Friday, May 30, 2008

What's the Story, Morning Glory?

Last Sunday was Mother's Day in France. As promised, I bought flowers for my window box. In my mind's eye I've pictured for two years the floral composition I wanted, but it took a while before I could figure out how to execute the master plan.

This is the only single-casement window in the apartment, at the entrance, and I envisioned morning glories recklessly scrambling up the wall on both sides during the summer months. The maverick in me loves a bit of untamed countryside in the middle of the structure of the city.

First challenge. The window box. There is a metal-covered sill just below the ornate grill work, but no obvious way to safely perch a window box on top of said sill, lest it topple to the courtyard below in the first gust. (I wanted the flowers at the bottom of the window, rather than on a hanging balcony-basket, which would block the view in the middle).

I finally devised a scheme. With my handy cordless screwdriver/drill (purchased long ago to assemble all those IKEA DIY furnishings), I drilled two holes in the top of the planter, then strung heavy-duty wire through them for fastening the box to the grill work.

Second challenge. How to lace up the strings for the morning glories to twine around and climb upwards? The apartment building is stucco-covered stone, so hammering little nails into the casement wasn't an option. Brilliantissimo! I figured that a tension-sprung curtain rod would do the trick. But installing the rod nine feet up in a wide open window was no mean feat for even the deftest of individuals, let alone for a somewhat uncoordinated, artistic type like me with terminal vertigo. I was terrified but determined. Fortunately I had the presence of mind to attach the strings to the rod first. Then I tied them to the railing.

Third challenge. Ever-present: Sacks and the City. Sacks of potting soil, that is. This time rather than spending days cleaning up the dirt in the cracks in my kitchen counter, as I did after my most recent urban gardening adventure, I simply spread out an old table cloth on the floor and transplanted the lavender, lobelia, and morning glories into the window box. Then I hoisted the box into place in the window, twisted the wires to the wrought iron. Done!

After just a few hours the tendrils are already curling around the strings, eager to have a destination. The lavender, warmed by the afternoon sun, sends wafts of Proven├žal fragrance into the apartment.





Urban dwelling.
I can live with this.

5 comments:

Isabelle said...

I have just one word: BRAVO!

Evelyn said...

Beautiful, Polly! And to think morning glories are considered weed plants here in the Midwest. I'm going to try lavender in a pot!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Hi

The morning glories are climbing incredibly. They'll be gorgeous & tall soon.

But here's the latest in "the gods said 'ha!'"

No sooner did I publish the words "I enjoy a bit of untamed countryside in the structure of Paris," than I got more than I bargained for. Not flora, but fauna.

On the other side of my apartment (not anywhere near the flowers) suddenly I got an ANT ATTACK. Eww. I don't mind ants when they're scurrying around in the great outdoors, but not inside my home!

I don't know anyone in Paris who gets ants, especially all the way up on the 4th floor. But they were pouring in the window cracks of my bathroom, and then in the kitchen this morning. I'm using the 'Chairman Mao' method of killing them one by one, which surprisingly seems to work at keeping them at bay (plus pouring some chlorine cleaning gel along the window sills so they couldn't track back.)

I'll have to call the gardienne and the lady in charge of the Syndicat if it continues.

Anyway, I laugh at the Murphy's Law of it all, which always seems to be the reigning law for me!

I always knew I liked the theme music to the Pink Panther:

"Dead Ant, Dead Ant, dead-ant-dead-ant-dead-ant..."

Isabelle said...

I have an ant attack in my apartment every spring (I don't live in Paris but near Versailles). The only thing that keeps them away is the little flat green box filled with poison that you can find in supermarkets or hardware stores. The ants go inside the box eat the poison and go back to their colony where they spread the poison to others and they are finally all killed. I know it's terrible but they are useful OUTSIDE not INSIDE!!!

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Thanks for an excellent tip, Isabelle. I guess I'll have to do that.

Outside, ants are part of nature. I think they're industrious and I leave them alone.

Inside, ants are vermin. Squish.

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