Friday, March 30, 2012

The Story of Our Balcony

I love our balcony. Our lives would be much different without it. It's abnormally large for a typical condo or apartment balcony and basically an extension of our our living space. I was looking at some old pictures yesterday and noticed quite a few balcony pictures over the years. Don't worry, I won't share them all. But, here is a photo story of our balcony over the past four years we've lived here and the beginning of the fifth.

First year
Second year-- can you tell I was on bed rest and could spend all day planting one flower?

Second year--  a few months later with broken dryer and spitting-up infants
Second year-- first snow!

Third year-- spring
Third year-- fall
Fourth year-- ball practice

Cal kisses Ava

Summer escape

Nighttime rodeo grounds

Favorite picnic spot

Bubble-blowing lesson

Fall wrestling match
Fifth year-- toy parachute man stuck in tree

The flu aftermath

February popsicles

After dinner drinks

Brief magnolia tree blossoms

We've had an unseasonably early spring this year and so I've been in a gardening mood now for a month or more.  Our magnolia tree lasted only about two days in full bloom and then the angry sun (I think it reached 90 degrees) burned the beautiful pink blossoms away. Nevertheless, I've been dreaming of having a lush, pretty balcony this year. Not that it's usually frightfully ugly, but last year the boys were really into eating potting soil so I couldn't do much beyond the flower boxes. I'm hopeful that we'll get a little more sun this year since two surrounding pine trees died and had to be cut down last fall. So I've planted some veggies and herbs in hopes of having a little more sun and being able to eat some homegrown produce-- something I really miss from growing up. You just can't beat running to the garden for a snack of fresh carrots and sugar snap peas, hosing them off, and crunching on them whenever you want. Oh, and getting lost in the raspberry patch. 

My parents are still big gardeners, especially with much more land at their new house and for my birthday they are helping fund a more bountiful and beautiful balcony. I did some research about shade plants and ordered some. I got two bleeding heart bushes, a fern-ish plant, and some English primroses that should thrive in a partial/full shade setting. With them I'm mixing in some lettuce and spinach, basil and cilantro, and probably some begonias. I have a mini iris plant that was a gift. I also have some peas that I originally thought we'd just watch sprout in a bag with a wet paper towel and throw away, but I couldn't bring myself to toss them out. Now they're huge! They need sun though, so I'm not sure if they'll be able to flower and produce actual fruit. A few years ago I had lovely, big tomato plants that never had any tomatoes. I'll add some more plants as I haunt Home Depot (though I do wish the gardening section was closer to the ceiling fan section.) and keep taking pictures of how much my plants grow because I'm a little garden-dorky. I also want to make a compost bucket for the balcony. I found a model for making a balcony compost bin, but I'm just not sure I'm willing to give up the space and risk the boys getting into it. 

Here are some garden balcony pictures from this spring since you haven't seen enough balcony pictures already:

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