A few months ago, the lady who lives across the hallway from us very kindly gave us one of her old windowboxes (and a hideously orange sun lounger). Since then, we’ve been building up a small garden on the balcony and as the first few plants just approach maturity, we thought now might be a good time for an internet guided tour! So sit back and enjoy!
Assorted wild flowers
These are the first flowers we planted. It’s a wildflower mix by N.L. Chrestensen (warning: incredibly incompetent web design) which is supposed to double as bird food – once the flowers have gone to seed, you can dry them and put them on a bird table. Very quick growers – we planted them at the end of April, and by mid-May the whole planter was choked with sprouts. They underwent a bit of a dying out then, which thinned out the numbers enough that they could all survive together. Incredibly thirsty, especially the tall frondy flowers at the back, which wilt if you so much as glance away for a second.
Unfortunately, I didn’t keep the packaging for these seeds, and the N.L. Chrestensen website is so rubbish that I can’t actually find a list of their different seed mixtures. It’s a shame, because they’re good looking flowers.
Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena)
These plants came free from the Red Cross, of all places, as some sort of thank you for donating. I planted the seeds evenly across the entire leftmost third of the planter. For one reason or another – shade, water, uneven planting depth, only the ones in the corner seem to have sprouted. I should probably try to thin these a little soon.
Lavender, and a mysterious invader
So, the rest of this planter is supposed to be dedicated to lavender (in the hope that it will repel the mosquitoes come August). But although a few sprigs of lavender have peeked up through the, as you can probably see, it’s certainly not dominant.
I don’t know what the invader is. It started sprouting well before the lavender did (almost a month before, in fact) and it’s growing ferociously. It’s easily the tallest plant in our windowboxes, and it keeps growing. It’s technically a weed, but it’s a handsome weed, and I really want to know what it’ll grow into. It can stay for now and, if worst comes to worst and it strangles out our lavender, Rewe sells pots of it for €2.
Garlic chives ‘Wagners Kobold‘
Garlic chives are commonly used in East Asian cooking. You can use the leaves like chives, and you can use the stalks like garlic or spring onion. They’re chives, what more do you want?
Tomatoes! (Unknown varieties)
Finally! We can’t take all the credit for these – they were planted by Dove’s colleague, who ended with more than she could keep. Sadly, the middle plant came in a very small pot indeed, and either we were too late repotting it, or it was damaged in the process. Either way, it seems to be thoroughly dead. The other two are doing incredibly well – they’ve now outgrown even the metre-long bamboo stakes we had to tie them to – and they’re bearing fruit!
This photo’s actually a few days old. The fruit are bigger now, about the size of cherry tomatoes. I’m not sure exactly how big they’ll grow – in fact, there seem to be two cultivars of tomato plant here, one with indented leaves and one with round leaves, so one could produce bigger fruit than the other. The mixture of very hot, intense sunlight and very heavy rain this summer has made them shoot up quickly, and hopefully they’ll be ready reasonably soon; they’ll need perhaps another two or three weeks before they’re mature, and then I can make tomato soup. Fingers crossed.