We will be more successful in all our endeavors if we can let go of the habit of running all the time, and take little pauses to relax and re-center ourselves.
And we’ll also have a lot more joy in living.
~ Thich Nhat Hanh
Summer in My Little Garden
We are having a beautiful summer. The days have been a mixed bag of everything—sunny mornings, afternoon rain showers, perfect humidity, warm temperatures, deliciously cool evenings (perfect for a good night’s sleep), terrific storm clouds rolling in from the west in the late afternoons, bringing grand displays of lightning and crashing thunder, and quintessential calm summer days with blue skies peppered with soft animal-shaped clouds and a cool gentle breeze. I love it all. And, so, it seems, does my little balcony garden in the sky–it is thriving!
This post is dedicated to my dear friend, artist and photographer, Skylark.
Every summer I enjoy keeping a container garden on our high-rise balcony and I love it all summer long, but I find beauty in my little balcony garden in every season, including winter.
Rather than clearing out all my potted plants in late autumn, I purposely leave all of my plants to naturally dry and I allow winter to engulf them. Winters are cold here in Calgary, so nothing potted survives it except my two potted trees. I love the way the dried grasses and flowers frost up and the way they create beautiful shapes and organic sculptures as piles of snow cap the leaves and branches. I think the bare bones of my little trees look so beautiful too.
The many great gardens of the world, of literature and poetry,
of painting and music, of religion and architecture,
all make the point as clear as possible:
The soul cannot thrive in the absence of a garden.
~ Thomas Moore
The Joy of Small Space Gardening
Don’t let a small space, even one in the sky, deter you from gardening. Small spaces can yield a ton of beauty and enjoyment. The pleasure I extract from my small container garden on my balcony—watering it, dead-heading the blossoms and fussing over every single pot—is enormous. I love every plant in every container, big and small.
One of the early incarnations of my balcony garden, complete with a little pond.
A Surprise in the Reflecting Pool
We are having a gloriously early spring this year and I am starting to prepare my highrise balcony for the yearly planting of my container garden. I’ve been small space gardening up here on my balcony for many years—it’s one of my favourite summertime joys. Who says you can’t grow a garden in the sky?
One warm sunny day.
One lavender blossom.
And someone to appreciate it all:
I recently read a little blurb in one of our city magazines pronouncing Calgary to be a “Bee-Friendly City”. It stated that our urban bee population is thriving due to Calgary’s rich biodiversity of plant life and due to a growing movement to reduce pesticide and herbicide use around our city. A program called Bees for Communities has brought 400 new hives into Calgary to give backyard hobbyist beekeepers an opportunity to hone their skills under the supervision of an experienced beekeeper, and the City of Calgary Parks Department has instituted a program to plant more bee-friendly trees in the city. All these efforts add up to more urban bees.
My Little Balcony Garden in the Sky
Every spring, I plant a little balcony garden. It’s a small garden, composed entirely of containers that I arrange and cluster closely together. Typically, I plant out about 30 pots each year. Except for two Amur maple trees, nothing potted survives our cold winters, so I replant all 30 pots anew each spring.