It’s Four-O’Clock Somewhere!

Evolving Balcony Garden

In the afternoon sun on my Texas balcony, the four-o’clocks on the left in the red pot are mainly closed against the strong light. In fact, they bloom in their riot of jeweled tones the most profusely after sunset!

My balcony garden has gotten off to a slow start with the pandemic restrictions, mainly limited to seeds through the mail and plants purchased at a greenhouse that takes part in curbside pickup on a limited amount of offerings. It’s slowly evolving.

Those are two pots of various herbs and leaf lettuce on the left and two pots on the right of spinach and mini sweet peppers I’ve started from seeds. Peeking out at the corner on the left, front, is a sweet potato vine. Since this photo, I’ve added nasturtium seeds in various pots, which are growing well but not yet in bloom.

Sweet Potato Vine in Bloom

Finally having a home, again, with my own personal outdoor space has been a life-saver. That has served as much more than just a pleasant diversion during this pandemic time of isolation. In addition to gardening, I enjoy reading out there, watching the birds, or just sitting for a while to view the sunset.

Not sure when I’ll actually venture out to the shops for more plants. For now, I plan to stay away from the crowds returning to the stores, since the virus numbers in my area are climbing.

Yes, I still miss my Michigan gardens of the past and always will. But, I am finding ways to take part in the magical experience of growing beautiful and nutritious plants. Having been raised by parents who maintained lovely yards and gardens, that’s a strong part of who I am!

Becky and Dad in Yard

64 thoughts on “It’s Four-O’Clock Somewhere!

  1. Texas is a hard place to garden. I was so excited about my hydrangea last year, and it lasted approximately two days. Even in the shade the heat is just brutal. (Also, I have a black thumb.) We just moved, and our new home has a sunroom, and we are looking forward to buying some plants for it once it feels safe to go to the store again. It’s my favorite place to read because I can open with (screened in) windows and watch the birds and the cottontails without having to worry about the wasps and the mosquitoes. Glad to hear you’re enjoying your outdoor space so much. 🙂

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  2. I love your title. I had a friend in Asheville, NC who had a variety of volunteer o’clocks around the periphery of her fence–usually along the fence line. These o’clocks bloomed almost any time they felt like usually between 3 and 7:30 when I saw them in early August.

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  3. We are all behind, I think, in getting our porches and balconies together. My furniture is out there, but like you, I am feeling skittish about going to gardening places. That said, I think yours is coming along quite nicely! The blue is quite lovely, and I especially like the photo with your Dad. I trust he was a gardening inspiration to you. 🙂

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  4. Why are you in Texas, if you want to be in Michigan? Work? I’m glad you have an outdoor space of your own. 🙂 Michigan is a far cry from Texans, I would imagine. I never learned to garden, or do anything. We just had that tiny patch of grass in the backyard, in Chicago. I think we had a few flowers but no one did any real gardening or growing things. My cousin, who was also a Chicagoan, is like a farmer and grows everything. I don’t know where she got it from. LOLOL She taught it to her daughter and they are passing it down to the grandkids. My daughter is just like me. No interest in doing anything in the yard. I LOVE gardens, I just don’t want to take care of them. I think it’s wonderful, however, and have great respect for those who love gardening. I hope you get back to Michigan sometime, so you can be reallllly happy again. 🙂 ❤

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    1. Your yard always looks nice in your photos, Gigi, so a “garden” as such isn’t required to have a pleasant outdoor space! My daughters and their families all live here, in Texas. So, when I got divorced about five years ago, moving here seemed like the right thing to do. I miss the lakes and the places from my earlier life. My daughters also grew up in Michigan and prefer it, but because of jobs, and all, this is where we stay.

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      1. I can understand that but I also understand how you would miss Michigan. Jobs and kids. My garden looks awful this year because I’m afraid of it. The poison Ivy has moved into our neighborhood and I almost ended up in the hospital from it. I can’t put poison on it because of Emily and I have pet her with gloves on, so I don’t get it off of her fur, if she’s walked through it or by it. I’m so miserable about all of that. I’m going to have things dug up in the fall. I need trees trimmed but don’t want the men to pick up the poison ivy either. One of my grandson’s friends got it somewhere. It’s everywhere now and it was never here before two years ago. I have overrun with weeds and vines and the poison ivy. And with the virus, I didn’t really go plant shopping. Sigh, not a beautiful garden this year, that’s for sure. Hopefully, in the future, you can return to Michigan. 🙂 Fingers crossed.

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  5. This is lovely, Becky. Here in Kent, east of London, my garden has saved my sanity through this pandemic. I’ve planted nutritious plants too: peas, beans, new pear and almond trees, and have seen some courgette and cauliflower seeds turn into plants. No veg yet but it’s early days. Gardening is so good for the body as well as the soul, the act of feeling leaves and earth. I wish you joy of it and your beautiful sunsets x

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  6. It’s interesting. My previous apartment balcony had a NNW exposure, and in the summer, the only thing that would grow there was cacti. Well, my Hawaiian schefflera did well, too, and bougainvillea. Now, I’m so shaded that the cactus are refusing to bloom, and again it’s the schefflera that are doing really well. I gave away a couple of plants I’d hoped would do well, but they just weren’t getting enough sun. It’s always something!

    Once we get past hurricane season, I think I’ll go with geraniums and cyclamen for color. Both will do well through the winter. My mother had some geraniums she kept blooming for years, but she’d always bring them into the air conditioning in the summer!

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  7. The photo of you and your dad is precious. You were adorable. On a whim, I started some tomatoes from seeds this spring (which I hadn’t done in years). They got off to a good start, and are now thriving in the garden.

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  8. Your balcony garden looks like it’s doing very well to me! So far, our vegetable garden is thriving. I hope we get a good yield this year. The photo of you and your dad is just precious! I’ll bet you pestered him for wheel barrow rides.

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  9. Gardening is a wonderful legacy to receive and pass down. Even though I no longer have personal outdoor space at my “home,” it’s so rewarding to see my grown children carry on the tradition. To see photos of others’ stuff growing in the ground or in pots is wonderful. I love to visualize sitting with others in those spaces, sipping coffee, and lots of book talk! So thank you, and good luck with your “garden” 🙂

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    1. Yes, I’ve used the leaves in salads, Patsy. Very tasty! And I’ve also read you can use the flower buds before blooming to pickle them and use much like a caper. I still need to try that, too!


  10. I love the photo of you in the wheel barrow! So cute. We didn’t garden in my military family. I didn’t even know food didn’t come from the store until my late 30’s ;( Ha. That’s quite the move from Michigan to Texas. I have never tried growing 4 o’clocks. I don’t think I’ve even seen any but I’ll look them up and see how they do in the PNW. I picked up some humming bird favorites at the nursery today. They will go in the planter after the sun goes down a little to feed my favorite little friends. They were managing people going in and out very effectively as all had to wear masks and stay 6 ft. apart. With only a few in at a time, we were able to make short work of choosing with help and checking out. It can be done safely with forethought. My favorite market only lets 6 in at a time and one comes out before the next one comes in. Works very well. All in masks. Carts are sanitized between customers. You pay a little more but the lack of crowds is worth it.

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    1. Thanks for reading and commenting on my post, Marlene. I understand what you’re saying about shopping and imagine that I’ll have to venture out more, eventually. Great that you found some plants to attract hummingbirds!

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  11. It’s great to have some private outdoor space and so good to see how you are enjoying it, Becky, though I think I too would feel nostalgic for gardens of the past with more room. Love the photo of you and your dad.

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  12. I love your balcony, it looks like a beautiful spot to hang out. 🙂
    I spent a lot of time this summer out in my backyard with my cat. I don’t know what I would have done during this lockdown without Merlin – he really helps to keep me grounded. 🙂

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