When spring finally arrives it is such a relief to me...after months of cold dark days I practically skip down the street when all the trees and bulbs finally begin to bloom. I am really not a gardener (I've killed way to many houseplants over the years) but somehow having a roof deck has really inspired me to try to learn some new skills, and cultivate a nice outdoor space. The first year that we were able to plant I hired a woman from a lovely shop called Grdn and she really got us off to a great start. My friend Lindsey also gave me invaluable help along the way, suggesting a few more trees and plants and giving lots of advice on how to care for everything. Now that there are enough perennials established, it is up to me to fill in the holes each year and finally take responsibility for tending it all. A few weeks ago my sister Lauren and I took our daughters to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden's plant sale. The girls were in heaven...each dragging a big red wagon through the tent, begging to add "just one more" pot to the growing pile.
Before we renovated our house the rooftops were not developed at all. They were just blacktop spaces with rails around them. Once we decided to improve them I knew I wanted a structure to support climbing vines. Wisteria is the star of the show right now...seeing the vines get more tangled and thick each year is such a pleasure. We have two different varieties which seem to be on slightly different schedules which has worked out well...as one finishes blooming the other starts.
In addition to the wisteria we have lots of other climbing plants as well. I have a vision of the deck becoming more and more private as the plants slowly cover all the railings. Clematis are among my favorites. There are many varieties but I really love the papery pink and purple blossoms that are in bloom on the deck now. I am also trying my luck with a climbing rose - it struggled last year but maybe looks a little better this year? At the plant sale I bought a bouganvilla with a little trepidation. They grow well in hotter climates so should do well on the very sunny rooftop but sadly it won't survive the winter here...not the wisest choice but I could not resist it.
In addition to all the climbers we have a few large planters dedicated to herbs, which are so pretty, and make summer cooking that much better. Under our kitchen window is a large lavender plant which gives of such a lovely smell, as well as lots of strawberry plants - a favorite of the children!
Not only does this all add up to a very pretty place to look at from the kitchen window, it allows the kids to get some treasured outside which can be scarce with urban living. Letting them help plant and water, and tend to the herbs, is a great experience for them.