Archives for category: Herbs

It’s probably the best time of year. Fresh green foliage, the palest of pink flowers and the cat napping in his favourite spot. This corner of the balcony doesn’t need much preparation – the rose, the clematis and the pelargoniums manage on their own. I did replace the reed wind break this year though – and bought an extra chair for me.

The roses on Herzogin Christiana deserve some close-ups. Their apple and citrus scent is as crisp as you would imagine from these photos.

Late April and May tend to bring one heatwave after the other, and the roses sadly don’t last very long once the intense afternoon sun hits them. On the other side of the doorway, the climbing rose is also thriving (and blooms wilting).

It does offer some shade for my sage plant though. The neighbouring rosemary is coming back to life after I nearly killed by forgetting it in its supermarket packaging for about a week.

“Herb garden” is the name of the game this year – and making full use of it is the goal. I’ve planted french tarragon, basil and Jamaican black mint from the nursery, as well as chives and parsley that I’m trying to train through the wire shelf for ease of harvesting. Couldn’t resist a strawberry plant, though I tend to forget and dry them out, too. This one I’ve mulched with a layer of orchid bark and I may pot it up again before it starts to develop flowers. Missing from this photo are a couple of pots where I’ve sown some old dill and spring onion seeds, hoping they’ll germinate.

The boxes are for sowing rocket and lamb’s lettuce. This area of the balcony gets four to five hours of direct sun, which should be enough. 

I planted a half-mummified tomato from last year. It quickly sprouted and I picked out two seedlings to raise. The mini greenhouse is already getting too hot, so I’ll just use it as a nighttime cold frame from now on.

The balcony railing, with its full sun and heat, has usually been too much even for the mediterranean herbs, when left to fend for themselves for a couple of days. Single flowering rose Lupo does well here, though.

As do my old pelargoniums and a eucalyptus.

IMG_4523This solar-powered irrigation system from Irrigatia was a gift from my dear friend Ola and it’s up and running this year. I’ve initially installed it only around the kitchen garden area.

You can decide where you want the drippers and cut the tube accordingly, so a few can be grouped in large tomato pot, for example. I have high hopes.

 

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Two magnificent early flowers on the clematis, as the rest of the vine continues upwards. Read the rest of this entry »

IMG_2823Some veery skinny iris there, and a rosemary that may or may not have survived winter. The cat has his vantage point back, overlooking the street corner. Read the rest of this entry »

physalis alkekengiYou can’t keep a good balcony down. Eventually it recovered from its heat wave hiatus and I bolstered the surviving plants with a few seasonal acquisitions. Heather and chrysanthemum are given, but my favourite is the chinese lantern plant, physalis alkekengi. I was pleased to learn that it’s perennial and tolerates frost, so I transplanted it into a slightly larger pot lined with bubble wrap and hope that it’s a keeper. The bright orange calyces are exquisite, no wonder the plant has its own festival in Japan: hōzuki-ichi. Read the rest of this entry »

The weather forecasts say the temperature will drop to freezing in Berlin at the weekend, so I made use of the last (?) days of mild weather to prepare the balcony for the chill.

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Nothing ever goes quite to plan… Two days after setting up this blog, I was diagnosed with an illness – and suddenly the web was for treatment research rather than balcony blogging. It didn’t stop me from tending to and enjoying my container garden though. Next season, I’ll be able to share what I’ve learnt this year.

For now, here are some photos from the glory days of high summer:

An assortment of kitchen herbs is a must of course. It’s nice to have fresh herbs readily available for cooking, or nip a few leaves off to crumble between the fingers and sniff. The window ledge is a good location since it gets a lot of sun which most herbs prefer, and I can easily harvest what I need through the window.

Kitchen Herbs

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