Sunday, July 27, 2008

Camera fun

We have had our digital camera for 3 or 4 years now and have never figured out how to take close-up photos without them coming out blurry. Just recently, I noticed a setting with a little tulip-shaped flower and the letters "MF". I don't know why we hadn't ever tried it before. I thought it turned on the date-time stamp--Monday through Friday--and John only thought "motherfucker", although I can't see how that is an automatic setting on a camera. Usually that is user error. Anyhow, I finally noticed and tried it:

pink flower, close up

Motherfucker, indeed. (Except on me.)

So without further ado, I will now bombard you with photos and commentary about my balcony garden, because I love the satisfaction of coaxing things to grow.

All the flowers in our window boxes were planted as seeds, so it has taken awhile to get actual flowers. These were one of the first ones to put out blooms:

yellow flowers

I don't know what any of the flowers are called, because I wasn't very good about labeling the pots when I started them, and Hannah was helping me, and some of them are from mixed-seed assortments that didn't specify what was in them beyond "summer assortment" or "butterfly assortment" or whatever.

white flowers

These are on one side of the yellow flowers. The flowers are tiny, but there are lots of them, and their perfume really attracts the insects.

purple flower

This is on the other side of the yellow flowers. It is only one plant, but it is putting out clusters of purple buds at every node. It is also an insect-pleaser.

salmon flower

I have a variety of these in different shades of pink and orange in the next planter over. This is the latest one to open up--I just love the salmon color! The flowers look very delicate, but the petals are quite thick and firm, and the flowers last a long time without discoloring or wilting. I think the oldest flower is about 3 weeks old and is just now getting brown around the edges.

weird plant

I made this picture a little larger so you could see the weirdness of this plant. It looks like a succulent, with fleshy leaves, but it needs lots of water. The underside of the leaves and the stems are covered in tiny bulges that look like water droplets. Occasionally this plant puts out a spiky--something--that has fine hairs sticking out of it. Not knowing what this plant really is, I guessed that it was some kind of ground cover and that the spiky things were its flowers. But then one of these popped up:

flower on weird plant

It only lasted a couple of days, but the lovely color and delicate petals were a nice contrast to the fleshy leaves underneath.

lemon balm

Lemon balm. I've been using it in frozen concoctions instead of lemon or mint. Delish!

Hannah saved some seeds from the kitchen, and now we have these:

bell pepper?

I wasn't sure which kind of pepper I had been chopping when Hannah asked for the seeds, but I'm guessing bell pepper. The 2 plants that survived have put out a ton of flowers, so we should get quite a few peppers over the summer. The go nicely with the tiny citrus trees

citrus tree

and gigantic walnut trees

walnut tree

that stand next to them in that corner of the balcony.

chili plants

Last year I bought seeds to plant chili-peppers for John. We didn't manage to use all the chilis, and I didn't get around to composting the dead plants, so a few weeks ago I went out and harvested the seeds from the leftover chilis. Voila! New plants. I love recycling.

John was waxing optimistic about growing half our own produce, but that is hard to imagine in our circumstances (no actual garden). But, it will be nice to go out on the balcony and snag the occasional pepper to throw into some spaghetti. And although our flowers are few in number, they give me a lot of enjoyment on a cool summer morning.

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