Saturday, April 22, 2006

Balcony gardening

I recently moved from a house with a good sized back yard to an apartment with a balcony and I took as many of my trees with me as I could. I had already started container gardening as we were planning on moving soon and so last summer as I was getting some of the trees and shrubs I wanted I kept them in containers with that in mind. We weren't sure where we would end up or even whether it would be a house or an apartment. As it turned out my husband and I separated and I moved into an apartment. I am on the 3rd floor and the balcony gets morning sun and then it's in the shade for the rest of the day.

So what did I bring with me. Well lets start with my maples. I have a Samurai Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum Shigitatsu Sawa) , a Shojo Namura Japanese Maple (Acer palmatum Shojo Namura) and a Full Moon Maple (Acer japonicum). They all had to come of course. Then I have a Red Heart Hibiscus (Hibiscus syriacus Red Heart) and a Blue River II Hibiscus (Hibiscus moscheutos Blue River ll) , 2 Rhodo's and 2 Azalea's. One of the Rhodo's is called Bow Bells (Rhododendron x hybrid Bow Bells) and the other I'm not sure of and with the Azalea's one is a Roseshell (Rhododendron prinophyllum) and the other is a purple variety called Purple Splendor (Azalea j. - Gable Hybrid). The Roseshell is highly scented and has a real clovey smell that I just love. I have a Grace Smoketree (Cotinus x hybrid Grace) and 2 kinds of Hydrangea, the Climbing Hydrangea (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) and one called Pink Parfait (Hydrangea macrophylla Anderson) that has a gorgeous pink flower and finally a Tree Mallow called Lavatera x clementii Barnsley.

I was going to get some annuals to put in the pots with some of them and then decided to use small ground cover type shrubs instead so I picked up Creeping Raspberry (Rubus calycinoides) which I put with the Red Heart Hibiscus, Kramer's Red Heather (Erica x darleyensis Kramer's Red) that I put in the same pot as the Tree Mallow (which a slug attacked and I'm hoping I won't lose), a Bearberry Cotoneaster (Cotoneaster dammeri) in with the Full Moon Maple and some Candy Tuft and Gracewort in with the Samurai Maple. I also picked up a pot of chives to have up there as I do like them in salads and tuna sandwhiches etc.

Most of the trees have leafed out except for the Smoketree and most of the shrubs are doing the same with the exception of the Hibiscus. The Tree Mallow was doing fine till the slug got to it and he took a ride off the balcony so hopefully he won't be back!

The plan now is to keep a gardening journal complete with pictures to see how the plants make out on the balcony and how much the trees grow being in containers. This is their second year.

It doesn't leave a whole lot of room on the balcony but there is room for two chairs and a small table between that doubles as a storage area to keep gardening tools and it holds my small water feature and a candle. My son smokes out here as well as we don't smoke in the apartment at all. So this is the start and I'll try to get fresh pictures up weekly to see how things are growing and liking the balcony!

I found a curly hose at Walmart that stretches 50' and attaches to the kitchen tap so I can now water much easier than running back and forth with jugs of water.