Zen Luxury. Creating a Garden that is Lush. Easy. Peaceful.

Zen Luxury.  Creating a Garden that is Lush.  Easy.  Peaceful.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why My Garden is Better Than Your Garden

[I just wanted to know if that totally immature heading would be good marketing for my blog post today! lol]

Reasons why my garden is superior to yours (maybe):

  1. No animals that trample, eat or poop may enter my garden. That's because this garden is a second floor balcony and free from access by deer, moose, cats, big wheels, digging dogs and inquisitive neighbors.

  2. Easy care. I can water the whole garden in 7 minutes or less. I can trim and maintain the plants and flowers in about 10-15 minutes (or until the ice melts in my vodka).

Aww, don't hate me because I pretend to be smug on my tiny little patch of paradise.

How lucky are all of us who posses our own patch of green garden, no matter what size that garden might be?

That actually makes me think of a third advantage, though frankly, we all share in this one. It is MY garden. Mine to enjoy. Each and every one of you fellow gardeners has that very same advantage.

How cool is that?

Blog on!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Adding a Water Fountain to a Small Garden

I may have looked at hundreds of fountains on every conceivable website for fountains, birdbaths, and water features. I searched through every nursery and big-box store in my area. I considered turning a small ceramic "fish-pot" into a water feature (though one of my sisters said, "no, no, no -- just buy a fountain").

The fountains seemed categorized roughly into three markets:

  1. small tabletop (is that even safe to use outdoors? I figure "no") with prices in $50 - $150 range

  2. affordable resin in many shapes & colors, some with immersed lights, many with several levels for cascading water (and how am I going to clean out one of those?) with prices ranging from $70 - $300 and most models priced around $175

  3. expensive, large stone suitable for estates and circular driveways with prices beginning at $800 and moving upward into that zone known as "Custom, Call for Pricing" (the cost of freight would exceed that base price)

My personal review of the above categories resulted in opinions of too quiet, too easily broken and just too damn large and heavy (respectively). This should be a simple thing to find -- a feature to bring the calm, gurgling sounds of running water onto my balcony.

I found a cute ceramic fountain with the best features of all categories. With only 4 pieces, it is easy to clean and took just a few seconds to assemble on my balcony (in the dark no less). It holds about one gallon of water, has an adjustable water pump and makes a lovely sound. It is ceramic (oh, be careful!) which is good feng shui. Best of all, the fountain is only about 20" high. Very cute. I had hesitated thinking that this might be too tiny. My fears were unfounded since this ceramic piece has the "feel" of an artisan with an undulating shell pattern, varying hues of blue, and, to me, an endearing appeal of looking handmade. There is no Made in China sticker on this [not that there's anything wrong with that...]. Goldilocks found just the right size.

I got so excited that I took a flash photo in the dark about 3 seconds after setting up the fountain (see first photo and oh yeah, does that ever look swell next to the purple watering can, eek).

By the next afternoon, I had the fountain settled in very nicely (second photo).

I am amazed how much pleasure this adds to my garden experience. Difficult to describe, yet I'd say it has added another dimension to my enjoyment. Additionally, that subtle water sound is soothing. I would call that a Zen experience for me. After setting this up the first evening, I lit a candle and sat in my garden for, oh, about 4 hours. Just lovely.

Feng shui dictates that the flow of water be directed towards my door and that suits me just fine.

I Like Bee Butts and I Cannot Lie...

Well, yeah, "bee butts".

If I see those, then I know my garden is attracting lots of bumble bees. I have two varieties attending to my garden. One is plump and fuzzy, mostly black with a bit of bright yellow. I started with one and now he visits with one or two other bees. The other variety is a more slender bee with even black and subdued yellow stripes. A "yellow jacket"?

Apparently they prefer different flower nectar.

I am greatly amused to see the Full Immersion approach of the bumble bees when it comes to the torena (see last photo).

July 3 -- Jewel Colors and Lush Plantings on the Balcony

Two things I've learned this season: (1) I'm a bit crazy about those deep, jewel colors in the garden, and (2) I'm getting better with my camera [most of those garden blogs out there set the bar pretty high].

To show how LUSH my balcony garden has become, I took two photos from my patio chair. I still have a few things I wish to "do" to make my small garden feel more complete, but hey -- this is real nice for right now!

Looking left you will be able to perceive the two levels of planters. It's not quite so clear on the view to the right. I get a kick out of looking at the plantings on the balcony to the right. She replaced the yellow plants with red geraniums.

Yes, the elephant ear bulb has come up nicely. I am enjoying the size of those leaves. I swear one frond grew about an inch during my session on the computer.

What's Eating You?


I remember hearing that question a thousand times, "What's eating you?" or maybe even, "What's bugging you?"


I got a bit too much insight on that today. What the heck happened? It got really hazy, hot and humid and I missed looking at my plants for a day? Look what happened...

Luckily the damage seemed confined to the sweet potatoes and the calla lilies. I did the total organic "thing". That is, I yelled and then shook the plant leaves. Beetles fly away pretty quick.

I'm keeping an eye out for a return.

June 23 the Color and Texture of a Garden

As I've stated elsewhere on this blog, I'm not a big fan of Symmetry. Oh sure, it has its place and I have witnessed some stunning landscapes done with pleasing symmetry.

It's just not for me.

In these photos, you can see how I've mixed silver-grey foliage with blues and purple flowers, set against complementary colors from the opposite side of the color wheel to create an impact. I've added dark foliage, variegated foliage and lacy trailing foliage all to add variety.

Though I am a beginner, I hope you can see evidence of some dark foliage and deep jewel tone flowers to offset the lighter pastels of small flowers.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

June 21 - the Mature Garden

LUSH garden?

Mission accomplished! This first photo is looking left with part of the middle window box and only a portion of the lower hanging basket. This is a SMALL section of my lush zen garden!

I am humbled every morning when I come onto my balcony to take a photo or two. Or maybe a dozen. I am enchanted with each emerging flower! The oriental lilies begin to open and the fragrance is wonderful.

Each flowering plant seems to thrill with its own beauty. Is this the "top" of the garden? Is the peak of its flowering performance? Only time will tell.

So far, it just takes my breath away. Every single day.