Sunday, May 31, 2009

Second Floor Sanctuary

Now that the threat of frost has passed (we hope!), Diego and I have been busy readying our sanctuary. We live in a second floor flat and were lucky to find one that has a HUGE deck. Since we moved in 7 years ago, we have made some major changes to enhance our enjoyment of our outdoor living area. We both love being up and away from the neighbours, not to mention in the tree tops, but we were sorely missing some non tree greenery and over the years we have built our own pots to make our patio come to life!
This is what you see as you come up the back steps from the driveway. We added planters both on the outside around the top of the railing and on the bottom on the inside. These go all the way around the deck. you can also see our lovely torches that are awesome at night!
This is the side view of the above picture. They are our newest planters so they aren't filled out yet.
We have a few issues with our deck garden. One is that it is facing south so gets full sun all day and gets very hot. We love petunias because they can handle the hot south sun and flower all summer long. However, lucky for us, the top planters provide some shade for the bottom so we can have some less sun and heat tolerant plants. We also have the issue with perennials. These pots are quite narrow and of course are built in so there is no way we are bringing them inside in the winter. We have had some mishaps...if you look closely at the photo above you will see the remnants of last year's experiment. We planted English Ivy to climb and give us even more privacy but the didn't make it. So we cut the branches from the base and left them as climbing structures, took out the root ball and planted clematis. We will see if they make it!
We have had success with bleeding hearts and have one in each corner (the corner pots are bigger). This one is our oldest (3 years) and has lots of flowers this year. As well as with sedum as a ground cover. They have beautiful yellow flowers and the leaves look great year round!
Our growing season is pretty short in Nova Scotia and we are very much into the instant garden so we packed our petunias pretty tight in the top planters to give a gorgeous show of flowers. As long as we water and fertilize they should be just fine! This year we chose to alternate between fuchsia with a black centre (you can get some with white centres)...
...and deep purple.
Against the house we have a herb garden. I built the container last year to house the herbs as well as have some storage beneath for the watering cans.
I have two types of chives, parsley, lemon thyme, flowering red thyme and rosemary. We also wanted some climbing vines against the house to make it even greener but also to help keep the house cooler in the summer. So you will see in the herb garden above we also have a Boston Ivy and it surprisingly survived the winter!!! We also have another Boston Ivy in a large 1/2 whiskey barrel behind our BBQ mixed in with mint.
All in all we are surrounded with greenery and hopefully our quest to get some more privacy by covering the railing with some climbing plants will be successful this year. It really is our sanctuary, we love having our morning coffee and evening dinners out there.
We even have the occasional visitor join us for a snack!
We just happened to encounter some folks selling perennials for really cheap on the side of the road over the weekend, so we are on a mission to beautify our front yard! We are also putting in a small vegetable garden this year. We share the backyard with the downstairs tenants and they are ok with this so lets see how far we get today! I will post more on my progress...gotta run the sun is beckoning! :)


  1. It looks fantastic! What a lovely place for a cup of tea. :) I hope that everything grows beautifully for you!

  2. You have done such a wonderful job of beautifying your space!

    I adore petunias too, but we don't grow them much any more. Dh doesn't want to deal with annuals, and he's the one who mostly takes care of the yard/property (and he's got his hands full with all the gardening he already has to do).

    Love the herb planting! Everyone should have an herb garden. :)

  3. You have a gorgeous space. Seems to be so peaceful and relaxing. I agree with Sherrie about the cup of tea. You have a lot of trees around also which is great for attracting birds and hearing them sing, especially early in the morning.

  4. Your deck looks so lovely and refreshing! Here's hoping you'll have plenty of nice weather so you can fully enjoy it :)

  5. It IS beautiful- I meant to comment the day you posted...
    Yay for urban gardens!! Although yours is so beautiful and roomy.. someday Andrew and I will having something closer to that :)