I have been doing some research on small gardens, alternative gardens, anything dealing with growing plants in small spaces. I finally landed on this really interesting website: Life on the Balcony, where space and weather are not deterrents for some hearty gardening—even on pallets! Francesco and I live in a one-bedroom apartment in a nice community. Our outdoor space is close to nothing: a 6” fake balcony. That’s right. What you see here is what we’ve got.
I was a bit disappointed at first. Granted, I was raised helping mom and dad take care of strawberries, rosemary and basil plants. I even remember that we each chose a fruit tree to care for: I went with the pear tree (I adore pear yogurt and juice), my dad got the cherry tree, my mom the apple tree and my brother…we ran out of fruit trees in our garden, so he adopted the apricot tree that sat triumphant in the middle of my grandparents’ garden. Not too shabby. [We sadly sold our home in Milano, Italy – where I grew up, but I believe my brother’s tree still exists].
As I was saying before I took a turn to the sentimental and nostalgic, I was disappointed with the outdoor space, but knowing that my green thumb was still very much in training, I did a little research and decided that we could still make a garden happen.
Mind you, before this little experiment, I bought a miniature orange tree. It lasted about a year, until my new kitten Diego, who is also my sous chef in the kitchen, ate the only two leaves the plant had ever had. I know. Sad story.
I charged on and went to the local hardware store and bought myself a flower box. I entertained the idea of just seeding flowers—lushious, colorful daisies, daffodils and gerberas. But I realized herbs would be much more in tuned with my style. I like flowers, but I love herbs. The decision of which herbs to seed was simple: basil, rosemary, sage and lavender. (I tried carrots and lettuce in pots, but always failed to get decent results). Had I thought more deeply, I would have added some thyme, too.
Believe it or not, my little basil plant that could brought me some happy times making delicious pesto that I used with pasta and that I added to tomato sauce in an attempt to emulate my grandmother’s pesto-pomodoro sauce. The rosemary adorned some mean pork and beef roasts.
As you can see for yourself, these plants are now in need of love. Not having space to keep them indoor, they survived a tough Virginia winter with snow, hail and ice. But it’s time to start over and welcome spring with open arms. What could I plant/seed this time?