The Joys (Not) of Apartment Life

There are some. The buildings in my complex are situated that no neighbors can see in my windows. It’s on a bluff. No new buildings can be built to obscure my view and make my living room a part of their view. I can see the sky, trees, and clouds. From my balcony, I have a fabulous view of Mt. Rainier. The fact that I have a balcony where I can grow plants and sit outside to enjoy the view, which sometimes includes bunny youngsters chasing each other across the back lawn.

Not so enjoyable. Walls so thin it sometimes sounds like people are walking around in my place even when I’m home alone. Annual inspections and other invasions of my privacy, such as installing energy-efficient light bulbs I never asked for because I already had them.

Starting Monday and all next week a company hired by management is going to be cleaning “bird guards” (whatever they are) and dryer vents. We’re advised to move our personal stuff off our balconies. The means I have to drag inside a chair, a wrought iron spiral plant stand, and fifteen flower containers. So I’ll be living in an indoor jungle for however long it takes them to finish up at my building.

The notice said that this is an annual event. Nope. They’ve never done it in the seven years (!) I’ve lived here. The staff turns over frequently. Even when they’ve been around awhile, half the time they don’t know what’s what.

I have four rectangular planter boxes that are about two feet wide. I may leave a couple of them on the balcony, next to the wall, where they’re less likely to be damaged. Maybe cover them with plastic trash bags.

This is one of the plants I have to move indoors. The hosta is almost three feet across from leaf tip to leaf tip. I’m crazy about it.

My favorite plant.
What my hosta looked like when I first brought it home from the nursery.

Another plant that’s going to be displaced. The geranium comes indoors during the winter, so it should be used to being indoors.

I’ve been babying this plant for several years now, so I’d be sorry to lose it and its friends.
Autumn fern. Those aren’t dead fronds; their color is the reason for the plant’s name. It’ll probably stay outside, pushed against the inner wall.

More displaced plants.

The petunias and bacopa (the little white flowers) live in railing planters.
A few more denizens of a railing planter. They’re a new variety, trailing pansies. They’re almost ready to climb out of their box.

I have no idea how long my plants will have to stay indoors. I haven’t bothered to ask the office staff; I’m sure they don’t know. My building is designated as “L,” which would make it seem logical that Wednesday would be the day to expect the cleaners, but logic has nothing to do with it. They may not start with building A. They could start with Z. This section of buildings is right next to the main driveway, so it could be the first one to get cleaned.

I guess I’ll know when the crew has arrived when I hear spray from their hoses or whatever machinery they may use. I live in suspense. Apartment living can be so exciting.

Springtime! Plants!

Bedding plants at a local hardware store. The “pillows” are bags of potting soil.

Do you have bedding plants yet? I didn’t buy any plants from this store, but I bought some at a nearby superstore.

All I have is a small balcony, but I want to fill it with leafy plants and flowers. Online I see photos of Italian house window boxes and apartment building balconies, overflowing with plants and I get envious. The exuberance of these window boxes is bright and cheerful. I suspect my balcony is the only one in the entire complex that’s loaded with flower pots. All the balconies here face the back and there is no car access. I haven’t walked around back to see if other people have balcony gardens. But I’ve driven past other complexes and have seen only one plant decorated balcony. Why don’t more of us do this?

Here are a few of my bedding plants.

I love that geraniums bloom all summer.
I’ve never seen this color petunia before. Petunias are humble little plants, but they’re cheerful and lovely and bloom all summer. I hope this beauty will attract hummingbirds.
These are bacopa. They’re pretty little trailing plants, they grow enthusiastically and also bloom all summer. They share a planter with my petunias.
The color of this petunia matches the edges of the magenta flower. I love the coral pink.
Occupants of another container.

This is a new variety of trailing pansy, called Cold Wave. When I bought them I didn’t know they were trailing pansies. I’d never heard of such a thing. Me see pansies. Me want. Me have money. Me buy. I didn’t even look at the label. As the name implies, Cold Wave pansies grow in cold weather. I’m not sure I’d have bought them if I’d known. I want my flowers to bloom all summer. I hope these dear little things survive in warmer weather. Fortunately, around here summers tend to be pretty cool, so I hope these babies will be happy come July and August. The long-range weather forecast is for a cooler and rainier summer this year.

Flowers From Other Years:

I’m hoping for a plethora of petunias this year, too. This photo was taken in mid-summer.
Don’t these coleus leaves look like velvet?

If you haven’t bought plants yet, it’s not too late. It was late spring when I bought this coleus. It was a leggy plant with only a few leaves on a long stem. No one at the superstore’s garden center had bothered much with the plants that had been left behind–end of season, new stuff to sell. After a few weeks on my balcony, with plenty of sun, water, and a bit of fertilizer, this is what the skinny coleus turned into.

There are four empty pots on my balcony (and eight occupied ones) I’m going to have to go to a garden center and buy a few more flowers. Pots should not be allowed to sit around empty. I need flowers. It makes me happy to see little blossom faces peering over the rim of their container. The blinds in front of the slider are always open, so I can see my “pets” anytime of day or night. I like to sit on my balcony among my plants, have a cup of coffee or tea, and enjoy their beauty. There’s a bit of Italian somewhere in me.