Showing posts with label balcony garden. Show all posts
Showing posts with label balcony garden. Show all posts

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Cats Are All Right

One of my biggest concerns about moving to an apartment was the impact on my two cats, who from kittenhood have enjoyed the run of nice gardens. They napped under the shrubs, patrolled the perimeter, greeted guests (or hid from them); in short, they were a part of the landscape. I felt sad that they wouldn't have that any more. I might have been projecting, just a little...

Fortunately the complex I chose is pet-friendly; and after a few busy weeks, we're all settling in just fine. Haku can now be found lounging on the balcony love seat, and although Zennie still spends much of her day under my bed, she does emerge at night to claim the top of the cat tower as her own (Haku is learning that it's best not to dispute this, especially when she has "that look in her eyezzz!")

Haku and Zen are brother and sister, almost eight years old, and getting to that "sleeping most of the time" stage of their lives. I felt no need to "cat-proof" the balcony, although I probably would with a rambunctious kitten. Their requirements are met, we're all OK with the litterbox situation, and there is still plenty for them to look at...

Like our first hummingbird at the feeder!

This birdhouse has sheltered several generations of chickadees, titmice and sparrows in turn. Hopefully it will be discovered here. I love the "happy accident" of its reflection in the mirror on the storage room door, allowing me to watch from the living room.

So far I love apartment living; I miss my washer and dryer the most, but love the endless hot water, low heating bills, and the nearby grocery store, nursery, movie theater and light rail station. I've lost more than the weight of my mortgage; for once I feel as though I'm living within my means and touching the earth more lightly as a result. There is now room for new things in my life, and I'm starting to discover them.

It was less than four months ago that I began this final stage of life re-engineering, in the autumn of a tumultuous year. Now it's January,  and I'm home. There's a feeling of spring in the air and a strong sense that everything is going to be OK. Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Friday, December 17, 2010

EnSeven Heaven: My New Garden Takes Shape

It is done. Two weeks, one jeans size, and countless loads of STUFF sent in all directions, and my move from a 3-bedroom house (with several thousand square feet of gardens) to a 2-bedroom apartment (with sixty square foot balcony) is complete. This would not have been possible without the help of my family and friends, to whom I am unbelievably grateful. And I will go on record here and now to say that I will NEVER have that much CRAP again! Dissembling the garage about did me in...

As I wrote before, creating my new balcony garden was high on my list of priorities. It was a huge relief when the Maple and Fatsia pots made it up the stairs (I simply couldn't look) and were settled in their respective corners with no casualties. I ended up using about a dozen good-sized plants and another dozen small ones (succulents mostly) and they have filled the space quite nicely. Their previous home (a north-facing courtyard) got no sun in winter, so their airy new south-facing digs are suiting them VERY well.

I particularly love these beautiful dwarf Nandinas, which along with a foxtail asparagus fern on a stand surround the bubbling water pot. Additional sun has brightened their colors considerably; even on overcast days they glow.

One piece of advice I give to small-space gardeners is to lift things up and make use of their "middle ground." Using taller plants, and raising shorter ones (like this lush Dianella which sits on an up-ended pot) gives you natural nooks in which to tuck smaller plants, as well as more privacy. An old tile-top table built by my father for my grandparents years ago has become my new potting bench/Buddha shelter. The jute carpet remains one of my favorite parts of the garden; absolutely everything here I already had; the old becomes new again.

The decision to use just one seating piece (my old garden loveseat) and to angle it toward the house turned out to be a really good one. I can curl up like a cat in the sun, surrounded by plants, in complete privacy. From my perch it's fun to listen to my neighbor's comments ("Wow, look at that, and she only JUST moved in!")

Fun details like the birdhouse (hanging from a sturdy beam) and a string of lights add warmth and charm. I was delighted to find that the ivy in the Fatsia and Maple pots had grown many streamers, some several feet long, which I've started twining along the top of the railing. It's like they have been preparing all along to be here. It already feels like home.

Thanks for all the good wishes as I've been making this transition; I look forward to sharing my new little space from time to time. Oh, and "EnSeven" comes from my apartment number (N7).

Happy Holidays everyone!

Friday, November 26, 2010

Moving On...

Or, as Katherine S. White would say, "Onward and Upward!"
photo credit: Kelsey Cross
My house has been sold, close of escrow is December 15, and I have found a new place to dwell. As of the first of the month I will be living in an apartment for the first time since college, trading my lush gardens for a 6x10 balcony. Needless to say, this is a bit of an adjustment.

The good news is I have a wonderful collection of potted plants that are well-suited for this spot; I can indeed bring part of my garden with me. You have no idea how comforting that is.

Here is my promising garden-to-be...south facing with a nice Liquidambar tree between me and the next building. It is completely sheltered by the Spanish tile roof; in winter it is flooded with light, in summer it will be cool and shady.

My bubbling blue water pot, which has been running almost continuously for the last eight years, is coming along, and the potted Nandina will come right along with it.

Ivy from small pots behind the Buddha encircle the tree stump he sits on. This will relocate beautifully.

The Fatsia I bought the day I launched my design business is an anchor plant, and I have interesting plans for my carved Mexican posts from Santa Fe. (Hint, they don't have to be vertical, do they?)

I have the perfect spot for this red maple, and the mature Asplenium below it. My one plant-one pot philosophy of container gardening will make it fun to arrange and re-arrange.

My biggest challenge for this garden? No water out there...I have been utterly spoiled by an automatic drip system and will have to retrain myself. Where possible I will move things up a pot size so they have good resources; the sheltered location will also help. And it's not like it's a lot to take care of, is it?

So stay tuned...the garden will probably go in first, (priorities!) so it won't be long now...