I used to be a balcony gardener. After a stint in Texas my next job took me back to the Northeast, and rather than commit to a house I opted for an apartment. My choices were narrowed down to a roomy bachelor pad with an excellent nighttime view of the city lights or a smaller two bedroom apartment in a quiet residential area. I chose the quiet life. My choice was partly because it was half the rent, but mostly because of the small balcony which came off the kitchen and overlooked the side yard. I knew I needed a spot in the sun but just wasn’t ready to buy and didn’t want the responsibility of taking care of someone else’s yard again. Who would have thought my stay would last over three years, and who would have suspected I could fit so much more than just the grill and a few chairs.
By the third summer things were completely out of hand. I tend to like fast growers and big leaves and none of those are a logical fit with a small balcony… but what the heck, I usually just grow things because I can and not for any well thought out plan or agenda. A rooted cutting turns into a butterfly bush, a trip down south adds a banana, a clearance sale brings in a staghorn sumac. Things add up quickly, but mercifully winter would usually wipe the slate clean. Plants have a hard time overwintering on an exposed, second floor balcony.
If there was any secret to how my garden grows it was the drip irrigation which snaked out from the laundry, slipped between sashes of the window, and clicked on every 8 hours and saved me from the boredom of daily watering. With the automated watering my plants were also saved from the almost certain neglected death due to a weekend away at the shore, a week traveling for work, or that gardener’s nightmare of a two week midsummer vacation. No returning home to fried and dead plants for me!
Strangely enough my landlord never questioned the green tsunami which overwhelmed my small balcony, and we all ended up becoming good friends. Coincidence that he and his wife ran a landscaping business? Who knows.
Eventually it became time to move on and the balcony garden was traded in for the next adventure. There’s an actual yard involved in this one but as usual delusions of grandeur made for a bumpy road. Live and learn I guess 🙂
Hope your winter is going well. It’s set to get warmer again this weekend and with snow melting almost as fast as it came my spring fever will be worse than ever. I’ve been sowing seeds again and a sensible person would have stopped this nonsense a few dozen packets ago.