That’s good ole’ Hens and Chicks to me and you.
When budgeting for plants I keep a mental list of plants I would not pay more than 3 bucks for. Plants like basil, oregano, thyme, sedums tend to fall into this category. And most especially hens and chicks. In fact I don’t think I’ve paid more than 2 bucks for a puffy container of these reliable and mega-easy succulents.
But with a name like ‘Pacific Sexy’ I couldn’t NOT fork out the $7.99 + applicable taxes for this little number. Because, HELLO, it’s name is ‘Pacific Sexy.’ And it sparkles an iridescent red when the light hits just so. And by “just so” I mean after 10 minutes of tilting and adjusting. Plus it makes a mean cappuccino and feeds the cat when we’re away.
Next time I’ll just name the 2 dollar variety ‘Hot Baby Disco’ and save the 6 bucks.
I have a great deal to tell you about the gardening I have been doing over the past weeks. But before I can do that the marginally anal retentive side of me demands that I address my appearance on The National last night. The segment was arranged at the last minute and we had not yet done our seasonal clean-up so there was winter junk strewn about. I had hoped the camera guy could do some “creative” in-camera editing but knew that probably wasn’t the case since he was using a very wide lens. When he walked over to the far end of the deck to take shots of the whole thing I knew my dirty secret was blown and that viewers across Canada would see that sometimes my little rooftop oasis looks like crap! And I imagined that they watched the segment and thought to themselves why go to the trouble when it looks so awful.
In an effort to ever-so-slightly redeem myself in the eyes of the world I present to you photographic evidence that a rooftop container garden IS a beautiful thing.
You can see lots more pictures taken of the rooftop garden over the years on my Flickr account.
I spent Saturday doing hardcore gardening work including prepping the fire-escape windowboxes for planting. On Sunday afternoon I purchased a few plants for the boxes and decided to get them planted up rather than wait for additional plants. Check out what I found buried by our friendly neighbourhood squirrel:
A sign of the times. Last year peanuts, this year an entire slice of pizza!
I know it was a new addition because not only was it still intact but I had just dug that spot yesterday. There was also evidence of squirrel digging on the other side of the box.
The location of the squirrel pizza.
Growing succulents in the window box on the fire escape portion of my rooftop garden has become a tradition — most likely because they are just about the only plants that can survive the intense sun, heat, and drought. The deck is fully exposed to all sorts of harsh conditions but the fire escape area takes it to another level with black metal railings that absorb the sun’s rays throughout the day. And of course I had to go and make it worse by installing a galvanized metal window box to boot.
I try and mix up the plantings every year with the one requirement that the plants can survive. Plants that make it through both the summer and winter are given an easy retirement in less sunny pastures. I was shocked to discover a lavender from last year’s box still kicking it this spring.
From the Front:
Clockwise from right front: Sedum reflexum ‘Blue Spruce’, a sedum that keeps coming up all over the place, Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’, Sedum acre ‘Golden Acre’, Sempervivum, Sedum spurium ‘Dragon’s Blood’. Hidden Behind: Sempervivum and Sedum album ‘Coral Carpet.
From the Side:
Previous Boxes: 2005, 2004.
Future Boxes: 2007
As promised, a few photos of my rooftop garden in June.
In the foreground you can see lemon cucumber, tomatillos, and peppers.
- A full view from underneath the gazebo – Facing north.
- Facing west
- Facing west (closer) – Sweet and hot peppers in the foreground with purple tomatillos in the grey, oval-shaped container and a tomato in the larger grey container (right side). That’s ‘Siam Queen’ basil hanging out the front of the tomato container. To the left you can see another large grey container (white tray underneath) with a tomato plant and some red rubin basil. It’s hard to see in this pic but I’ve added a decorative trim of twigs that I bent into an oval shape. I did a similar thing to protect the peppers (foreground) from the raccoons that insisted on digging the seedling up every night. Worked like a charm.
Fire escape silver boxes – The box on the left has lavender and various succulents while the box on the right has miniature curry plant and portulaca. The plants underneath are various basils, nicotiana, tangerine gem marigold, and green sausage tomatoes. There’s a silver fir tree tomato hidden back there too. It already has one small tomato!
- An old washbin holds beets, chives and catmint. – This looked exceptionally great when the chives were blooming. I need to fill in that bit of space with something flowering.