What is really hard, and really amazing,
is giving up on being perfect
and beginning the work of becoming yourself.
~ Anna Quindlen
We live in an imperfect world.
That is a universal truth, but I have to say my single green Lettuce Multileaf (Lactic sativa) is the closest thing to perfection I have ever seen.
It feels like fine velvet as I let its leaves slide through my fingers. I keep checking all its leaves – there has to be about 30 – expecting the Cabbage Moth Caterpillars or the Harlequin Bugs to appear, but my little blue plastic butterfly ‘scarecrow’ is working its magic once again (up the end near the purple lettuce). I’ve seen 2-3 white-winged butterflies across the road, but none near my garden……so far.
I don’t think I’ve grown this particular lettuce before, preferring the continual cropping of other varieties which I can cut off the outer leaves as I need them.
There is not one single flaw in this perfect green gem and I can’t bear to harvest it.
I just want to look at it every morning. (alright, I am going ‘crackers’ in old age). For those of you with large vegetable gardens and multiple crops, this might well be your morning and evening practice anyway – walking around, watching and waiting, inspecting and expecting!
It’s purple cousin on the other side of my Perennial Basil Mint (mentha x roundifolia) is a very close second in perfection, although it does not have as many leaves.
I’ve been snipping off the tips of my Perennial Basil to use in cooking so the poor wee plant doesn’t have much chance to grow very high, but certainly replaces my cuttings with 3-4 leaves if I leave it for a few days.
I’ll have to buy another Perennial Basil that’s for sure.
Even the Mizuma ‘Red’ (Brassica rapa var nipponsinica) – bottom right in image above – is finally starting to take off despite the Superb Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows nibbling its tiny shoots.
The Birds are taking it in turns to feast on the 2 Parsley plants in the trough hanging from my balcony fence and the plants are starting to go to seed, so some new Parsley plants are on the Shopping List.
Actually, I need quite a few more seedlings if I’m going to grow enough for a whole bowl of salad every evening this coming Summer, (as I did in the image below made from my previous apartment’s balcony garden). That garden was facing south and got no direct sun, but a massive about of light.
My current balcony is west-facing and extremely hot in summer.
I use so much Parsley throughout the year, that I need a plentiful supply for my dinner plate (let alone my summer salads), but I’ll leave the dwindling Parsley leaves for the Birds to enjoy. The image above shows the English Curley Parsley (Petroselinum crispum) half of the trough, next to a new Superb Fairy-wren visitor.
Looks pretty good from this angle last week, but I can assure you, it’s really going to seed in recent days.
The Italian Parsley (Petroselinum crispum neapolitanum)in the left half of the trough (not in image) is also going to seed.
The Oregano Hot & Spicey (Origanum sp.) seems to have larger leaves than ordinary Oregano, but that might just be a Spring surprise as I’ve never grown that variety of Oregano before either.
The Japanese Maple in front of my apartment balcony is now fully clothed in Spring foliage and the birds are starting to snack on the tiny shoots at the end of each branch, but with my garden supplying much of their needs, the Maple has been keeping a lot more young foliage this year.
I’d share more of the birds on the tree except that shooting through 2 thick panes of dirty glass does ‘not a photograph make.’
I have washed the windows twice recently, but I notice overnight rain last night has returned my lounge windows to their usual smeary self and it’s too cold this morning to open the sliding door its full width.
I’m now starting to recognise the individual wrens – half are the adult males in full blue breeding plumage, then there’s the occasional adult female, as well as various juveniles with varying pale blue patches, or spots, on their backs.
I’ve never been able to recognise any House Sparrows (apart from male and female of course).
My headaches have improved a bit too. When I say off the computer, I am still turning on the computer to check emails etc each morning, but then turn it off soon after and self-discipline is growing in leaps and bounds.
I never realised how much time I wasted sitting at my desk watching the birds – well, I did, but the last week has proven exactly how much LOL 😀
You’re probably getting a bit sick of the same bird photos but when you have 6-7 Fairy-wrens visiting at the one time – morning (9.30am and roughly 10.30am) and afternoon (about 3.30-4.30pm or a bit later), I’m sure you’ll agree they are worth the time. What I find interesting is how they visit in groups and then, the House Sparrows join the party.
It’s extraordinary how one minute the balcony garden is devoid of avian life and next minute I can have as many as 10 birds dropping by now that Spring is here. Some of my images are terrible and completely blurred. Others which are pretty good and I have shared.
This mosaic below gives you an inkling of how much fun it is to follow the wrens as they visit each and every plant on my balcony – half the time, I have not the slightest idea what they’re eating, but presume it is the youngest shoots. Even the multi-coloured flowering Nemesia (Nemesia fruticans) gets a visit. The birds seem to remember all the pots I put seed in a couple of weeks ago and still visit in hope of a second feed (?), but they also walk around the balcony tiles and the back of the potted plants hoping for some spilt seed.
The images below were made in about 15-20 minutes. The one on the bird bath is obviously a juvenile.
When I’ve finished today’s paperwork and filing, I will finally be caught up with the ‘to do’ list. Not that I’m a procrastinator per se, merely that I take my life in enforced retirement one day at a time. Living Mindfully amidst a bountiful tiny garden in a Room With a View has to be one of the most rewarding and enjoyable pastimes if you have Chronic Illness and Pain.
Being housebound more and more as the months go by is not to say I don’t get frustrated and feeling a little down or depressed at times (when I’d rather be out on a nature walk taking photos), but all in all, being able to appreciate the small things in life is a blessing that I’ve gradually acquired.
I will eventually get back to sharing more images from my archives, but in the meantime, time to turn off the computer 😀
“If you are depressed you are living in the past. If you are anxious you are living in the future. If you are at peace you are living in the present.”