a blog about plants, cats and other lovely creatures

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

life on the balcony

I have never had a garden. My first opportunity came six years ago when I moved into a tiny flat with a small balcony. I wanted to grow everything! Soon I had to own up to what seemed the sad reality of little light and little space. The balcony faces west and any possible sunlight is shaded by tall birch trees.

Over the years I have come to love shade-loving or at least shade-tolerating plants such as fuchsia, begonia, coleus, fern…

…and my absolute favorite - hosta.

Apart from many plants I have also collected three cats in the meantime. They are all rescue cats adopted from a shelter or directly from the street. I have tried to create a trauma-healing haven for them (and anyone else who shares the flat with them, including myself). The balcony is adjusted to their needs, so there is a climbing tree, a net all around the balcony, and a cat flap in the balcony door.

Since the beginning of this year we have been blessed with the presence of Silky Soul who has become my partner in gardening, cat loving, meatless cooking and endless conversations about the mysteries of Life. He is the one who has encouraged me to create this blog and provides me with more and more ideas on how to make the world a better place to be.

You may have noticed by now that in my opinion nothing looks better together with plants than a cat or two (or three).

Second to them is a Buddha statue which I don’t have. (Photo taken at the Upaya Zen Center, New Mexico by Ottmar Liebert)

One thing to never have around plants is a kitchy plaster gnome, of which I have two (balcony size).

And how does the balcony look right now?

All the plants, all the cats, the cat climbing tree and the net had to squeeze inside our tiny flat; a new façade is being put on our block of flats, and the balcony is completely empty now.

I hope that all of the afflicted will survive this inconvenience and we will soon be able to get back to our normal balcony life.


  1. I love those birch trees -- you may not agree as they cause so much shade, but they provide a wonderful view from your window. Have you tried growing hellebores? I wonder how they would fare in containers. I hope the renovation is over soon. Your cats are adorable.

  2. Thank you Pam! You are so right about the wonderful view. It has a calming and relaxing effect on everybody who comes to visit. At first I was disappointed about the shade, but then I realized that I can still try to make the best of what I have at hand.
    I haven't tried growing helleborus in a container. The space is limited and so I have always focused on plants that I hoped would be decorative for the whole season (didn't always work out that way). But, this year I am trying an astilbe. I hope to be able to show the results soon.

  3. What a wonderful place you created! I agree - the view from your window is beautiful - and I love birch trees, too.

    I hope with you that the renovation will go on pretty fast and you can go back to your beautiful balcony together with your 3 cats. I think that your cats found a very good place. The idea with the helleborus might be very good. I have one since last autumn and it survived the last bittercold winter very well and is more beautiful now. Once piece of the helleborus would be enough.

    A nice hello from Germany (near Ulm), Brigitte

  4. Thank you Brigitte. I cannot wait to be able to put all my plants back on the balcony. They don't have enough light inside. And you should see the cats, all confused sitting by their locked cat flap and tapping on it with their paws. I will keep you posted on how things develop here!

  5. They are so sweet your kitties Chamomilla. Love your balcony. You have it so lovely created and the view from it is gorgeous.
    Have a good time.
    xox Birgit

  6. Hello Birgit, thank you for visiting and for your kind comment. My cats give me so much, I try to give them something back... Have a nice weekend!

  7. Have you visited the blog of Sue in Milan? http://balcony-garden.blogspot.com/
    Welcome to Blotanical. Good to see rescued cats in a wonderful home!

  8. Hello Diana, how exciting to get a message from South Africa! I like your style "as close to nature as possible"... I am still looking around the community of garden bloggers and yes, I have seen the very nice blog of Sue, but thanks for the tip anyway!

  9. Hi! Thank you for visiting our mom's little gardening blog over at Gartenanfänge. We love what you created for yourself and your three felines. We'll definitely be back for more!
    Greetings from Cologne,
    Siena & Chilli

  10. How nice to welcome some four-legged friends at last. You two are lucky to have such a lovely home... and a garden!

  11. What a pity that they are redoing the balcony now - during the spring and summer season! I hope this doesn't last too long so that you can use lour lovely balcony again soon!

  12. Thank you Stadtgarten, you are right, it is a pity. Fortunately they are now just finishing some touch ups, and so the net and cats and some of the plants are already there, you should see how happy they all were... I hope that soon I will be able to take some photos.

  13. Took me AGES to find this post again. I will have to bookmark you. will be linking to you tomorrow. Diana


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