As the warm days continue, July into August, it happens every year. At least every year that I decide to have a balcony garden. There were a couple of bare summers during the construction phases, but usually, by June I can't resist the temptation and spend many happy visits to the garden centres to choose whatever beauty I can find. It matters not whether it is a perennial or annual, as by August it will be exhausted from the effort of living. The wind and the hot direct sunshine take its toll.
My first years here, I had very little money, but I saved all my tips and once I had enough to buy a plant, off I went again to the garden centre. As a result it was a bit of a hodgepodge garden. I planted herbs in old tin cans decorated with labels of fruit, tomato and beans. Some architectural details and whimsy were added. A couple of old sash windows found on garbage day lay against the common divider behind the 'tinned herbs'. Several milk crates were covered with an old sheet and a colourful floral vinyl table cloth from the dollar store creating a terrace. I put out some lanterns and even a fish bowl filled with glass fish. Side tables had pitchers and some sturdy glasses as a permanent accent piece. Empty, colourful terracotta pots were artfully placed in a corner. My balcony is huge, 19' long but only 4' and bit deep. Many days, the laundry adds a bit of colour.
The fish bowl needed fresh, clear water every day unless I wanted to be scrubbing slimy algae off the glass fishes. The little plants needed several waterings a day. The cat ate anything that was spiky leafed. And drank from the fish bowl. Sometimes she lay in comfort between the sheets on the clothes horse, so I would leave them out days longer than necessary to provide shade.
I have learned not to use the small pots that fit so nicely into my plant stand with nine 4" rings. Even the larger planters need watering at least two, maybe three, times a day. As cruelly enjoyable as it may be to watch the withering leaves come to life again, to stand erect, eventually it all becomes too much and the limp plants succumb to the elements. You can almost see the exhaustion in their leaves, their ever decreasing petals.
In the morning it is nice and cool, and I have my breakfast outside before slipping back into bed for sleep. By the afternoon the heat is far too intense for me, even the blinds are drawn against the sun and the view. By evening, it is perfect. Warm, with the sun moving far to the NW over the escarpment. Sometimes, I can see sailboats or even a barge on the lake between the trees (which will, in a couple of years, block my entire view of the lake). I water my baskets one more time and sit out with a glass of ... something fruity ... For some reason it is very quiet here on the weekends. And if I don't look down I can forget that I am high up overlooking a concrete parking lot.
They have 10 days, this garden of mine. I'll enjoy every moment with what's still living as I can.
How are the rest of you enjoying your gardens?