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!