Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Plants Come Here To Die

Up until a year ago, I lived in a three-bedroom inner city apartment, close to shops, schools and public transport to the city. Everyday, my letterbox was inundated with leaflets from local real-estate agents asking if I’d be interested in selling. People were desperate to move into an area that was close to their work as well as the best cafĂ© culture in Sydney.

But, for all its attractions, it was also - what I termed – ‘Concreteville.’ The only glimpse of greenery came from the dank moss that grew alongside the apartment building, or the struggling weed, which had somehow taken root in the cracks between the brickwork and the stone pavement. And there it hung on for dear life. Not even a cyclone could dislodge it!

From all the apartments in that complex, mine was the only one with a south-facing balcony, meaning sunshine rarely made an appearance in winter, but in summer it became the equivalent of Death Valley.
In spite of all my endeavours, my pot plants didn’t stand a chance. Poor things died from lack of sunlight, over watering (I could never work out how much water was too much), or dehydration. I tried planting shade-lovers, damp absorbing plants, desert flowers… nothing thrived, except that courageous weed clinging to the brickwork.
I began to admire its tenacity.

Illustration by me!
As if that wasn’t the only thing my poor plants had to cope with, my balcony also had one other disadvantage - it enjoyed the best scenic view of the shared concrete car park. Which meant, they had to deal with the carbon monoxide spewing from my neighbour’s cars, as well as the jet fuel that airliners regularly dumped on this part of the city on their way to the airport (no matter how many times they denied that fact, in the papers.)

It was also one of the reasons why I rarely enjoyed outdoor meals on my balcony. Too often it became an exercise in survival from carbon monoxide/lead/diesel/ airline fuel poisoning!
Needless to say, the French doors were almost always closed. My plants were on their own.

I actually reached the stage where I’d ask my local plant nursery to show me the ‘immortals’ section – you know, the plants even my non-green thumbs couldn’t kill! Eventually I gave up and planted rocks and plastic flowers that nothing could kill. I figured they could survive a nuclear holocaust, so they’d be perfect.

So, all those years, I fantasised about owning my own garden; away from the noise of traffic, pollution and thundering jetliners overhead.

Until, one day, I bought a house on the coast with not just one garden, but two.
But, that’s another story…


Anonymous said...

I can imagine that you must be 'over the moon' with two gardens after having plastic flowers and rocks on a south-facing balcony. A garden is very important for our inner harmony; I think that that is what all the modern-day developers have lost sight of.

Tima Maria said...

Oh, I couldn't agree more. The idea is to try and squeeze as many people into an apartment complex as possible. But, now, I'm thoroughly enjoying my gardens. No more plastic flowers for me!

Diane said...

I really do not know why I came up as 'anonymous', but such things can happen. Thank you for signing up as a Follower on my blog - that was very kind of you. At the moment, I am looking into the nightmare which is selling from one's own website. Take care.

Tima Maria said...

You're most welcome. I like the way you've got the website set up, by the way. Let me know how the sale of your book goes.