My senses are on high-alert: my nose is periodically lifted towards the first perfume of blooming flowers, my ears are picking out the be-ooo-eep of mockingbirds mimicking la policia, my eyes are noticing nature’s heightened color saturation, my skin is flushed with the growing heat of the midday sun. It’s that beautiful time of year when the thin, winter sunshine finally gives way to the fuller warmth of spring. Gone are the days of frigid southerly winds, steaming pots of stew, and shuffling around a cold apartment bundled in sweaters.
I thank the seasonal powers that be for setting spring in motion and boosting me out of my funk. I was becoming weary of the seemingly perpetual fall and winter. My seasonal clock was begging for relief after I missed summer by switching hemispheres – I went from early spring in Oregon to early fall in Argentina. This last week of beautiful, mid 60° weather has been a much-needed infusion of cheerfulness. I am gleefully prancing around outside wearing a t-shirt and running skirt, baring my paler than pale limbs and basking in the warmth, while the porteños are slowly shedding their thick winter jackets and scarves. Oh, glorious spring!
Fernando and I embarked on a balcony rejuvenation spree this weekend to kick off the beginning of more pleasant weather. Our patio’s built-in planter box looked like this for eight months:
Take that, neighbor! Now ours is more lovely, don’t you think? The flowers add a bit of color to the awful blush-colored building, and that gorgeous rosemary is an arm’s reach out the kitchen window. That skeletal abomination that was formerly in the left of ours was a dead plant that I presume was once a lovely, bushy thing.We tossed it into la basura, as I am sure having dead plants around is bad feng shui or something (and really ugly).
The palm tree-esque succulent that was in the middle is quite the warrior, having remained firmly rooted against every massive storm that has whipped across our patio. Thanks to Fer’s plant knowledge and a bit of help from Google I was able to determine that it is a kalanchoe diagremontiana. I’ve always been keen on its crooked and top-heavy style, and the purple stripes on the underside of the fleshy leaves are rather pretty.
If you look closely (near the stalk), you can see several small growths on the edges of the leaves. The plant reproduces by growing tiny versions of itself, complete with a miniscule root system, right on the jagged nodes. The tiny plantlets then fall off and take root wherever they can, propagating the species and earning it the name Mother of Thousands.
I wanted to keep the crazy succulent, which looked rather sad all by its lonesome, but it didn’t quite fit with the predominantly floral concept going into the planter. The kalanchoe was moved into a pot where a collection of smaller succulents will soon join it.
The lavender is blooming nicely and smells fabulous, though we are searching for a bigger pot for replanting. I suspect we will eventually end up with a few more lavender plants as it is one of my and Fer’s favorite flowers (and scents). Look at how beautiful it is against the brick wall:
Getting down and dirty with a pile of dirt and beautiful plants is a great way to roll out the carpets for la gran entrada de la primavera. An obvious bonus is the beautification of our patio. It may not yet be the prettiest it could be, but it is undeniably a more enjoyable place to hang out and it smells fabulous. At this point I think the only plant that could make our patio smell any better is a gardenia (another one of my favorites). And now that I think of it, I will add it to my mental wish list: I don’t think an urban balcony can ever smell too good!