Terrace/balcony gardening during the summer of 2016 was the best of the sixteen years that I have lived in my condominium in the heart of the city. The number of days of full sunshine and the high temperatures provided excellent growing conditions, as long as the plants were well watered. Fortunately, I have an automatic watering system that was purchased at Canada Blooms several years ago for less than $200. I do not know if the distributor remains in business. The system was manufactured in Australia.
In previous years, by mid-August the blooms became more sparse as the plants had completed their growing cycle for the season. However, this year, it did not happen until almost the middle of September. The summer 2016 will forever be engrained in my memory as one of the best for terrace gardening I have ever experienced.
View of the terrace from inside the apartment on September 1, 2016. The awning protects the terrace from the extreme heat of the sun as I have a southern exposure.
View of the west side of the terrace. It is 200 square feet, although the photo tends to exaggerate its size. The decking is plastic that resembles cedar wood. I have found it to be more practical than the pine flooring that I previously had, as the plastic has not warped or faded during the six years since it was installed. Also, the plastic squares can easily be lifted to clean underneath them, where soil and leaves tend to gather.
View of the east side of the terrace. The potted plant on the table is coleus. I wintered the coleus last year, so this is the second summer for the plant.
The red blooms are impatiens, flowers that I have not planted for many years. However, they were very successful in 2016 and I will plants them again next year. They were tolerant of full sun as well as partial shade, as long as they were watered regularly (morning and evening).
Marigolds planted in front of zinnias worked well, as the zinnias grew taller. The zinnias are ideal plants for large pots or boxes as they bloom constantly and each bloom lasts for at least three weeks. In the above photo, there are only two zinnias, a red and a yellow, as they multiply quickly. I noticed brown spots on the leaves of them in mid-August. I learned that they were caused by heat stress, rather than a fungus. By mid-September, the blooms on the zinnias began to disappear and the plants became stringy. However, the marigolds soldiered on in full bloom.
Marigolds and zinnias in late-August.
Sweet alyssum creates a bountiful border, hanging down over pots and boxes. However, it requires full sunlight for at least 6 hours a day.
The rosemary is in a plastic pot that has had the bottom cut out. I bury it each spring in the large planter box, as this allows the roots to expand down into the soil. Each November, I remove the pot from the planter box, cut off the roots, trim the branches, and bring it inside. I have done this procedure with this particular plant for ten years or more. It is similar to “bonsaing” the plant, as its branches become twisted and gnarled, and the plant remains small. It is perfect for an indoor supply of rosemary during the winter months.
I reserve a corner box for herbs—sage, mint, garlic chives and tarragon (perennials only). The only herb I purchase each year is basil. As previously stated, I have rosemary all year.
Engleman ivy and clematis in July, on the east wall.
In the sixteen years I have lived in the apartment, the growth of the engleman ivy on the east side of the terrace has never been so prolific. Despite constant pruning, the growth extends almost a metre out from the wall. It is fast growing and very invasive. Photo taken on September 18, 2016.
It has also been a great year for basil and tomatoes.
The east side of the terrace in July, 2016. The hose is on the floor in the corner of the terrace. This is the only summer that I have been forced to supplement the automatic system with an extra mid-morning watering.
The seating area of the terrace, looking west, the greenery surrounding the sitting areas and the plastic decking on the floor—September 2016.
This maple tree grew from a seed that blew onto the terrace in 2015. I transplanted it to this location and trimmed it regularly. However, despite my efforts, it has become too large and blocks the light from the plants to the right of it. Unfortunately, I must pull it out at the end of the season.
East view of the terrace and the CN Tower.
A link to view a post about the terrace in 2015.
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Books by the Blog’s Author
“Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It relates anecdotes and stories by the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.
To place an order for this book, published by History Press:
Book also available in most book stores such as Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox and AGO Book Shop. It can also be ordered by phoning University of Toronto Press, Distribution: 416-667-7791 (ISBN 978.1.62619.450.2)
Another book on theatres, published by Dundurn Press, is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It explores 81 theatres and contains over 125 archival photographs, with interesting anecdotes about these grand old theatres and their fascinating histories. Note: an article on this book was published in Toronto Life Magazine, October 2016 issue. The book is available at local book stores throughout Toronto or for a link to order this book: https://www.dundurn.com/books/Torontos-Local-Movie-Theatres-Yesteryear
Another publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. It contains archival and modern photos that allow readers to compare scenes and discover how they have changed over the decades. Note: a review of this book was published in Spacing Magazine, October 2016. For a link to this review:
For further information on ordering this book, follow the link to Amazon.com here or contact the publisher directly by the link below: