I’ve been sporadically growing indoor houseplants for years now, but have never had the pleasure of my own yard or garden to expand to. Now that I’ve moved to Atlanta…well…I still don’t.
But I do have a miniature balcony – one that measures 2 feet wide by 10 feet long.
My balcony isn’t even large enough to put a chair on, but alas, it’s better than no outdoor space at all. It’s even better because the previous tenant actually left behind her old flower boxes, bird feeders, and a pot with a stand.
So on Wednesday afternoon when I wasn’t much in the mood for working (a rare but liberating freelancer moment!) I drove to Lowe’s to scout out their garden section. I’ve been watching the Atlanta weather and am feeling fairly confident that the temperatures won’t dip below freezing again anytime soon.
I desperately wanted to try growing vegetables, but feared the lack of all-day sun and small space would kill them straight away. So I settled on some cilantro, basil, and mint for herbs and impatiens and begonias for flowers.
After getting home with my new plants, the first step was to clean out the dried-up planter boxes that had been left behind. I had picked up a big bag of potting mix in the garden center…one that promised to “grow plants TWICE AS BIG!”
Since the only way to access the balcony is through the carpeted living room and is barely big enough to stand on, I set up my gardening project outside the garage in the “front yard.” And then proceeded to carefully carry everything upstairs and through the house…no spills!
Soil goes in, herbs go in, more soil goes in, water, and repeat.
I’m hoping to toss some basil and cilantro to some dishes while cooking and sipping mint mojitos. Seems reasonable, right?
According to the little tags, all three of my herbs like part sun (3-6 hours per day) and part shade. My balcony faces southeast, so I figured this would be a safe bet.
Next for the impatiens! I remember my mom growing lots of impatiens around the yard as a kid. They’re inexpensive, easy to grow, and don’t need much sun. In fact, they prefer shade. We’ll see how they do with part sun and part shade in the balcony box.
I’ve always been a fan of hanging basket plants because they’re already living in a decent pot and are visible from far away. This is a pink begonia that likes morning sunlight only…or so I’m told.
But let’s be honest here. One of the biggest reasons I’m interested in gardening is because of the garden gnome opportunities that go along with it. Fortunately, I had a few gnomes-on-sticks lying around to stick into the herb and flower planter boxes.
So for now, this is what my balcony looks like! A welcome improvement to the drab, plantless-void that was here just a few days ago.
I’m happy to share that I’m one of the first gardeners in my apartment complex to put out plants for the season. Maybe they’re lazier than I am…or maybe they know something about typical weather conditions that I don’t know. We shall see!
But for now I’m pretty happy with my miniature balcony on the third floor. As long as the maintenance staff isn’t going crazy with the leaf blowers (that seems to be a big problem on Mondays), it’s peaceful here. Birds are chirping, traffic is low, trees are in the distance, and cherry blossom trees are starting to bloom nearby.
Stay tuned for gardening session #2, where I’ll take this abandoned pot of dead rosemary and transform it into something awesome to sit in the corner.
Armed with plant food, extra soil, and a watering can, I’m determined to make this the best damn mini balcony in the south.