It was a beautiful weekend with temperatures reaching into the low 70's. It was the perfect surprise February weather for a bike ride, a hike, a run, hopscotch, a picnic or pony ride.
But I was inside with bronchitis.
Boooo to bronchitis! It's a drag, man. As my adorable husband and friends were biking, I was cloistered away recouping.
I spent the weekend dreaming of spring. And yes, in a Ny-Quil-induced way.
I've lived in our fabulous building about 4 1/2 years and have one long suffering plant I call Robert. (Get it, Robert Plant?! Hey, Hey, Plant said the way you move....) He was a gift and I don't know what kind he is, except that he is a real trooper. He does quite well in the summer time, but right now he looks terrible.
Robert Plant just looked at me and said, "I might look terrible, but you're the one with bronchitis." Touché, Robert Plant.
I don't balcony garden because I grew up on a farm and had enough working in the dirt, so I have little interest in it. However, my sister in Ohio embraces her inner farmer and has a huge, thriving suburban garden which includes flowers, vegetables, and herbs. She grows it all organically. She also makes her own yogurt and knits her own socks from squirrel fur gathered from the trees in her yard. Okay, I made up that last part, but I think she'd be capable.
I've decided I'd give flowers a go this spring. No vegetables. When you grow vegetables, you're growing potential salads. There's pressure there. (My sister reminds me that she has several flowers she grows that are edible. It's like a florist shop in your tummy.)
Maybe you're like me and don't know what flowers would thrive on the amount of sunlight your balcony gets each day. I've done some research!
I've created the illustrations you see here. Sorta growing my own flowers with ink. No Miracle Gro required.
The best flowers for balcony gardens are those which are easy and flexible to grow and look beautiful. You can grow them anywhere in window boxes, hanging baskets or containers without any difficulty.
"Robert Plant just looked at me and said, "I might look terrible, but you're the one with bronchitis." Touché, Robert Plant."
Hm...they appear to have great confidence in me.
Suggested flowers for balconies facing toward the south and west:
The sun shines in its peak for about 6-8 hours and except tender shade loving plants, you can plant almost anything.
Lucky south and west neighbors!
Recommended flowers: dianthus, geraniums, petunias and their cousins with the overhanging shoots – surfinias, calibrachoa and million bells.
Million bells: what a wonderful name for flowers. "My million bells are doing so well, they'll be billion bells soon." Perhaps Warren Buffett grows them.
Also good choices for south and west residents: verbena, marigold, four o clock, chrysanthemum and roses.
Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett sang, "There's 4 O'clocks growing somewhere...."
More choices: blooming bougainvillea and portulaca.
Blooming bougainvillea. Another wonderful name.
"Deborah, you're smashingly beautiful. A real blooming bougainvillea!"
Suggested flowers for balconies facing east:
East facing balconies are better to grow flowers that love tender sunlight. If exposure of sun is about 6 hours, you can grow geraniums and hollyhocks. Daisies, daffodils, lilies, cosmos and verbena are good choice too.
We vacationed in Verbena and had a lovely time by the ocean.
Pansies love these growing conditions, nemesia is one more flower that you can grow in hanging baskets.
When it gets chilly, my nermesia acts up.
Apologies to botanists everywhere, but these flower names are too much fun.
Suggested flowers for balconies facing the north:
Drat! We North-siders have fewer options:
Although the choice of plants is limited, but to make such spaces beautiful you can compensate this deficiency with ornamental plants and some flowers that prefer shade.
Only few flowers will do well on north facing balcony garden. In annuals, you can grow all begonias, impatiens, fuchsia, larkspur and torenia.
The Eagles sang, "I'm alllllreeady begonia!"
In perennials, you can plant periwinkle, lily of the valley, Jacob's ladder, Violets (viola), and forget me not.
Fascinating fact: 3 of the 5 of these are Crayola Crayon colors.
Well, this sounds encouraging. And this silliness has made me feel much better!
If you're a green-thumb gardener, please leave me a comment on your best flower growing advice. Thank you!