Friday, November 12, 2010

Diaries - highly effective Balcony Gardening tools for 2011

To make an average balcony garden, trowel, watering can and secateurs are probably enough.
But if you want to amaze yourself, you will need to bring out the big guns - a diary.

Successfully De clutter - put a date on it.
Doorstep, courtyard and balcony gardens have the potential to be the loveliest places you can spend time - fragrant, dappled, highly frequented and intensively cared for.
But their very strength - easy access - is also their weak point, as they end up being dumping ground for unlovely 'junk', and the downward spiral of neglect begins.
If its contributing, its not junk. Photo: Omotesando cafe garden, Tokyo

To help you tell the truth to yourself about the junk you will use "one day", get out your diary.
Write in exactly which day that you are going to do it - repaint the unattractive set of draws, overhaul the rusty bike, fill all the tiddly plastic pots with seedlings for friends. The act of writing it down is usually enough to make you face the fact - the love is gone, its time to move on.

Successfully shop - use anticipation, not regret

Desire to plant bulbs is at its strongest in spring, when all those beautiful bluebells are swaying in the thin spring sunshine. Who has an appetite for bluebells in Autumn? Nobody, but that's when you have to plant them. So when you start coveting your neighbours spring peas, summer Lilies, or Autumn figs, put a shopping date six months ahead in your diary, and when the time comes around, trust yourself, obey yourself, and just buy it, feeling like it or not.
You will be grateful six months later.

Autum apples and yuzu, with mirror, lantern, and postbox,
Omotesando Edge garden, Tokyo

Rhythm has Power - plant according to lunar cycles
Does a waxing or waining moon have an effect on your pot plant's productivity? I can't really say, because like most city people, I'm kind of 'lunar illiterate'. I'll get around to observing and experimenting with it one of these days though.

As the moon wains, we switch from
generative activities such as planting,
to restorative ones -
composting, preparing pots, trimming.

But I do have two things to say:
1. If those leathery, taciturn, professional farmers bother to plant according to moon cycles, its probably got value.

2. People who have delightful gardens, children, and businesses are often people who do as they decide, and don't let themselves be bossed around by how they feel. They are also brave about identifying EVERYTHING they need to complete a task, and going out and gathering it all up before starting.
I don't 'feel like' planting those struggling seedlings I bought a whole month ago. Which is fortunate, because by co-incidence, I have no potting mix left, don't have a big enough pot, and can't find my trowel anyway. Its amazing how quickly my feelings change when I schedule into my diary a way to get these missing bits of the puzzle, and everything just falls into place. Before the Full moon.

Gift Giving time - Making it Irresistible

If you enjoy a pot plant in your own garden a few months (or years) before giving it away as a birthday present, its not 'second hand' its 'tried, tested and invested in'. You can warn your special friend of the perils their new pot-plant might face, and maybe toss in some white oil or whatever is needed for when trouble inevitably strikes.

My former balcony garden, now bringing joy to friends all over Melbourne

Work out who gets a present and when. Then find out what flowers or fruits are in blossom then, and enjoy some luxurious shopping, holding in mind the people you are grateful to have in your life. Presents are even more valuable when given freely for no special reason or day, but if you aren't pro-active about putting a 'no-reason' present date in your diary, it will just end up a late birthday/Christmas present after all.

My Favourite diaries:

I've just ordered my 14th Caspari Slim calender diary,
The covers are pretty, it fits in my handbag, and it doesn't have lines, which means it doesn't force me into writing a certain amount - I react badly to any attempt to hem me in.

I'm looking forward to getting back to Australia and getting my 2011 Permaculture Diary, put together by my talented friend, Michele Margolis. Its got stories that get my energy going, people to make friends with, what-to-plant-when guides. Best of all, every image, every corner in it looks beautiful.
When people ask 'what's Permaculture' I can just hand it to them proudly, and let them go for a wander in the lovely world co-created by Michele, her culture-creating contributors, and of course, the people who buy the diaries and keep it all going.