Tuesday, February 26, 2008

When gardening seems like housework...

It seems that spring is here. We've had temperatures around 12-15° centigrade, and despite a sudden dip when it dropped to 1° overnight, killing off the surfinia I'd nursed all through the winter months but had recently uncovered, things are starting to grow again. The pansies have doubled in size, the biennials and perennials are putting out new foliage...

and the sedum is covered in flower shoots.

The bulbs I planted last year are also all well on their way. Look - who's this poking his head through? It's the Monster from the Deep.

Unfortunately though, spring also means spring cleaning. Balconies get mucky - especially in a horrendously polluted city like Milan - and believe me, cleaning a balcony is no more fun than cleaning the kitchen. But now's the best time to do it really thoroughly, before all the containers go back in place, get filled with plants and become difficult to move.

So last weekend saw me out there with my bucket of Ajax, washing down the railings and all the shelving that the containers sit on. And next weekend is the turn of the containers themselves, which need emptying, washing out and disinfecting - important to stop the spread of any diseases from last year to this year's plants.

Then I need to wash the plants. Yes, them too. As rain only comes onto the balcony in a really severe storm, they get just as dirty as the balcony itself. And it's a job I hate. I am not a patient, precise person, and standing for hours gently cleaning one leaf at a time is not my idea of the fun side of gardening.

That done though, there's only one job left - I'll have to get rid of the old soil. Luckily I only have to carry it all downstairs, as it can go in the garden underneath the balcony. Last year quite a lot of seeds seemed to have got themselves mixed up in it. Funny that.

And then, with all the clearing up done, I can finally start again. Pass me the trowel someone.


CanadianGardenJoy said...

I know what you mean Sue .. the part I least look forward to is Spring clean up. It may take a couple of days to do a good job.
I don't cut down a lot in the Autumn .. I think most plants here can use the extra protection .. thus the price I have to pay in the Spring .. BIG sigh !
Good post !

Aiyana said...

Your spring chores sound like a lot of work! I feel the same way in spring. It is the best time of year as far as the weather, but then, I have to deal with millions of weeds--mixed in among the wildflowers.

Katarina said...

I've never seen a foxtail lily, but it sure seems to be an amazing plant! I can't wait to see more of it!
Spring is here as well - with meantemperatures around 5-10 degrees.
/Katarina at Roses and stuff

Cheryl said...

That is such an interesting post. I have never thought about what is involved with balcony gardening. It really has opened up my eyes.

Seed bank donation was really interesting to. I will be back to see how many people take an interest in it.

Tks for visiting today.

Unknown said...

Funny how those seeds snuck in last year, Sue... *grin* Any more make it down there this year? (Not that you know of, of course... just wondering what might have jumped into the soil while you weren't looking.) lol

LadyLuz said...

You're so right Sue, just like housework. The big winds we get here blow everything onto the patio, leaves and junk under the pergolas and paths and it's like painting the Forth Bridge.

But when it's all done, isn't it satisfying .....until the next time!

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