Tuesday, September 6, 2011
A world of plants
Entering Baladia's and Musa's balcony and you feel you are in a haven in a high rise. Surrounded by plants, the highway is but a distant hum easily forgotten and ignored.
The balcony, however, definitely can't be ignored as a combination of comfort and green provides a place to be still. "Being connected to nature is a type of meditation for me,' says Baladia.
Both owners have been gardening since they were children either as a home garden or in farming. When they were decorating their apartment, being able to step out from the bricks and mortar and connect to their natural surroundings was an integral part of their home design. It is a short step from the living areas into a green space. So much so that they took one wall out of the downstairs bathroom and put in a wall of green instead!
Plants frame the spectacular view on the lower balcony, and create a living wall for privacy on the upper. The lower balcony is more enclosed and sheltered than the upper which is open directly to the elements. This has created two different habitats and allows them to have a variety of plants.
Shade loving plants inhabit the lower balcony and help keep the area cool. Pond reeds, tiny ferns and moss thrive to add character to the pots and surrounding space. In two corners stand Joshua trees that have grown in fascinating lines as they reach from under the ceiling to the light.
Upstairs are more sun hungry plants including a mango and frangapani. The purple heart loves to sit in the full sun and has repaid them with dainty pink flowers. Baladia told me, "Having a balcony garden is like having a child. You cannot forget them; they need care, but they are very grateful and the more you look after them the more beautiful they become."
As their garden is very personal to them it comes as no surprise that they both follow in the long gardening tradition of sharing plants with other keen gardeners (including me). Plants from friends around the world have found homes there including an ornamental banana and a young creeper that will proliferate in showers of red flowers (see below, left) when it matures. The plant on the right is a succulent setting out roots - almost ready to be transplanted.
I have included a video for you that showcases more photos of their lovely balconies that their whole family enjoys - including Sasha the tortoise who has the run of the balcony downstairs!
Let me know what you think.