This is going to be a bit different post from my previous ones. I do do other things in life as well as natural dyeing, although this particular hobby of mine has a lot to do with plants as well. I live in the city, but I’m a country girl at heart. Someday I would love to own a real garden but for now I have to make do with my balcony. In the beginning of the summer my flatmate and I started a project “city garden” and gave our balcony a makeover. I wish I would have a before picture but maybe it’s enough to say that the primary use of the balcony was to storage extra stuff. We wanted to have nice place to relax, maybe read a book and place where we could grow our own herbs.
I think we managed to do a pretty good job but not everything went according to plan. Before this summer I hadn’t realised that our balcony is quite shady. There was plenty of light in the spring but after the huge birch tree right outside our window got leaves, there was less and less light. On top of it all June was a very gloomy and a rainy month and that’s how most of the plants I had planted from the seed tragically died. Only the strongest ones survived and even those have suffered. It’s really hard to get anything to bloom on our balcony. Fortunately at least some of our herbs survived even though they are not even the half the size they were in the beginning of the summer. It’s so nice to use fresh herbs in cooking though.
My flatmate build a climbing tree for her cats from these old branches. Our balcony has glass windows so the cats can spend time here too, which they like to do very much. I had this idea of a vine growing up the tree trunk and it did kind of work. I grew these runner beans from the seed and they were one of the only plants to survive the gloomy June. They are still suffering a bit and they did not bloom at all, there was not enough light. The flower in the birdcage has done all right by the window. I believe that it’s called Sutera cordata ’Snowflake’ (lumihiutale in Finnish). It’s been blooming alright the whole summer but not so much anymore. The grey balcony carpet has been really great because the concrete floor feels really cold even in summer and the pillows make the place even more comfortable. It’s nice to have a nap here or read a book. I really feel we have used this small space well this summer.
Early in the spring I started dreaming about this kind of ladder where I could grow the herbs. These ladders can be quite pricey though (for a student budged). Luckily my dad is very handy and he build this ladder for me out of old windowsills. I love it!
So this is our little summer city garden. There have been good moments and sad moments with it. Have you got any experience with a shady balcony garden? What kind of plants would you recommend?