Sunday, May 31, 2009

Pytte - the flower fairy

Meet my little friend Pytte! Doesn't she look like a little flower fairy? It's so fun taking photos of her on the balcony so expect to see more of them in the future.

Pytte's showing off the tomato.

Pytte in the hydrangea, just her colors.

No mommy, this isn't a strawberry!!! Strawberries are
round and red and you can EAT them, this is a flower!

Gardening (or in this case "balconing") isn't just about work.
You need to remember to rest and smell the flowers as well

My darling violet

Viola odorata 'freckles'

This little freckled violet is very dear to me. I've known it since way back in -95 when it was nothing more than a little seed imported from England (these days you can them in Sweden too though). I planted the little seed (and it's seed siblings) in my study in the apartment I lived then and when it was big enough it got to move to my allotment (kolonilott) where it got to stay for one summer only before we had to move again. Next stop was in an abandoned (but restored) flower bed in a very cold and hard climate ("Zon 7" if you're Swedish but that doesn't make much sense outside Sweden). Not the best place for a young little plant but it only had to stay for a year before we moved to a bigger and warmer garden. Finally it had a good chance to grow and blossom and later on I was able to share a part of my freckled violet friend with my mom.

Unfortunately I lost this garden because of my divorce but every spring my mom brings me a plant of this violet to keep on my balcony and later on in the summer it moves back to her garden to rest until next spring. I know that this particular plant most likely ISN'T the same plant that I've brought with me from garden to garden, it's more likely a grand-grand-grand-child, but it still gives me a feeling if continuity and reminds me of the gardens I've had and lost. It's the only thing that's left of my garden dreams but as long as it's blossoms on my balcony a little part of those dreams are still alive.

The big planting day!

Phew! Now I'm done with all the planting! It was a lot of work and way too hot but I'm really pleased with the result. I really DO need to get some kind if shading on my balcony though. It gets REALLY hot there when the sun reaches the balcony (even if I did most of the planting before the sun had fully reached around the house)

The corner

I call this part of the balcony "the corner". In the hanging flower box I've planted white runner beans /rosenbönor and sugar peas/sockerärtor. The runner beans are fast growing and will cover the trellis to block people's view (especially important since this side of the balcony faces a neighboring balcony). And well sugar peas are a MUST! I love munching on them! Yum! And since the balcony is my replacement garden things to eat are as important to have here as it was in my garden. You're supposed to be able to experience your garden or balcony with all your senses.

I've also put my two tomatoes in the corner. The small one on the chair is a cherry tomato called "Tiny Tim" and the one to the left of the chair is another cherry tomato called "Yellow Pear" (that will, surprise, surprise, get yellow, pear shaped tomatoes LOL) So far I've planted some of the sugar peas in the tomato pots but I might move them later. The big plant below the flower box is a Deadly Nightshade/Belladonna that my sister in law insisted that I HAD to have. LOL And I've sown some radishes/rädisor in the black empty looking pot (and even some in the flower boxes LOL)

The sign is left from my 40th birthday a week ago. LOL

The window

The window area looks pretty much the same. As you can tell I've moved down the hydrangea from the table. Hopefully it will get at least SOME shade here, it doesn't like all the sun and heat.

The thing covered with black ugly plastic is my electrical grill. I will try to come up with a fancier looking cover for it later.

A close up of the Hydrangea/Hortensia I got as a birthday gift

Parsley, starwberry and stones

The table

In these flower boxes I've planted runner beans and sweet peas/luktärt. The plants are quite gangly and unimpressive at the moment but hopefully they will start to grow soon. I also plan to add trailing lobelias/hänglobelior to the boxes later on.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A guided tour and the background

Lets take a guided tour of how my balcony looks right now. It's of course not at it's prime this early in the season. In fact I haven't even re-planted the seedlings yet. If I do that too early I can't bring them in at night if it gets too cold.

My balcony is 3,5 x 1,5 meters (use if you're unfamiliar with the metric system), it's facing west (which gives me WAY too much sun sometimes and makes the balcony too hot for both me and some of the plants), it's "open" on two sides and the balcony upstairs works as a roof. I moved here in the end of the summer of -06 so this will be my third summer with the balcony.

The first summer I put up trellises along most of the long side and one of the short sides (the other consists of a concrete wall separating the balcony from my neighbor's balcony), added furniture and of course a bunch of flowers and plants as well. I don't have any perennials on my balcony though, or at least none that I can keep on the balcony over the winter, so I start over every year with new plants.

Lovely pansies/penséer from the summer of -07
I've made the decorative heart myself.

The second summer (last summer) was a really bad summer from a balcony point of view since I ended up living in the middle of a construction area when they decide to build a new bridge and re-build the road outside my balcony. Everything got covered with a THICK dirt layer and there were no point in even trying to keep things cleans since it got just as bad the next day. Yuck! (And all the heavy machinery and all the road workers didn't make things more fun)

I still had a few plants that summer, like runner beans/rosenbönor and sugar peas/sockerärtor on the trellises (a must!) but not much. I managed to get hold of white runner beans this year though which I like a lot better than the orangey red I had the first summer.

See the nice, dusty piles of dirt and gravel?

Messy road work area

These photos are taken around 2-3in the night when the jackdaws
gathered on the huge crane (all the little dots on the crane are birds).

You can imagined that I really longed for this summer when I would get my balcony back! They're not completely done with all the building work though, I believe they're going to build new houses on the other side of the railway (behind the red house), but I don't think that dust will reach me. *phew*

This year I've sown more runner beans (from the white flowering beans I got from last years harvest), sugar peas and sweet peas/luktärtor. I've also bought two tomato plants (no reason to sow them yourself when you only nee two plants), I've also got 2 pelargoniums/pelargoner that's survived the winter indoors, some spring flowers borrowed from my mom's garden (that I will return to her when they've stopped flowering) and some other stuff as well. I also plan to get more plants later on.

On the table I keep this years pansies (not as fancy colored as the first summer) the hydrangea/hortensia and a big bowl of spring flowers. You can also see the tomatoes that I've just bought but not re-planted yet.

My windowsill with pelargoniums (the red one is a birthday gift), parsley/persilja and a strawberry plant (I assume my Swedish friends understands the word strawberry so no translation needed LOL) And of course some of my beloved stones. LOL

A tangled mess of seedlings, runner beans and sugar peas

The plans for this summer is first of all to plant all the seedling, to add more plants and decorations and HOPEFULLY put in new wooden flooring on top of the ugly, cold concrete floor I have now. I also look forward to documenting the balcony in the blog and sharing it with you.

Oh in case you haven't already noticed this, I CAN be a bit longwinded from time to time. Consider yourself warned! LOL

Welcome to my balcony!

Since I love to take photos of my balcony I thought it was a good idea to create a blog to make it easier to show them off to family and friends. And maybe even more important, to be able to look back on my lovely balcony in the middle of the winter.

Even though I love in Sweden I've decided to blog in English since many of my friends don't speak Swedish. I'm sure I will regret this every time I try to figure out the correct English name for my flowers. And to make the language confusion worse I want to post the names in Swedish too to make more sense for my Swedish speaking readers. Oh what I started? LOL

You're very welcome to comment in the blog, even if we don't know each other. It's the interactive connection and collaboration between the blogger and the reader that makes blogs such an interesting tool. (I read and reply to comments even for older posts)