VIOLA (or Heartsease)

Yesterday was one of those gorgeous Spring days filled with sunshine and the chirping of birdsong.   Perfect day to be outdoors gardening.

I planned on potting up my new Spring seedling purchases, but didn’t quite finish the task.

A second round of plant shopping at the local Hardware/Plant Nursery Warehouse on Tuesday meant I ran out of plastic pots yesterday and I couldn’t decide on what size container to re-pot my pot-bound Blueberry “Nellie Kelly” anyway.

The trouble is that the next size up from the current Blueberry pot is really quite large and when filled with soil may end up being too heavy to lift.

I have to lift, or turn, my potted plants every couple of days as they tend to grow towards the west (where the sun travels after rising over my apartment building).  To get even foliage growth on each vegetable, herb or flower, turning the pots regularly is mandatory.  And once the hot summer arrives and the air-conditioning outlet on the balcony spews out hot air, I have to move the pots mostly up to the southern (or left-hand side as I look out my windows) of the balcony.

I shall have to go back to the Plant Nursery – a third time in a fortnight 😀

Bunnings Hardware Warehouse plant nursery
Plenty of herb and veggie seedlings to choose from.

Methinks I’m a plant shopaholic.

Put me in a large Plant store and I’m like a mischevous child in a lolly shop (candy store).

I often feel tempted to look around the plant aisles in case I’m caught in the act of over-indulging.  I always get a shock at the receipt $$$ after the cashier has rung up the items in my shopping basket.

So many colours and plant varieties at the store forced me, (yes, forced me 🙂 , well that’s my take on the matter), to splurge out on a couple of flowering plants to break up the  mass of greenery in my balcony garden.

It won’t be until the mid/end of Summer, that my herbs have any flowers.

Violas are undoubtedly one the most delightful of all flowers to grow with their delicately marked, almost hand-painted-looking dainty flowers.  They are a picture for months on end.

You can find them in just about every colour of the rainbow with many featuring multicoloured blooms.  Violas have slightly smaller flowers than Pansies (which I also viewed enthusiastically at the Plant Nursery).

I used some of the new Tomato/Herb potting soil which is probably a wee bit too akaline, but never mind, if they grow they grow, if they keel over with the new potting soil – they keel over.

I potted up this plant in an old low terracotta pot which was the only spare one left and would do nicely to sit on my desk.

(after breaking all my beautiful ornate expensive pottery containers some years ago when I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne, I stick to cheap plastic pots these days.   This low terracotta pot is the only ‘breakable’ one left).

My lounge room gets plenty of light from the floor-to-ceiling windows across the whole width of the room.

(I have grown vegatables and herbs indoors, but some don’t like the reverse cycle heater/air-conditioner on the wall).

At least I got the Peace Lily (indoors) repotted up to a larger pot 😀

Supposed to rain today, so I’ll be indoors ‘pretending’ to do the ironing and household chores 🙂

P.S. I almost forgot, not in the photo above, but I bought another large Mint bush.   Can’t have the little Fairy-wrens running out of their favourite grazing ‘salad’.

So that makes 3 lush Mint bushes in round, or higher, pots and the rather pitiful remnants of the original mint plant in the low trough which the Superb Fairy-wrens and House Sparrows use as a smorgasbord for morning and afternoon tea.

The Mint in the low trough keeps sprouting new leaves and the Wrens and Sparrows keep snacking on the new young leaves leaving a rather untidy stunted mess.

Here’s a re-run of some of the images you’ve seen before (below).   The bush in the low trough looks rather unsightly, but since my young avian friends enjoy their picnic on the bush(es), I can’t bear to toss it out in favour of a large, more robust bush.

21 thoughts on “VIOLA (or Heartsease)

    1. I’d like to think so, Cindy.

      I bought the Peace Lily for indoors as it’s supposed to absorb toxins in the air and they’re often found in offices for that very purpose.

      I’ve certainly made a chore for myself with the watering this Spring (and Summer), and, what’s worse is that the handle of my watering can (plastic) broke last night. Another item for the shopping list today.

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    1. The wrens and house sparrows seem to like any new tiny leaf they see, but the mint is a surprising choice. The House Sparrows have been collecting some of the nesting material I cut up for them too. The wrens have been absent for about 3 days now and I presume they’re nesting? They were absent a couple of days last week too.

      They usually visit around 10.30am and about 4.30pm every day.

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    2. Are they hard to photograph due to low branches? If so, might be worth a low prune if you wish to photograph them, that is.

      I wish I had a lemon tree. I grew up with one and we used them almost every day. They are often expensive in the shops, although the Asian market is a bit cheaper.

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  1. It is amazing how many plants thrive in a garden of just pots. Your plants always look so great and it is nice to have nature visit your balcony. So glad Spring has decided to visit your area. Going to a plant nursery to buy is so tempting and I can never resist the little Violas.

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    1. I think there’s a little micro-climate on my balcony Peggy. Glass on 3 sides and the corrugated grey wall of the building fire escape and lift area makes the 4th wall. I prune or snip off any wilted or yellowing leaves so they herbs look nice and fresh most of the year.

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    1. I agree totally, Eliza. You must be in heaven with all that country greenery and trees where you live.

      I can see the construction over the road has left no space for landscaping which is a shame. But I AM grateful for the 3 hedges directly opposite my balcony. No one else in my apartment building has this unique view.

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  2. The violas look wonderful in the wide, shallow bowl that survived. Did the others crack in the cold? I absentmindedly put a terracotta pot back on the windowsill after a succulent had been repotted a week or so ago and forgot to put a saucer under it. The old one had a saucer so it was fine. The damp and the sun combined have steamed a circle of paint under the pot until it blistered.

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    1. What a shame about your pot blistering the paint. I’m always wary about plants indoors and having a large saucer underneath in case of seepage, although I do tend to water the plants in the kitchen sink and let them drain for a few hours or overnight. I’ve only got 2 indoor plants in this particular rental property.

      I actually had some lovely pots, but they were stacked after a move and I accidently dropped the top one which broke, or cracked, all the ones underneath. A couple of my favourite pots were stolen off my balcony ledge when I lived on the south-east side of Melbourne in a ground floor apartment. I’d only just finished potting them up with Spring flower seedlings. Someone stole every single pot on my brick balcony ledge overnight. Terracotta or plastic. I was terribly upset. I sometimes saw people walking down our side path which connected with a cobblestone laneway in the rear of the block and I assume someone saw them all and fancied some free new plants.

      With 2 house moves in recent years, I now stick to plastic pots as they aren’t so heavy. That’s the only drawback with renting. You can’t store a lot indoors OR have too much outdoor stuff. I’m hoping the landlord doesn’t sell this current apartment of course.

      I think I’ve moved about 12 times, both here in Melbourne, London & Sussex. One time I shared a lovely 2 storey house with a friend and we were given notice that a freeway was being built right through our (relatively new) housing estate. Fancy a new(ish) 2 storey house being demolished………..(amongst others).

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  3. Lovely violas. They belong to my group of ‘troopers’, that group of plants that carry on no matter what. I love that they self seed everywhere too…the more the merrier I’m my opinion!

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    1. I agree, Jane. I wish I had more room for flowers as this is the time of year when ‘little pots of colour’ are in all nurseries, especially my local Bunnings. I think Bunnings might be my only plant nursery on this side of the city (without a car).

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  4. The flowers are beautiful, and the birds are cheerful, but I was especially tickled to see the photo of Bunnings. Another Australian blogger has mentioned the establishment — it looks much like I imagined it!

    I’ve gone to almost all plastic pots now. I do need some new ones, though, as time and age — and a lot of heat — eventually begin them cracking and falling to pieces. But I’m going to try to wait until after my own move, so that if I get a particularly careless crew, it won’t matter so much. I will say my pruning of my Hawaiian schefflera has turned out beautifully. The plants are putting on scads of new growth — the cutest little baby leaves ever.

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    1. Will you still have outdoor space when you move, Linda? I think you said you were moving to another apartment in the same block?

      I love those fresh new leaves one gets in Spring. I’ve thrown out several plants which were ragged (despite my regular pruning to keep their shape and get rid of pest-eaten leaves) and bought replacement seedlings.

      Dare I say, the plants almost grow too much on this west-facing balcony. The Japanese Maple in front of my balcony is covered in lovely bright green tiny leaves this week, so soon I will have my privacy back (from the footpath and road).
      I’ve moved my furniture back from the left-hand side of the right-angled lounge window this year so that sense of sitting in a garden all day is even more obvious. I am just so lucky with this large balcony – it seems to be larger than some of the other balconies in the building.

      Every morning when I get up and turn on the computer, I’m really overwhelmed with how blessed I am to have such a green space. I literally watch each plant grow. Birds must be nesting this past week as they’ve been far fewer visiting me.

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    2. Are yes, the ‘lease’ thing. I’m in the same position of renting here. I was lucky in the previous apartment on the 3rd floor, in that, the property agent was slow in sending me a new lease and once I knew the apartment wasn’t going to work out, I had about 4 months to look for a ground/first-floor apartment (which was cheaper too). I loved that previous 3rd floor apartment for the views over the rooftops, but the continuous ‘false’ fire alarms and walking down 8 flights of stairs was a disaster (for me with my heart, hip/knee/ankle pain). I just assumed that I’d always have a lift to descend. Must have been something like 7-8 painful descents in the 20 months I lived there. I’ve had 3-4 ‘false’ fire alarms in the 3 years I’ve lived in the current apartment but it was so easy to walk down 2 short flights.

      I don’t know why these newish large apartment blocks have faulty fire alarms.

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