Well before I had an actual garden to plant in, I lived in a series of apartments. This didn’t stop me from growing and acquiring plants. I began with houseplants. Some lived to tell the tale, while others unfortunately ended up in the dumpster.
Eventually I moved into a unit with a balcony. It was like I’d moved to the Taj Mahal — even though the apartment was just a dingy one bedroom, I had outdoor egress! Hence, I had a place to dabble with growing outdoor plants.
At the time I was a chef, so the natural progression was to grow something edible. I began with herbs and because I had a sunny lanai, my experiment met with success. I had a basil plant that was the size of a shrub!
As my confidence grew, I began to grow other plants: cherry tomatoes, a pepper plant, some greens.
I was a catering chef, so everything I made had to not only taste amazing but look elegant as well. To this end, I used many of my homegrown herbs and also started growing some edible flowers such as calendula, pansies, and nasturtiums.
After a longgg day at work, my cluttered balcony beckoned me. I puttered on the patio amongst the greenery and forgot all about the stress of the day. I felt at peace, yet elated and proud of myself. I had made this!
That was all a lifetime ago, but I still grow herbs and edible flowers, albeit in a garden bed. I’ve never really lost my interest in container growing however, and I still have all the pots I accumulated back when it was my only option.
So every year, I still fill pots with colorful combination of herbs, veggies and annuals. I even throw a perennial into the larger containers to add dimension and color.
And every late spring when I get ready to plant my containers, I’m reminded of a time not so long ago really, when I made a tiny balcony look like a jungle and all the lessons I gleaned from that experience. It makes me happy all over again!