Life on the Roof

It's been ages since my last post, but eff it - let's see if I can get back into blogging a bit, shall we? 

We've got ourselves a nifty little roof deck at our new home. It was exciting just to have some private outdoor space - finally! - but it took us a while to figure out just what we want to do with it.  It's still very much a work in progress - and we're figuring things out as we go along - but in the last month or so, we've transformed it into a bit of a plant oasis! It's now our favorite place to hang out in the apartment. Let's have a tour around, shall we? 

Get some steps in on your way to our "beach"! 

Get some steps in on your way to our "beach"! 

The biggest hassle in planting a roof deck garden? Hiking everything up there! I definitely got some excercise lugging 2 cu. ft. planting soil bags - which probably weigh about 40 lbs - up two flights of stairs. Phew! It's worth it though, once you see the results! 

View to your right at the top of the stairs

View to your right at the top of the stairs

Left side of the deck - that's straight in front of you when you get to the top of the stairs

Left side of the deck - that's straight in front of you when you get to the top of the stairs

For all of the planters we installed, we probably used about 14 cu. ft of soil. It was NOT brought up all at once! Our planters were installed over the course of the last few weeks, so each weekend we tackled a little bit. The first work we did was to install the railing planters around the perimeter. For the most part, they hold our annuals, however the left side gets the most late-afternoon shade, and we decided to use that area for lettuce and herbs. 

Red leaf lettuce, Romaine, Kale, and another red leaf lettuce

Red leaf lettuce, Romaine, Kale, and another red leaf lettuce

Thyme, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary, Basil

Thyme, Parsley, Chives, Rosemary, Basil

Our herbs are still settling in - we may have cut a bunch for cooking their first week in. Now we're letting them develop, though I snipped a few basil leaves last night for dinner's garnish! I also harvested some of the kale for dinner last night. It's so nice not having to cut off bad pieces of leaves that get damaged in the store! Everything I cut was able to be used. 

Potato vine, petunias, and orange lentana

Potato vine, petunias, and orange lentana

The rest of the railing boxes have a mix of annuals - potato vine, petunias (purple and fuchsia), and two types of marigolds. I installed a shephard's hook with the lentana today - still not sure it's where it'll be permanently, but for now, it's good.  

These annuals were all selected with the hope that they will trail over the sides as we get further into the summer, and give us a little bit of privacy from our surroundings. So far, it's working okay, and I think it's only going to get better!

Once the railing boxes were in and planted, we became quickly obsessed with adding more. The following weekend, we ventured back out to Mahoney's for veggies, more flowers, and a few more pots. 

Clockwise from bottom left: potato vine, coreopsis, zinnias, nasturtium, and lentana

Clockwise from bottom left: potato vine, coreopsis, zinnias, nasturtium, and lentana

Cherry tomatoes!

Cherry tomatoes!

Lavender 

Lavender 

Cat mint in the large pot; Chocolate mint in the small. Mint should be kept to containers - it'll overtake large beds and strangle its neighboring plants. 

Cat mint in the large pot; Chocolate mint in the small. Mint should be kept to containers - it'll overtake large beds and strangle its neighboring plants. 

Our two Cherokee heirloom tomatoes!

Our two Cherokee heirloom tomatoes!

The veggie corner - tomatoes and peppers

The veggie corner - tomatoes and peppers

Butterfly Blue Pincushion flower - or Scabiosa

Butterfly Blue Pincushion flower - or Scabiosa

I added some new perennials today with a certain goal in mind - to attract more honey bees! I've seen a bumble bee in the area, as well as small sweat bees, but no honey bees yet. I have had good luck with echinacea in other city beds I've tended to through work, and found a really pretty hybrid echinacea at Mahoney's that I couldn't resist! The other addition is a bright pink bee balm that only has one blossom right now, but appears to have several other blooms just ready to take off. 

Echinacea. Some folks call this cone flower. 

Echinacea. Some folks call this cone flower. 

Bee balm

Bee balm

We'll see if the honey bees discover our oasis - they'd be a welcome addition! 

We're excited to see how this goes. Both of us are pretty new to gardening - and we've had lots of luck so far. Our peppers and tomatoes are already starting to grow goodies. And I've been able to assemble a few cut flower arrangements already!

Stay tuned for more adventures on the deck... it's changing daily now!

When Winter Struck

All was well with me and winter until three weeks ago, when Winter Storm Juno arrived in Boston. 

The calm before the storm. 10pm on January 26, 2015

The calm before the storm. 10pm on January 26, 2015

7am on January 27th. About halfway through the storm. 

7am on January 27th. About halfway through the storm. 

Juno brought about 2' of snow to the City. It was a weekday storm that resulted in travel bans, schools and businesses closing, and the first of many MBTA shutdowns. Leading up to and heading into the storm, it was all fun and games! Spirits were high - this was the first real snow of the season! 

Excitement on Beacon Hill. The first blizzard = taking your boards and sleds to the streets!

Excitement on Beacon Hill. The first blizzard = taking your boards and sleds to the streets!

Even the pups were excited to get outside and play!

Even the pups were excited to get outside and play!

Since then though? Well that's another story. Since then, it's been a slippery, icy downward spiral into S.A.D. for me, and probably many other Bostonians. In three weeks, we're up over 70" of snow and counting.

While beautiful, this city is absolutely cray right now. Snowbanks tower over pedestrians. Crossing the street has turned into an exercise in agility and luck, for you never know when the sidewalk (to use the term loosely) will promptly terminate with a large mound of snow, and nowhere to escape off of the roadway. Icicles hang precariously 40' in the air over building entryways and sidewalks. Below them I see oblivious bystanders pass by with earbuds in their ears. (???? ... !!!!!!) Our transit system has gone to complete shit. Stress levels as a result are H I G H. 

Beautiful. And terrifying! 

Beautiful. And terrifying! 

The Big Dig 2015: Get your car out. 

The Big Dig 2015: Get your car out. 

It doesn't appear like Spring is anywhere in sight. I keep scanning through the 10-day forecast for some sign of mercy - a 40+ degree day! Nope. None. Never. Instead, it's more snow for the weekend. And ice! And then some rain! J O Y ! Guess I better ready my snow shovel again! 

Every day I'm shovelin' 

Every day I'm shovelin' 

New Englanders love to talk about the weather. But me? I feel like a broken record, and I am desperate to stop. But winter has consumed us. I want out. I need out. 

This, I say, while more flurries blow around outside. Will it ever end?