Confession is good for the gardener's soul

The southwest corner of my balconyThe southwest corner of my balcony

Of all the months in the year, September is when I'm most likely to be gardening from dawn to dusk...and sometimes into the night. This is because I always take my annual vacation soon after Labour Day and spend much of it in my or my mom's garden. I develop a seasonal condition that I call "plant fever" in which emotions rule over reason.

And so I need to confess I gave into temptation at the garden centre this past week: I purchased some plants I cannot eat -- although a sedge named 'Milk Chocolate' does sound appetizing, doesn't it?

Here is my cascading list of excuses whereby I justify adding inedibles to my balcony garden:

1. I had bare spaces to fill...
2. because I unfortunately missed some critical sowing deadlines for fall/winter vegetables...
3. and I needed a colour boost...
4. because so far I've had only 3 nasturtium flowers on 12 plants...
5. and Little Mountain Greenhouse had pansies and violas on sale...
6. and who could resist a face like this...
7. and on the table next to the pansies I found dark green, bronze, chocolate, and mahogany sedges, which will act as foundation plants year-round...
8. and when I "converted" to an edible garden back in May, two Japanese maple trees and a black mondo grass were given squatter's rights because they had put down roots in large containers on the shady northwest side...
9. thus setting a precedent for some inedible plants as long as they thrive without coddling...
10. and, finally, any of my ornamental plants have a future home in my mom's country garden when they outgrow my largest pots or I need more room for edibles.

I hope I've justified myself. But honestly and quite seriously, I now realize I was overambitious thinking I could convert to 100% edible plants in one growing season, especially since I had such a late-spring start. A year from now, my goal is to have 4 edible plants for every inedible/ornamental (an application of the 80/20 rule I like so much--it's just so reasonable and achievable).

And as I said when I started this blog, I am writing a chronicle of an experimental garden. I'm learning about myself as well as the plants I try to grow. And I know I will always need to reserve some space to feed my eyes with beauty as well my body with nutrition.