I think most of our friends now know, but the balcony garden is not to be! For the last five and a half years, we’ve rented the little cottage here in Vale Street and loved it. It’s been home to us, the Creative’s daughter, Charlie, a number of bush turkeys, transient cats, noisy possums and more recently, a boisterous beaglier, Hank Chinaski.
When I returned to work from my break last week I found an email from the real estate advising that the owner of the property wants to move in when the lease is up. We’ve got until January to find something.
At first we were sad, but over the last week or so, we’ve both come around to looking at the move as an opportunity for a fresh start. Firstly, you collect a lot of junk over six years and we can use a big clean out. Then there’s the lounge room. We’ve never had room for more than one couch and that couch has rested against the kitchen counter. Since Hank arrived we discovered the joys of having a counter surfing pooch. But there was nowhere else for the couch to go! We’re looking forward to a house where we can spread out with a couch each and not have to keep an eye on that dog. Lastly, one of the biggest drawbacks has been having a deck with no cover. In summer, despite two market umbrellas, we just about fry out there and in winter the deck is a chilly no go zone.
And that’s how I came upon the idea to create the balcony garden. The rest of the yard gets barely any sun, due to the huge macadamia tree that spans the back fence, so the back deck was the logical choice.
It’s as if the universe (or Hank) knew that my garden was off the cards. That same afternoon I came home to find Hank had destroyed the oregano and thyme that were awaiting their new home on the lattice wall. Strewn across the deck was ripped up plastic from the pots, dirt and fragments of the herbs. I picked through the dirt and salvaged what I could, washed it and used it all in the beef pie I made for dinner that night.
My only other balcony garden related acquisition was a healthy strawberry plant I had picked up at a little roadside stall on the way back from Bundaberg. It had one big, juicy, almost ripe berry and a couple of others on their way, so it was the star of my almost garden. The next afternoon I came home to an empty space where the strawberry plant used to be. Hank had gotten it as well! It was down in the backyard, out of its pot, dying. The almost berries were nowhere to be found. I shoveled what was left of the poor thing back into the pot, put it under the house and promptly forgot about it and my gardening dreams.
That was all over a week ago. Yesterday, I happened to pass by the strawberry plant and noticed it had bounced back. It had two shoots that were flourishing and a flower intact! Something about the strawberry’s resilient little journey really reinvigorated me. It had been sitting in the dark down there for over a week, with no water or sun to nourish it, and it still survived.
I guess it’s like my balcony garden and our home here at Vale Street. We might be leaving this idea in the shade for a while, but we will continue looking for that sunny spot to put down our roots and flourish.