How does your garden grow? |The Urban Garden Journal

It all began with a few hot little chilli seeds gone to pot two years ago. In that cute green glazed terracotta pot on the shallow ledge of a window sill.

We fell so in love with that pot that we invited two more over so it wouldn’t be lonely.  We planted a little rosemary plant in one and sage in another so that, you know,  they’d feel like they were there for more important reasons. All three of them perched precariously on the window sill of our struggling-to-be-30 sq.ft  kitchen. An earthquake of three-point-niner along the right fault might have sent them tumbling into the sink but fortunately that didn’t come. We loved to watch the shy little chilli raise its leaves to the sun or the rosemary swish in an errant breeze through an open window. its scent pervading through the dish-rack. Amey surreptitiously poured tea water into the plants while I wasn’t looking. (I hate the idea of tea staining my lovely cream-coloured window ledge. Little did I know that stains of all sorts are part of plants-perched-on-your-sill territory.) The plants thrived modestly in the greenhouse type situation that the glass window and sink helped create.

Then a year ago, we moved. We were presented with an unkempt backyard, overgrown with a rambling border of brambles. Awful for plant beds, but just begging for container gardening. Striving for self-control we both lacked, we told ourselves we wouldn’t try anything too ambitious. Just some basil and oregano to go along with the sage, chilli and thyme and a couple of flowering perennials for colour along with a gorgeous fuchsia. Tough, hardy plants that I figured would survive my clumsy attempts at killing them. True enough, all we had to give them was some well-drained soil and water and they were quite happy.

Until the first winter arrived. Based on some loose internet research, we figured all the plants would survive our relatively mild – no frost or snow – NorCal winter. The rain, we assured ourselves, would be a good thing. Turns out there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

The rosemary soldiered on and the sage acknowledged the winter by shedding a few leaves. The fuchsia shed all flowers and became a shade of its former self. The chilli plant with which it all began, however, withered away to a dull, green stem. We fervently hoped it would revive in spring but turns out that it didn’t. By early May this year, we had to agree that it was now just a stick in a pot. By all rights, it had determinedly struggled to have a life in some remarkably adverse conditions. (On an unrelated note, so has this blog, but fortunately its survival is more in my control. I’m doubly determined to hang on to it.)

Fortunately, we’d saved some seeds off its last harvest so we planted those. Come spring, the modest rosemary and sage took off like rockets. Our inner ambitious gardeners had completely taken over by now and manifested in a wondering of what else we could plant. Fortunately, the friendly and knowledgeable plant selling folk at the Ferry Building Farmer’s Market had plenty of helpful ideas for novice gardeners. I’m now the proud keeper of a burgeoning garden, which I’m dying to talk about; which is why this is the start of a small series of posts devoted to my garden.

As of early April this year, here’s what was happening in the urban garden
(hover over any of the images below to learn know about the subject)

Rest in peace
Indian Chilli (aka The Cheeky Chilli plant) *sob*

Thriving original residents:
Lemon Thyme

Happy new residents:
St. Pierre tomato
Sweet 100 Cherry Tomato
Cayenne Pepper
Red Bell Pepper (Capsicum)
Habenero pepper
English Thyme
Lemon Verbena
Dill Mint
Tea roses


In the garden but still to join the party:


Stay tuned for further updates from the Urban Garden!




  1. Mona

    Oh, the joys of summer. Planting a few tomatoes and herbs is a summer ritual for me. After almost 6 months of harsh snowy winter every year, I cannot just miss summer time gardening. Your container garden looks beautiful Sharmila.

    • Sharmila

      Thanks Mona. Yes, I’m somewhat of a new initiate to the joys of gardening but am already smitten. Just ate my very first strawberry of the plant today. Oh so sweet!