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Welcome to Sasha's garden

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Her majesty's daily heliotherapy.
Also known as my balcony.

I've always loved gardening, even before the time in the 1970s when Jack Prager and I tried to grow hybrid vegetables by planting a bunch of different seeds together in one hole, hoping they'd meld into one big cool hybrid plant.

They didn't.

But I still love gardening. Probably get it from my mom, who got it from her dad. Just love it. The planting of flowers and fun plants, I mean. As for mowing the lawn or planting big trees or bushes, gag me. I like the kind of gardening where the holes you dig are no bigger than 4 or 5 inches across. Anyway, it was a near prerequisite for my first purchase of a home (well, a condo at least) that it include at least a balcony, and my current place does. I was a bit worried that is has a northwest exposure, but who knew that balconies with NW exposures get sunlight starting around noon, and then lasting through the entire day. So my garden grows.

It's still not quite as lush as I'd like (Chris wins on that category), but it's coming along. Here's a quick tour of some, but not all, of my plants:
This is my Japanese Maple tree.  I got it two and a half years ago - end of the season sale at Home Depot, cheap as dirt and looking a little Charlie Brown Christmasy.   It's done quite well in its pot, only suffering in August when the leaves do get a bit scorched - too much sun really, but there's nowhere to give it less sun on my balcony.
This is my bignonia.  Meant to hide my balcony from the prying eyes of neighbors.  I bought this last year and it's done quite well - still has a way to go, but it flowers on old growth, so I'm looking forward to some great flowers any day now.
These are my irises.  The yellow one, on the left, has gone crazy (it's about to bloom) - I actually need to divide it this year.  The red or purple one on the right has never bloomed, and pretty much stalled for two years.  It's finally doing better this year, so I'm hoping it finally blooms this year.  The leaves never died back on either plant over the winter.  They didn't the winter before either.  Mom was a bit surprised.  Back in Chicago, hers lose their leaves completely in winter.
Sky pencils are expensive, unless you buy them at the end of the season, like I did. I like these plants a lot, but they're hard to grow here, I think. I've had 3 plants nearly die - just lose all their leaves, and then slowly come back over the following summer, but with a lot of dead branches. I suspect they may have dried out, in part (or in whole) due to the winds from the west.  They are pretty though when they survive.
Clematis.  Great in theory.  Less great in practice.  Maybe it's because I'm growing it in a pot. But it just doesn't grow like wildfire like my mom's back home.  It does bloom all summer long, on and off, which I like. I'd just hoped it would grow into a bigger plant.  I finally decided to cut it back this year, so we'll see if that helps.
Double Knockout Roses. Great plant. Pretty bug and disease proof. Not as pretty as a regular rose, but far easier. And they grow like wildfire in one season. Prettier from afar.
I don't recall the name of this little plant, but it's pretty much indestructible. When you're planting it, it will always lose some bits and pieces of the plant. Just put em in the dirt and they grow. It looked like this all winter too.
My friend Matt suggested I grow some bamboo as another screen for the neighbors. These are cuttings from his plants from about a year and a half ago. Last summer they grew about 4 feet tall. This summer am hoping for 6-8 feet. As they're in containers, it's not guaranteed. Bamboo is not cheap. And it does take a few seasons to grow taller and taller. Still, if you can get some cuttings - meaning, a chunk of plant with roots from a rhizome - it's far cheaper :)
This is an ornamental grass that grew far smaller than I wanted last year, so I transferred it to a smaller pot and am on the lookout for something larger and showier. I got this guy on super sale, with no growth, last spring, so perhaps that's why it didn't grow much. Anyway, it's doing well this year, so we'll see.

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