavender, marigold and back-eyed susans. One year we chose a flower that attracted tons of daddy-long-legs. Oooops!

The way we make the best use of our tight space is with talaveras, brightly colored hand-painted ceramic pots and wall planters Jose bought for us in Tucson. They add a cheery note and we store them away in the garage carefully every winter. They’re not cheap, but so much prettier than clay pots!

I’ve also spray-painted several clay pots bright lime green and deep navy blue, to match our balcony fabrics and decor.

In addition to the talaveras, we also hang three small doves of unpainted terra cotta,  — the photo at the top of this post — that double as (unused) candle holders. I bought them in May 2005 at the edge of the Salto San Anton, a small waterfall in the neighborhood I lived in when I was 14 in Cuernavaca. We went back expecting to find it totally different — but the empty field I used to gaze into instead of doing my homework was still, all those years later, still an empty field.

Here’s a photo of the other end of the balcony, which becomes our outdoor cafe for the summer. We set up a pretty table, with matching napkins and cutlery, glasses and plates in a range of blue, yellow and green that I’ve collected over the years, some vintage, some antique, some new.

The bench is just a homemade plywood box, (which contains all our hardware, tool boxes and gardening tools), with custom-made cushions and pillows that make it into a banquette we can easily toss indoors when it rains. Some of them are made of vintage fabric, one of them of two napkins I sewed together. The printed dark blue fabric is a bedspread that covers the hideous pebbled glass divider between our balcony and our neighbor’s.

Here’s a lovely blog post from London, about her balcony garden, recently chosen for Freshly Pressed.

Do you have a garden?

Details, please!

  1. Glad that you enjoy plants. I have an Iowa yard, so don’t do so many containers–although the back deck has lots of geraniums and petunias. I favor a LOT of trees, many small, understory trees. My yard has mature maple and oak, plus crab apples, a hawthorn, a tulip tree, several red buds, two apples, two pears, catalpa and sweetgum. There are two dogwoods and several ironwood trees. Anyway, for garden plants, I favor pretty common midwestern perennial plants–cone flowers, hostas, hydrangea, peonies, roses, bachelor buttons, hollyhock, tulips, crocus, ferns, etc. I have lots of flowering bushes–many different kinds of lilac, butterfly bushes, a cherry bush, several honneysuckle, and a trumpet vine. I always plant a few things each year, but I do like the perennial plant-it-once and enjoy it for years system!

  2. It sounds gorgeous!

    I love the look of hydrangea but whenever I buy a piece from the florist, it’s dead within hours. The look of a mature and well-designed garden is really special. We really can’t do much that’s permanent, beyond our lovely little Alberta spruce. I sort of enjoy mixing it up each year, trying some new things and enjoying old favorites like marigold, dusty miller and lavender. It is amazing to me to be able to sniff lavender on my balcony!

  3. I use unusual containers for flowers. I have pickle crocks- various sizes I’ve picked up at flea markets. I have a pair of rubber boots from when my son was 3. He now has size 13 feet but these are charming size 13- toddler size not giant size. He still likes to pick the flowers that go in them. This year it’s lemon leaf marigolds. They sit on the front step like they use to when they had mud on the outside of them, instead of the inside :)

    Live your pots and your charming sitting area! You have great flair!

    • Thanks! :-)

      I like using unusual containers; one of my favorites is a turquoise metal honey container I got in some Quebec antique store. Love that you’re re-purposing those boots. So sweet!

  4. I love gardens but I’m not a gardener. I enjoy reading about other people’s gardens. I kept thinking about my daughter as I read this post. She writes a blog: acharlottegarden.blogspot.com You might enjoy it. Her photos are awesome.

  5. Lovely post; I can easily imagine your wonderfully colourful balcony. I too love gardening, and I have a small one, mostly out the back – I live in an 1890s worker’s cottage, so the front garden is not much more than a path and a picket fence. It’s the back garden that I love so much. It’s only ten metres by ten metres, so it has a couple of small trees, a place for vegies (I’m in Australia, so they need to face north), and in the corner is a chookyard, the wire of which is slowly being covered in an ornamental grapevine. As it’s such a small place, it’s mostly a cottage garden I’m making, so there are lots of small flowering plants, bulbs for spring, little paths here and there, two timber garden seats, a cast-iron bird-bath, which freezes in winter (it froze last night). I’ve always wanted a small garden, and now it’s what I’ve got. How happy and lucky I am! Now I’m going to log-off and sit outside and enjoy the midday sun, and see if any more bulbs have come up. Plus I have to chat to the chooks, of course.

  6. I like the sound of those benches….and bird-bath. I am not sure it ever even occurred to me that anything could freeze in Oz!

    Big hello from the wrong side of the world to the chooks…:-)

  7. [...] post was inspired by a piece over at Broadside titled ‘Flowers and plants and shrubs – oh my!‘ Share this:EmailPrintFacebookLike this:LikeBe the first to like this. Email [...]

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