Pot(ted) Plants

Jerry loves gardening. I do, too. But Jerry loves the part of gardening that reminds him of his childhood visits to his family’s farms in South Dakota. Digging, planting, weeding, getting his hands dirty. Some chickens and pigs (and perhaps a cow) would really make him happy.


Now that we’re living in a city apartment, we have to satisfy our gardening urges with pot gardens. No, not that kind of pot, although I remember a cousin of mine in the ’60s having a jungle of marijuana plants on her balcony across the street from my parents. The Dowager Duchess loves to garden and has a green thumb. She asked my cousin what the lush plants were. My cousin panicked and I believe told my mother “they were tomatoes, but they died,” before hauling them all into the house for harvest. It was an excellent crop, by the way.


Our seven balconies have been bare and we really wanted to spruce them up. We spent some time checking out other balconies and terraces around town to see what seemed to thrive in both winter and summer here. Wednesday, we went to a wonderful garden center a few miles north and loaded up two carts with 14 staked bougainvilleas, 14 trailing geraniums, 28 pots and trays, and 5 big bags of soil. Bougainvilleas and geraniums aren’t unusual but they grow easily, thrive in the summer heat, and will give us color year-round.


Everything was delivered (free of charge) Friday morning at 8:30 and San Geraldo quickly went to work. He planted. I hauled. We both watered.


The recent gray, rainy days have been great for allowing the plants to settle in, but I can’t wait to see them thrive in the sunshine.  I’ve been checking the balconies incessantly to see how much everything has grown. Ten minutes ago, I discovered that a geranium had started to flower. I’d better go check again.


Author: Moving with Mitchell

From Brooklyn, New York; to North Massapequa; back to Brooklyn; Brockport, New York; back to Brooklyn... To Boston, Massachusetts, where I met Jerry... To Marina del Rey, California; Washington, DC; New Haven and Guilford, Connecticut; San Diego, San Francisco, Palm Springs, and Santa Barbara, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Irvine, California; Sevilla, Spain. And Fuengirola, Málaga..

30 thoughts on “Pot(ted) Plants”

  1. I had a nasty accident once while tending my balcony – the throttle on the lawn-mower stuck wide-open and we sailed off most spectacularly. Fortunately some pedestrians broke our fall and the lawn-mower and I were fine.

    1. The Owl Wood:
      Funny you should mention that. I saw some fake lawn at the garden center that looked amazingly real and even felt real to the touch. It was tempting. You might want to try that next time.

  2. I was terrified while reading this that you two were actually going to find a cow to live on the balcony.
    The flowers are better.

  3. Hello Mitch:
    Once the sun gains in strength, the Bougainvilleas will, we are certain, make the most marvellous displays on your balconies. An excellent choice for the situation and climate. We should certainly avoid the grass, cows, sheep and pigs……!!

    1. J&L:
      We like other varieties (colors) of bougainvillea better, but those all have very short bloom cycles. These bloom much of the year. Jerry, fortunately, hasn't recently mentioned getting a pet pig.

  4. Very nice. Seven balconies? Like, 7? Five plus two? Is it like the building in your photo with the red-trimmed windows? Seven across? Or do you have them back and front? And… seven?

    1. Walt the Fourth:
      Seven like 7. But they're only for standing (and plants), no room for furniture. Two on the front of the building (living room), one on the corner (dining room) and then four on the side (bedrooms and main bath). Every room has double doors opening onto a balcony, except the kitchen and master bath, which have windows that open onto the central courtyard. We didn't know how lucky we were when we found this place!

  5. We had Bougainvillea once growing like gangbusters! Inside of course most of the year. It is a beautiful flowering plant. Your balconies will look stunningly in no time at all with all the heat there.
    I like geraniums as well…..simple elegance.

    1. Jim:
      Everything we see growing here in Southern Spain reminds of what we grew in Southern California. We had 65-year-old bougainvillea growing behind our house in San Diego. Beautiful. A friend of mine here referred to the geraniums (geranio) as "Sevilla Flower."

  6. I'm with "JerrBear"(that's OK to say isn't it?)…I love to get my hands super dirty…actually was in the dirt this morning with Sophie…I ended up finding a noxious invasive weed and now know I have weeks ahead of me with an aching back and neck….maybe I take this gardening thing back…just so exciting to see your balconies and the quantity….hope the planters survive…I'm sure they will!

  7. I'm an apartment gardener also, so you have given me some inspiration! Just two balconies, though, and they're not in Spain. *Sigh* 🙂

    1. Michelle:
      Our apartment in Irvine had a decent-sized balcony that we filled with plants and a table and chairs. Wish we had a place to sit here, but at least we can step outside (like Evita) and wave.

  8. I'm like Walt — seven balconies? Seven??? That's a lot! I am very impressed. They are going to look beautiful. You made good choices.

    1. Judith:
      And, like I told Walt, yes seven but they're very small! But it still meant 28 planters. A friend just phoned to say he was driving yesterday up the long narrow street that leads to our plaza and that our balconies look very "chic."


  9. That must have been loads of fun buying all those plants and placing them on your lovely balconies. Sigh…I have a tiny patio the size of a mattress.
    BTW–ask Jerry if he remembers Captain 11 on KELO.

    1. Ms. Sparrow:
      Well, we couldn't fit a mattress on any of our balconies!

      Jerry got so excited when he read your message. Jerry says: "I absolutely remember Captain 11 and his after-school TV show on the only channel we got in Sioux Falls when I was growing up. One time when I was selling small garden markers I had made using a jigsaw and had painted to represent different vegetables, Captain 11 came by and told me to come on the show. So, I went to the studio and was in the audience and asked to show my garden markers. That same day, an unstable man in the audience tried to strangle me."

  10. I am in love with your (seven!!!!) balconies! I sometimes think that small gardens work best … or gardens in cities … they really seem special. Good luck with your greenery!

  11. Every photo you put on here of your apartment and your area shows simply beautiful images 🙂 I really enjoyed the apartment shots you've posted recently, and the great lamps and other pieces you have. And, what a nice-looking town you have outside your windows! ¡Me gusta Sevilla!

  12. Amazing "balconies"! I love the feeling of opening the shutters and feeling as though you have stepped into the city, yet still being in the comfort of home. To open everything up and feel the breezes highlighted by the scent of the geraniums must be heavenly.

  13. This is such an exciting time of year in the garden, though we had very warm weather which encouraged things to bloom too soon and now we are having frost every night. I totally understand the impulse to go check everything every half hour or so. It changes so quickly now!

    1. Kristi:
      Too bad about the frost. I hope it doesn't do permanent damage to the newly growing. We've had a bit more sunshine today, which means more geraniums are opening up and more watering is already needed.

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