On visits to our buildings, I am frequently frustrated, surprised and disappointed that so many balconies are being used for storage, collection of unwanted things, and even garbage disposal.I come from a country where people take great pride decorating even the smallest balconies with plants, patio furniture, and art.
Maybe because of my background, I cannot stand seeing recycling bottles, old car tires and unwanted items and dirty mops hanging over the railings.
I often think "what would it take to change this situation?". Offer prizes for the best-decorated balcony? Provide them with brochures on how the balconies could/should be looking?
Writing letters and threatening eviction if the mess is not cleaned up is proving to be not enough. We do this on a regular basis and even if the mess is cleaned, nothing is done to beautify it.
In BC we are very lucky due to our mild climate, we can practically have outdoor flowers, plants on our patios year-round.
It starts in spring with primroses they come in many different colors, providing plenty of decorating possibilities.
Next come tulips, daffodils, and hyacinth. In the summer options are endless, however, it is important to know which flowers can be planted together, which ones like lots of sun, if your balcony is facing south, and which plants can grow in shade, if your balcony is facing north.
It is also good to know which plants are more forgiving and don't require lots of watering if you don't have time to water them daily.
From years of balcony gardening, here is a selection of my favorites: Begonia, petunia, lobelia, fuchsia, marigold and geranium. All of these bloom all season and attract humming birds in the summer. It's also great to have a home-grown fresh herb garden.
Mint grows from spring to late summer, and is a tasty addition to salads or homemade pesto. Parsley is a 2-year plant. Every year you should seed a new one so you can add it to your soups and salads. Dill, if seeded in the Spring, will last until August – superb when sprinkled on to fresh potatoes or into a soup. Some fruits and vegetables can be grown in hanging baskets, such as tomatoes, strawberries and green beans. Instead of buying expensive planters, you can use recycled containers – plastic or metal. Decorate them to create a wonderful addition to your garden.
I love having my early morning coffee while reading a book and surrounded by my herb garden and flower oasis, with humming birds flying around.
This winter I think I'll spend time creating a brochure to distribute to our residents and encourage them to create their own mini-nature escape. My goal is to see more balconies looking lush and gorgeous.
Mainstreet Equity Corp. is a publicly-traded (TSX: MEQ) residential real estate company in Canada. Mainstreet currently owns and operates properties in Surrey, BC; New Westminster, BC; Abbotsford, BC; Calgary, AB; Cochrane, AB; Lethbridge, AB; Edmonton, AB; Fort Saskatchewan, AB; and Saskatoon, SK.
Mainstreet provides affordable, renovated apartment suites to Canadians, and is committed to creating real value without diluting shareholder interests.