Flat diaries III. Gardening plans and memories – what next?

My balcony garden has gathered new additions since last time I wrote about it. I spent last Sunday planting dahlias and other pretty flowering plants both in my partner’s garden and here. While my beautiful green space is expanding, my mind too reaches its tendrils out to new plans and visions.

A shelf on the wall opposite my bed will host more house plants in here soon. I plan to buy it from Ikea, and I have already discussed the idea with the landlady. She is happy for me to plonk it on the wall, and to also put a nail in another wall for a dream catcher.

Watch out, The Range!
Come end of May, I’ll be storming in for some lovely bits to add even more bohemian feeling to my bedroom.

Old planters, new gardening plans

As summer is (hopefully!) drawing in, I’ll fetch some of those long planters from Adrian’s shed. I bought them last year to experiment with vegetables and edible greens. Being unemployed from March to June, with debts hanging heavily at my neck and no payment holiday for my MA loan, I struggled with mental health maybe more than ever before in my life. Growing lettuce, radishes, tomatoes, cucumber, peppers and other bits anchored me and gave me a sense of purpose. It feels appropriate to talk about this even more so as this is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK.

What I have in mind now is to try growing tomato plants in round, woven containers also bought last year. The tomatoes should enjoy all the light we’re getting on the balcony here. I’m waiting for the weather to look more like summer first. Right now, we seem to be having April showers in May!

Lettuce, herbs, even peppers – I look forward to giving them all a go this year too. Meanwhile, my chilly pepper has expanded so much on the lounge self that I think it needs a bigger pot.

Balcony planter (1)

One Sunday, two gardens and talking to plants

I left Adrian’s last Sunday telling the two azaleas, the lilac tree and the dahlia to grow beautiful and strong. They all found their new home in the ground on different occasions. Whenever I visit, weather permitting, I give his garden, which is still mine too in a way, a bit of attention, love and care.

And yes, I talk to plants, to pigeons, even to spiders when they suddenly pop up in a corner. Last year, I used to talk to the tomato plants in Adrian’s conservatory, whenever I gave them a bit of a shake for pollination. My fingers smelled of tomatoes every time I touched their long meandering stems.

A Romanian writer I know shared this week an image of his young lilac in white blooms. My lilac tree is purple, and my mind wanders to how, in following years, I’ll always bring back purple bunches of joy for my vase in the lounge.

This time, I brought three pots full of dirt, for my new acquisitions from Dobbies. Carrying these upstairs from the car, then all the following planting proved quite the workout!

Planting on balcony gardening plans(2)

Two pink over the rail planters on a Birmingham city balcony

Initially I thought I was going to dye my hair last Sunday when I got home. I couldn’t bear NOT planting everything I had a pot for! A big dahlia tuber, a small pink dahlia plant, some ranunculus and three new trailing plants found their new homes that afternoon.

Now, I have two over the rails pink planters growing. In summer, flowers and foliage will explode on stems crawling out. One hangs over in front of the lounge doors. I placed the other one so I can see it for my bedroom.

Balcony planter (2)


Meanwhile, my mini herbs jungle is thriving on the kitchen sill. The most relevant addition there is the bird poop that spreads now over the small window! With the amount of birds’ “treasures” gracing our balcony and now window, I think we should expect some good luck to hit us soon too. In Romania, we say that a bird “painting” you with their gift will make you lucky.

Kitchen herbs gardening plans

An unexpected visitor… sent to the park

Another unexpected event marked my Sunday last week.

Mixing dirt with compost, my trowel hit something with a crash. It was a snail shell. At first, I thought it empty. Then, as I was planting the trailing plants, this brave little creature started crawling about on my tray!

“Where do you think you’re going, mister? First, you’ll try eating my plants. Then the birds will eat you. Or you’ll fall and smash against the tarmac down there.”

Finishing off with what I was doing, I grabbed the brave snail and placed it on a small pot with the remains of some parsley bought from Morrison’s. It happily extended its eyes and seemed to be sniffing and exploring the stems and couple of leaves left. I could not resist but take a few snaps.

Next, I walked to the nearby park and left the small pot, now host to the snail, under the shrubs there. All the way, in the lift, walking down the street, I could not stop thinking how brave these creatures are. I was carrying it around and the snail kept exploring the parsley remains, without a care in the world.

I’ve had a love for these creatures since I was a child. Every late springtime in our big garden of the parish house in the Romanian countryside, my brother and I collected snails. No, we did not eat them or harm them in any way. Well, we only “detained” them for a while in grass filled plastic boxes.

I’m planning to tell the full story of this childhood quirk in my vlog next week. Growing up in the Romanian countryside nurtured such quirks which now glisten like jewels in my memory.

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