How does your garden grow… it doesn’t

I am always amazed at how people can keep plants alive. No, really, it’s a complete mystery to me! I seem to be totally and utterly inept at keeping green things alive for more than two weeks. What am I doing wrong?

Let me backtrack a little bit. Just recently, me and the better half moved into a new apartment in one of our favourite parts of town. On the balcony, in a neat row of planters, were the most gloriously lush African Violets I had ever seen. So healthy, so full of life and the burgeoning of Spring. I was smitten with them and the sunny balcony they had made their home.

You will note I use the past tense. Yes, past tense, because within two weeks of living in this lovely new pad, that vibrant splash of colour has now been reduced to a scraggly desert-like vista of barely surviving plants. And this while we’ve had plenty of Spring showers (or Dutch deluges) and only a wee bit of wind (galeforce 6, sometimes 7).

The coward in me would love to believe that blaming it on the weather is an acceptable excuse. However, as I look around at the balconies surrounding the courtyard we overlook I must dismally admit that it cannot be that simple. My neighbours all still have wonderfully colourful balconies and their plants are thriving. Add to that the growing paranoia I now experience as I realise part of our rental agreement means we have to keep these darn green things in a healthy state for a year, at the least!

Oh woe is me who hath not the fingers of green.

But I have a cunning plan. Each day at 6 o’ clock I shall ensconce myself on the balcony with binoculars and a notepad and pen. I am sure that in this way I can spy on the neighbours and divine their gardening secrets. I only hope they don’t all go off on their summer holidays this week, or I shall be well and truly stuck in the proverbial mud.

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