When you’ve moved to the city from the country, you want to take a little piece of suburban to your urban. I moved from the suburbs early last year and mourned the loss of my garden which I had worked tirelessly on for many years. Jasminum, colchicum, tulips; chaotic and colourful. In bloom the garden was a wild rainbow and in winter she appeared more sombre but still striking in simplicity. I had spent hours working with the soil, trying different places, digging, watering, trellising. And let me make this very clear; as a landscaper by trade it is the equivalent of the taxman returning home only to have to process his own accounts. Sometimes it was a real struggle. Bereft, I left, city bound hoping that the new owners would cultivate and protect all my painstaking hours. The garden had been a hive of activity for various forms of life, a scene of splendour for both birth and death. In the evening the scent would drift gently into the bedroom window and wind its way around the marriage bed. The garden held special memories.
On moving to the city, I fretted over the possibilities that would be afforded me in terms of a garden. As a terminal gardener, the idea of not being able to wield my trowel out of working hours was too upsetting for words. I began to turn my obsession to scouring magazines and blogs on how the elusive city gardener survived in such an inhospitable environment. I knew that a number of friends had traditional ‘allotment’ style gardens that they kept and a number of my more wealthy contacts had the luxury of roof gardens but in my heart I felt it wouldn’t be the same. Or so I had convinced myself.
Six months later everything changed.
Bereavement had made me blind to possibility and it wasn’t until I bemoaned one too many times about missing my suburban haven that a work colleague told me to create a garden indoors. “What?” I exclaimed. The idea was simple. Explore the possibilities for your indoor space and then look at indoor plants and balcony /window sill flowers. I became intrigued. The minute I started to sell it to myself as a surmountable diverse challenge my old obsession reared its glorious head and shook its mane. Suddenly a wealth of possibilities sprung to life like my once beloved suburban garden in the spring.
Vague memories of Andie MacDowell’s garden in the film ‘Green Card’ came to mind and I thought about what I could grow and cultivate. My first port of call was to investigate what I could grow. I had always fancied the idea of growing my own produce but had previously focused more on flowers and plants. I turned my keen eye towards fragrance and moved to the herb aisle of the garden centre.
Although the idea of weeds conjured up ideas of back breaking removal work, I liked the idea of having mint in the house. Its smell and uses are ubiquitous, opening the door to a wealth of opportunities. Bear in mind mint is a fast grower, an untameable beast, which is exactly why I liked it. I then moved on to placing other herbs that would perfume as well as provide in my kitchen sill boxes. The effect was immediately transformative and lifted the look and feel of the apartment. At the moment I have my mint, oregano, coriander and some rosemary. Alas my basil died – quite the tragedy but I do believe it is the season. My little herb garden near heaven.
My next target was indoor plants. I decided here to be ironic and mix a peace lily with Aspidistra or the Cast Iron Plant. My rooms aren’t awash with light so I have had to take this into consideration. These gorgeous girls now sit proudly in my living room and I couldn’t be happier. In my bedroom I decided to go with an indoor Chinese happy plant. And I can honestly say I am very happy with the plant! City gardening is more complicated and does lack the physical graft of the suburban expanse but it is incredibly rewarding. My plants are thriving and my mind is a matrix of what I can accomplish next. Looking forward to keeping you posted.
My name is Greg Pyriot and I am the owner of covering ground a landscaping company based in Victoria. I have worked in the industry for over 10 years. Gardening is my passion and I live and die by my trowel.