a blog about plants, cats and other lovely creatures

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

what it takes to make a transition

Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence, speaks about the Transition Town movement and the difference between being a pilgrim and being a tourist on the Earth... we are in charge of our environment...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

what can a gardenless gardener do...

At first, I started fulfilling my gardening dreams by filling up my balcony with plants. Ten came the window boxes. Then I was sorry I had nowhere to expand. I thought about all the lucky people who had gardens. I thought that perhaps one day in a very distant future, I would be able to afford a house with a garden. A dream… And then a thought came – why wait for years to fulfill a dream when there may be other ways to make it come true? And so I started digging up grass in front of the entrance to our apartment block and planting some flowers there.

The neighbors warned me that people or dogs would destroy the plants. I kept on planting, fulfilling my dream. Nobody destroyed anything.

On the contrary, every time I was doing something on this small plot, people would stop by and comment on how they liked it and what difference it made.

People who would not normally talk to me started to greet me from far. I know many people in my neighborhood now.

Although it was not my aim, I expanded from working on my own dream to reach out to other people, too.

And then I started noticing subtler changes. The flowers attract insects. Dead plants attract earthworms, insects attract lizards, earthworms and lizards attract birds and hedgehogs. With all these birds hanging around the house in the middle of winter, I put up a bird feeder on one of the pine trees and started feeding them, and a squirrel came to the feeder for nuts. This year we see her often on this linden tree next to the southern wall of our building. I hope that she has a nest there.

Now in the fall I am noticing that she likes the softer ground on the flower beds to hide her nuts for the winter.

flower beds at present, way past their prime time (entrance to the house from the east)

I started noticing how very much alive this little piece of urban land around our house is. With the increasing tendency of humans to cover every piece of ground by concrete, I am discovering these precious signs of nature right here outside my window, surrounded by buildings and parking lots. It is important to me that I do not harm but try to help preserve this fragile ecosystem. It is a small thing but it is comforting to know that I can do something for the environment and I don’t even need to leave my home.

our building surrounded by trees – view from the south

our building from the west

At the moment I’m busy getting ideas on how to help the useful insects overwinter. You can buy a fancy insect hotel for your insect helpers…

or you can make one yourself with pretty much anything you can find… I have made a very simple insect house using a plastic bottle, some birch twigs and leaves for my balcony.

I plan to create something that looks a little less like junk for the flowerbeds outside, maybe something similar to this which I am going to put on my window sill (lying, so that it forms a "roof").

The next exciting project Silky Soul and I have in mind is a squirrel feeder. Squirrels are such lovely creatures, I believe they make everyone smile. In our country they are protected by law as endangered species. And you can imagine what show that would be for the cats to watch from the balcony! So now on my walks I collect anything she might like in her feeder in the winter time, such as acorns, beechnuts and maple seeds, and I'm drying apples and plums for her. I will keep you posted on this project… In the meantime, why not consider building your own insect hotel to ease this coming winter for your little insect buddies. You will surely appreciate their help with aphids and slugs next gardening season! And if you have some maple leaves left over and all the roses in your garden are already faded away, you can get even more creative

Even autumn can be fun…