This week I have been watching the trees nearby my apartment fill in with fresh green leaves and flower buds. In contrast, everything on my balcony is coated with a heavy layer of winter dust. Magpies have been tossing around the wood chips from the surface of the planters.
So far, my only nod to spring has been filling large plant saucers with water for the birds. Robins, sparrows, and messy magpies are regular visitors. Flickers, house finches and waxwings drop by when they’re in the neighbourhood.
Now that it’s time to clean up my little Eden, it’s also time to have a peak at new books on small-space gardening.
Small Space Gardening for Canada by Laura Peters comes from Lone Pine Publishing in Edmonton. Peters explores the many gardening possibilities open to city dwellers, including common property for the building, roof gardens, walkways and community gardens.
She offers instructions for making your own self-watering container and a generous section on edible plants (my favourite).
If you are looking for container planting with pizzazz, check out Pot it Up: 150 Fresh Ideas for Beautiful, Easy-to-grow Containers by Frankie Flowers, the oh-so appropriate moniker for gardening expert, Frank Ferragine. He has a flair for artistic combinations of plant materials and the results are stunning.
He organizes the planters by season and groups the plants into three categories: thrillers, fillers and spillers. For each planter, there is information about watering and light requirements. His creations are composed with a painterly approach to colour.
For the Birds is a planter filled with marigolds, lamium, coleus, petunia and nicotiana. Here, he has selected varieties that offer a palette of cream and spring green. The arrangement is topped with a rustic birdhouse to add height to the composition.
I think my birds might like that.