My green thumbs

Oh, hello. You’re still here? Well thanks for that, I know I’ve been really bad about writing anything recently nor have I kept up with posting photos. I have no excuse other than I’m lazy. And lame. And perhaps in some kind of creative slump. Nothing exciting has been happening lately other than my trans-Atlantic trips. You haven’t missed much.

An update on my tomato plants: they’re growing. They have tiny green tomatoes on them. You didn’t know I had tomato plants? Well I do! I grew them from seeds back in early August and they seem to be doing okay. *knock on wood* Greg is convinced they’ll keeping growing for a long while since Naples doesn’t get the super cold of winter like other places. In fact, it rarely gets down to freezing so they could go for a couple more months. I guess. Who knows, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The rest of my plants are doing well although the Vinca finally kicked the bucket. I’m pretty sure they came with some kind of disease because they didn’t last very long and certainly didn’t look healthy. The lilliputian Zinnias that I also grew from seeds are going strong and sprouting new branches all the time. Probably the most healthy looking of all the plants would be the Begonias and some succulent type flowering things that I don’t know the name of. Apparently they love it here and require little to no care at all. The same goes for the Begonias. I’m tempted to buy more of them just because.

Yesterday while walking around I came across a plant¬†vendor with a single yellow Mum in a pot. Initially I didn’t think I wanted it but since we’re unlikely to really feel any evidence of Fall temperature-wise¬†for another couple weeks I decided it would at least make it feel like Fall in other ways. My hope is to find another one, or maybe a couple more, to bring some longer-into-cool-weather-color to the balcony since I have no idea how long the rest of the blooming plants will last. It’s all a bit of a guessing game.

Most people with balcony or rooftop or even window gardens seem to gravitate towards the green succulent plants that offer interesting shapes but not much in the way of color variety. I’m not opposed to those types of plants but they’re not as cheerful or sunny as flowers so I tend not to go for them as much. I’m sure part of the problem is finding someone that sells flowering plants, I haven’t come across many, and most people don’t feel like taking the time to grow things from seeds.

At the last planting with Casey Trees this past Spring I was teamed up with two girls that had moved to DC from other places. This is fairly common in the city and usually doesn’t get much notice from me other than the basic “where are you from originally?” type questions. Since I knew I was moving to Italy I figured this was a good time to ask how they handled uprooting their lives. Their answers were pretty standard – meet new people, volunteer, go to museums, find a job, etc. etc. But one of the girls said something interesting after I explained how much I was going to miss planting trees, she said that everywhere she’d ever lived she found room to plant her own garden. At her previous apartment she’d done it on the fire escape. Before that she’d rented a plot of land in a co-op. It didn’t have to be very big, just a few pots and containers, but it meant that she had someplace welcoming and familiar to go to in a city that she didn’t know as well. I guess I really liked that idea because I get excited when I think about my little garden and look forward to adding new things to it. My goal is to get a little table and chairs so I can actually sit out there and enjoy it. If anyone ever asks me about how to handle moving so far from everything familiar I would definitely tell them to start their own home garden, they certainly wouldn’t regret it.

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Photo of the Day: Street Trees

Italy, like many European countries, cuts the branches off their trees every year. Unlike in the US where street trees are allowed to grow without any major interference aside from routine pruning, or in the case of Pepco, a complete disemboweling, European trees are heavily pruned every year in a style called pollarding. Trees that have been pruned in this way end up growing little puff ball bundles of leaves at the end of the remaining branches. Personally I find it highly unattractive but they’ve been doing it forever and are unlikely to stop any time soon.