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Inspiration

How I’ve made a garden on the balcony

I visited Vienna on business trips quite often. When had time I went to the markets and walking there I thought that if I lived here, I would buy these lovely pots of basil, rosemary, mint, lavender and something else smells crazy and would plant them on my balcony. It is warmer and sunnier here, than in Moscow. All this beauty can please me from March to November at least.

A year ago I moved to Vienna. When it started to be warm my idea came back to me. For some reason, that moment I imagined myself growing cherry tomatoes. God only knows why, for example, not cucumbers. I probably thought about a perfect taste of basil and tomatoes salad. Marc supported me in my idea. It is important he did so. I really needed the support of someone who is not as urban person as I am. I had no idea how to approach this. How to start? Buy seeds? Or small bush directly? How much water to give them? Do I need to use fertilizers for growing?

reason, that moment I imagined myself growing cherry tomatoes. God only knows why, for example, not cucumbers. I probably thought about a perfect taste of basil and tomatoes salad. Marc supported me in my idea. It is important he did so. I really needed the support of someone who is not as urban person as I am. I had no idea how to approach this. How to start? Buy seeds? Or small bush directly? How much water to give them? Do I need to use fertilizers for growing?

But I had to figure out how it works in the process already. I killed lots of seeds. I gave too much water to a chamomile, and not enough to basil. I planted seeds in a pot and they have grown up too close to each other. Quite often the final solution for me was just to buy the seedlings. Thanks God, close to home we had a greenhouse and small shop within it. 

I told Marc I wanted to have lavender. And we bought some. 12 small pots. But only at home I realised that each of them needed its own big pot! Not like three small bushes for one pot! So I got my Provence on the balcony.

Oh, it’s an incredible feeling when you are busy in your garden all day. Back hurts after, but you still feel sooooooo good.

Everything is planted, the sun shines and you have a lunch at the center of this beauty or drink coffee surrounded by flowers and herbs. Instagram like crazy everything around. And afraid to breath on your just planted strawberry. 

But all changes, because nature is still nature in any sense. Snow coming in April covered my tomatoes. I expected the worse, but we got through it. And then I noticed someone eating the leaves of my flowers. And them, these someones were there! Still when remember this picture it makes my skin crawl. They simply lived there, on my herbs: they ate well, slept and propagated. And I started the war!

In a couple weeks another “pleasant” personalities came. Wasps. These “friends” were totally in love with my lavender. As much that they decided to build a house right there, on my balcony. The wasp hive wasn’t part of my plans naturally. It just came as a bonus to 12 lavender pots.

Marc built me an auto-irrigation system, so I could do not go to the balcony a week or two and be sure my plants had water. Of course in two weeks I could discover them overgrown by another ones. Weeding them I learnt in the same time how to do not respond on wasps flying around, not really small spiders crawling out when you do not expect, and of course I tried not to think about beetles in the ground. I love nature, but I’ve never worked so closely with it!

So, this summer I was eating my own grown cherries, strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, rosemary, basil, onion, drinking tea with thyme and melissa. There was a whole sea of lavender in my life. It was an incredible experience! But I made a conclusion for myself: your garden is not only a pure happiness, it is also a lot of lessons you have to learn.

  • Herbs and flowers are alive and can be sick. You need to know how to treat them and when you can do it. If you’re a fan of eco and against any kind of chemistry, it complicates the issue several times.
  • There are a lot of living beings who love your garden as much as you do. And they’re also part of the nature just like you. We must learn to coexist peacefully. Of course not next to the hive, but with wasps and bees who also love your lavender.
  • If you miss the right moment and not properly affect on he pests, you may lose the flower. And throw away just 2 weeks ago gorgeous blooming rhododendron. And discover several days later that the same problem occurs with the plant in the next pot. Because the problem is not solved yet!
  • You may do stupid mistakes like after manual use forget to put auto-irrigation system on automatic mode. And find n 3-4 days all your flowers dying. After such case I nursed them for a week.
  • You may get your long-awaited tomatoes. Then wait every day they turn red. But after you can look at them and be afraid to pick it. Because you have wasted so much energy, because they are so important for you now, because they are yours and you can eat them anytime, finally because what the hell you are doing, you cannot buy tomatoes in a supermarket or what? It is crazy, I know. But I tell you, you just do not want eat them! Just do not want!
  • It is completely different situation with herbs. I proudly take scissors and go to the balcony to cut some rosemary when I cook fish. Or when I make tea to get some thyme. They are two big pots with huge bushes. I love these moments! Oh God how these herbs smell!
  • When the autumn comes the lavender dries up. Wasps fly away. Beetles stays but hiding (or maybe I won the war – I do not know). The nature falls asleep. I read that tomatoes will not survive anymore, they have to be thrown out when it gets cold. Everybody including me may have a rest. But it’s still sad…

We move to the new apartment, to where I probably will take just a rosemary. I love this bush. Marc says lavender will double next year. He knows what he says. I will miss my lavender… and remember my own Provence when I see the fields in South of France. Remember this perfect moment when I touched something really beautiful.

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