Friday's Visual Treat - Day 5/Gardens to Cultivate


Almost anything can be pressed into service as a planter, such as wooden mixing bowls, coffee-cans, waste-paper baskets, plastic milk-crates, and so forth.  Experience has taught me that invariably the container which does not have a drainage hole(s) will end up somewhere on the balcony where through some fluke--either human or divine--the contents will turn yellow and die from over-watering.  Lesson learned: always drill holes, cover with pebbles, pottery shards, a layer of sticks/broken branches/leaves, and if nothing else is available when the urge hits you after the hardware store has closed, cut a square of burlap, lay on the bottom of the container and then fill with a mixture of potting soil and water gel crystals, that new invention which slowly releases water and eliminates multiple trips to the kitchen faucet and spilt water which can rot the wooden floor or puddles on the waxed linoleum.  Nothing is so pleasurable as walking down the street and looking up at the narrow balconies overflowing with vivid flowers, shrubs in mismatched pots, hanging baskets, tiny bistro tables and chairs, the sound of music and laughter through open French doors, and the chatter of brightly-colored parakeets.  New Orleans' French Quarter, Madrid, and Mexico City are cities with large populations in relation to square miles and every bit of one's house or apartment must be utilized in creative and ingenious ways; thus container plants crawl upwards and outwards, outdoor balconies become extensions of living rooms/kitchens/reading rooms and on occasion, pleasant places for an afternoon siesta. Tiny coffee-shops, sans overstuffed couches, offer just that:  a cortadito of two sips and then a quick goodbye. The rituals of everyday life become almost public, yet dignity prevails in the shared experience of urban living.  Quite a stark contrast to the modern mausoleum, cagily termed the McMansion--and hopefully a trend now past.  In said place, a life of sorts is played out behind a facade of sorts to applause of sorts.  Sort of..

Enjoy the visual treat, forget the rules governing color and just container-plant to your heart's content.  



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