Spring has arrived and we enjoy warm and sunny days, smells of flowers and wet soil. Sometimes we do not go for a walk, but stay on our loggia to play and expose ourselves to sunshine and work in our apartment garden.
I grew up in an apartment (about 60 m2) without a balcony or loggia in one of Slovak district towns. Then M. and I lived in a smaller apartment without a balcony or loggia in the capital of Slovakia. When we found an apartment for us to buy, it happened to be one with a loggia and about the same size as the one I grew up in. At that time I had no idea how satisfying and calm and health protecting the loggia will become.
My gardening history
As a child I liked watering flowers in my grandmother’s and grandfather’s garden and that was it. I did not want to pull the weeds, water all the plants in their big garden or harvest all the produce. It was so much work and for me as a child it was overwhelming and too much. Later, in our new apartment I wanted to have plants. We started with two small aloe vera plants which grew and propagated a lot. After three years we had about thirty flower pots with aloe vera plants. We also added two Dracaena plants and two Sansevieria plants to our plant collection. I found out now that Sansevieria belongs to genus Dracaena; therefore, to correct myself we added four Dracaena plants, that propagated considerably.
After B. was born many aloe vera plants did not survive as we did not have the capacity to care for plants enough. Dracaena genus appears to be more resistant, most of the plants decorate our shelves even today.
In October 2020 I started to look for a prescription box for B. and us. B. turned two few months ago and his skills, patience and concentration have improved greatly, but I felt too busy with household tasks and caring for B. and preparing activities on areas that were familiar to me. I was not able to find time to learn new things and bring new area of interest to our household. That is why I decided for a prescription box.
I wanted something prepared in Europe, so we would not have to wait for months until it arrives… This single criterion reduced our options dramatically. Then I wanted something that would enrich and teach both of us – B. and me too. So here because of my artistic studies all the arts and crafts prescription boxes finished. Gardening prescription box was a logical outcome, as other themes seemed to be too advanced for a two-years-old toddler. There were two to be chosen from and I have decided for a Mud and Bloom prescription box. And it really aligned with my idea of caring for the environment and teaching that to B.
I ordered and after about two weeks a November box arrived. Although on their website it is stated that boxes are “delivered through your letter box”, we needed to pick up ours at our post office, as our post boxes are probably different then British ones. We opened the box in the afternoon and B. was so excited, he wanted to make all the activities immediately, even to plant Russian snowdrop (Puschkinia Libanotica) bulbs. It was already dark outside. So we took care of our air plants (of which I have never heard about), made stands for them, made pine cone gnomes, tried color pencils… I read some information from cards.
That small box was full of information about nature, there were gardening activities and arts and crafts activities as well. They are for “3-8 year olds” and therefore not all activities are suitable for B. Either we try to do them together anyway or I do them. Boxes and their content are eco-friendly. For us they are quite costly, maybe for British they are not… I was considering, whether I subscribe for each month or not. Those air plants were still in my mind. I have decided to go for it and I consider it an investment for the future. At that time, few months ago, I did not know how it would change our life, especially mine.
March 2020. First person was positively tested for COVID-19 in Slovakia. After almost two weeks country was in lockdown with about 100 positively tested people. At that time M. was working from home for about a month, he was the one getting our post from the post office and other going out things. We ordered groceries, fruits and vegetables home as usually. Situation was presented as very serious and the speed of measures only supported that.
B. and I did not go for walks for few weeks, we spent time on our loggia and waited for weekends to go somewhere further to the woods with M. I tried to meet the least people possible – it was my way to keep my mental health in the state it was, not to worsen it. After few weeks I looked for nearby options for nature walks. I found orchard where trees bloomed, everything turned green. I felt like Anne of Avonlea. It was the book I was reading back then. I loved author’s descriptions of nature which I skipped when I read the book as a child. In 2020 I could appreciate growing grass that was too ordinary for me before… I started to dream about living in a house with a huge garden. This was also another aspect leading me to choosing that particular prescription box.
Winter and spring 2021
Since our first Mud and Bloom box arrived, we planted all the seeds and bulbs from every following box. They started to sprout and grow either after few days indoors or after few weeks or months on our loggia. The last day of February, right before measures due to COVID-19 were toughened even more, my sister V. brought me few things. Among them were young daffodils, snowdrops, tulips and hyacinths from my grandmother’s garden (that one where I watered flowers as a child) prepared by my mom K. It was such an amazing surprise! B. and I could not wait to plant them in pots.
It became my morning routine to get dressed, comb hair, brush teeth, exercise and have a look at how our apartment garden is doing. B. usually joins me – we check and smell the plants and check the temperature too. A look at our plants growing and that revel in colors deeply satisfy and calm me. Our nice loggia environment even protects my health in two ways. Firstly, my mental health, I do not go outside when I do not feel like it, when it is a day when it could worsen my anxiety of getting ill. Secondly, physical health, when I am too tired after doing many household tasks, we just play on our loggia, get fresh air and sunshine.
There is so much more to write about… This post was about our journey to our apartment garden. I save information about our gardening procedures and other loggia activities for next time.