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Friday, June 7, 2013

In the Garden || New Spaces

As I mentioned before, Elsie and I moved last fall out of our house and into an apartment which also meant leaving behind our vegetable garden. Our new patio stayed in the shade all winter long and my failed attempts at getting our name on a community garden wait list had me hanging up my gardening gloves (at least for this season anyway). 


6 weeks ago (I know that only because I documented the discovery on Instagram), I discovered that by late afternoon, a sliver of my patio actually started to see sunlight. It was all the hope I needed, I set to work scrubbing the patio on hands and knees and carefully rearanging the few planters I'd brought with me from the old house so that they could bask in the sun. 

As the weeks passed the corner of sunlight grew little by little and I've been able to squeeze a few more plants in. I've also been enjoying the outdoor space as best I can. Once resigned to a heap of our outdoor clutter like my rusting bicycle and our dirty patio set, it's now tidy and livable and I spend every minute I can sitting in my corner of sunlight.


I know that this mini garden tour won't compare to my tours of the past but in the name of tradition, let me introduce you to some of the things that are growing in my new space. 

. . .

When we moved I didn't bring any of the house plants because I knew that our new place would not provide enough light for them to be happy. The only outdoor plants I brought were my succulent planters because they are sentimental (one of which is nearly 10 years old and was salvaged from my Granny's garden after she passed away). I've also collected a few special cuttings that live among the old growth...


The white rosettes are stonecrop I nabbed on a hike up Mount Finlayson with my sister B years and years ago. The sedum were taken from our old garden on Fern Street.


This little guy and the one below are both pinched from planters that my Mom had on her patio up Island. I wish I knew their variety, they're so lovely.




 This is a new addition to the patio, a birthday gift from my mom. It's Echeveria derenbergii.


Besides the succulents, I brought our hanging basket of strawberries and this cutting I took from one of the fig trees. It was actually a sucker that was growing below the soil line of one of the trees and therefor had developed it's own root system. I left the shoot long and gangly over the winter and cut it right back this spring. The inside was green with life and the pot showed signs of live roots beneath the soil so even though this doesn't look like much I'm not giving up hope just yet. 


When my friend Amy heard the news that a glimmer of hope had crept onto my patio she gave me her last Sweetie tomato start (this was last years tomato winner!). I am so excited to give this guy a home.


And to top it all off we've been enjoying the most beautiful sunsets from our patio.

It was pretty emotional for Elsie and I, saying goodbye to our garden, and the space we have doesn't really compare to the one we left behind but we're maximizing our growing space and making the best of what we've got.


How about you? Are you gardening this year? I'd love to hear what you're growing!


23 comments:

  1. This post made me tear up a little honestly! My mom is an amazing gardener as was her mom before her...I know how important for the soul it is to have at least a few "growing things" around! I envy you! I'm glad you have found that space in your new home.

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    1. It's so true Hannah. And to think I actually believed I could go without growing anything, now that I see how little it takes to fuel my need to grow, I'm so happy that I have the space I do because something is better than nothing.

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  2. I'm glad to see your patio gets some sun! I send good vibes your way for tomatoes and strawberries and all good things. I'm gardening this year, and even planning a blog post on it, but have to make the place look presentable before photos happen. It's currently pretty shameful! Evil weeds!

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    1. Oh boy, I can't wait to read your post Teresa, I am going to have to live vicariously through you this year!

      ...the year before last I covered the beds with the leaves we raked up and left them there as mulch all winter. When I went to plant the beds in the spring there weren't any weeds at all!

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  3. what a gorgeous sunset! i'm so glad you are flourishing on your patio! so SO glad! xoxo

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    1. Thanks Becs! Have you bought your patio plants yet?

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    2. i have!! and i love hanging out on the balcony now. it's one of our fave spaces these days! xo

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  4. I love this post, Jane. Let the sunshine follow you always!

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    1. Thank you again for the tomato plant Amy, Elsie was over joyed and she's thrilled that it has flowers on it. This little Sweetie is happy on our patio so far, let's hope we can give him the sun he needs to fruit :)

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  5. I love the succulents - they are my favorites! We have lots of fruiting bushes & trees - cherries, quince, gooseberries, currants, & raspberries. Sadly a combination of a black walnut tree & spending summers on the go has caused us to give up on our vegetable garden. I will say our house is anything but spectacular, but my favorite part is that we planted three cherry bushes & a quince tree as well as a honeysuckle vine over an arbor in the tiny front yard. I always feel a little magical walking under the arbor - like I'm passing into my own little hidden space. It helps that my daughter and I also added a bunch of planters with bright pink flowers there, too. :) It may not always be as we planned or as we'd like, but it can always be made into something special, right?

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    1. The nice thing about the succulents is that they are no maintenance and so drought tolerant, perfect for the gardener that is away a lot :) I envy all of your fruit trees and bushes, and your front garden sounds magical! I love gardens that make you feel like you're walking into another world <3

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  6. On the balcony you you don't have to worry about all those Slugs!!
    You need to plant lettuce! You know how satisfying it is if you can pop out the door a pick a quick salad for dinner!

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    1. You are absolutely right! I really need to plant some lettuce and take advantage of the anti-slug zone!!!

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  7. We have lived many different places since having children, but I have very fond memories of a shady, bland apartment patio we had when my daughter was small. She and I would "play" there in the evenings. All there was were my pot plants (mostly gifts from my grandmother) and a little sandbox with plastic dinosaurs buried in it. I think the rest we had there, the togetherness, the enjoyment made it beautiful to us. I feel a bittersweet nostalgia just thinking about that sweet time. Your daughter sees how you find the sunlight and beauty wherever you are. How you make a place beautiful. It may seem like an ordinary thing, but its a precious gift of example to give her.

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    1. Thank you so much Michelle, I believe you're right, and this gift is one I've passed on to her because she doesn't see the imperfections in our patio, all she sees is the loveliness. And there is something very special about not having sprawling space, the things we do grow are that much more special, and the changes that occur feel more exciting to us.

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  8. I've been living in a hotel for the past two years (long story regarding my boyfriend and his job...), so I've missed being able to grow things. On the other hand, it allows for something to dream about for the future.

    I love your succulent collection. They're so cute and I'd love to start my own planter of them. Hopefully sometime soon :)

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    1. Boy that would be tough! I can relate to the garden day dreaming though, I have a list in my head of all of the plants I would want if I ever had a garden all my own... the list keeps growing, and I know that someday I'll get there, even if it's on a smaller scale than the dream garden in my head. <3

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  9. I have a little 48 sq. foot vegetable garden. I have tomatoes, tomatillos, basil, cilantro, some peppers and some sunflowers in there. I have a pot of garlic chives on our patio. That's something you could grow in pots if you'd like. The person who gave me a start made me promise to always keep it in a pot--it spreads everywhere if you don't! I hope all your plants continue to thrive!

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    1. Bonnie your veggie garden sounds lovely! I am truly envious. It's funny you should mention the chives, yesterday I went on a mission to find a long skinny planter that I could hang from the deck railing (since I've used up all the floor real estate with my succulents). I filled it with herbs : chives, oregano, cilantro, rosemary, sage, and even an alpine strawberry.

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  10. Thank you for sharing this. I've been struggling with loving the outdoor space that I have, which isn't nearly the space I'd like to have. I'm working on appreciating it for what it does have.

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    1. Katie I think once I got past my idea of what our outdoor space could or should be and just made it a space we could enjoy I realized that it wasn't hopeless and that there were possibilities, just on a smaller scale! To be honest, the winter sun left me with expectations of a completely shady patio so when the sun started to creep onto the deck as it got higher in the sky I was over joyed. I guess it took admitting defeat only to find out I had something to work with after all.

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  11. A trellis will work, as well. Many plants love to grow up...peas, beans, sunflowers, sweet peas, cucumbers, tomatoes, lilies....if you place a large strawberry pot on the deck and then add a twig/metal trellis, you'd have the best of both worlds. Paint the pot black to absorb heat. The trick to patio containers is "large" so it doesn't dry out. Small and cute won't cut it-it just gives you bonsai size plants:) Good luck!

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    1. Thank you for those great tips! I wish I could do a trellis or larger pots but the sunlight is so limited I've been moving the plants around to maximize their exposure (I know it seems silly but I don't mind!). I've purchased a long planter and brackets to hang on the railing and that seems to work well (the sun hits the railing for longer periods of the day). I'm definitely having fun with it and making the most of the challenges of having a small shady patio :)

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