To inform entertain and excite my kids, Jamie, Patrick, Aaron & Sarah Middleburgh, our family and friends.

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Hong Kong

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lets talk gardens !!! Gardens in the sky !!! Well..... 30th floor gardens !!

All the flats on this estate have a planter/window box outside the living room main windows and in theory one could and some people do put plants in it. The problem is that the architects apparently didn't think through the practicalities of working it and consequently didn't specify the window access needed or if the did they did so ambiguously or else someone compromised on the specification when purchasing and fitting out windows

Without risking a fall it is neigh on impossible IMHO to get to centre of the planter without climbing out of the window. I am convinced that those who do send out their helpers presumably secured by a rope of something (and whilst there they can clean the windows on the outside ??) There are strict prohibitions about planting on public land , and big penalties for things that fall from flats and a long waiting list for allotments which means that if you want to grown any plants you are restricted to what you can grow indoors.

Now whilst I like plants I have to confess that I have grossly neglected those that I either bought or cultivated. I only have 2 plants left from when I first came to Hong Kong and lived in North Point ( 20+years ago) , A tree which I grew from a seed which has 4 leaves at its crown . It has only ever had about 5 leaves and sometimes as few as 1 . The trunk (about 0.8M high) sort of spirals reflecting where the light came from before I realised that it needed turning. It's a sorry thing but a survivor and I treasure it. The other which I named John is in a similar state and was bought near Quarry Bay.It's a semi succulent and occasionally produces the most gorgeous purple flowers.

Our helper has basically taken them in care and added some cuttings of her own. My wife also added some bamboo (just in case we get a panda dropping in ??) ; Until last week my on going contribution has been accidental. Specifically, being a lazy sod, I habitually toss orange pips in the direction of the assorted pots in the corner,rather than put them into the bin in the kitchen like a civilized person . In effect I emulate a wild animal feeding on forest fruits and dispersing the seeds as I go about my business, or at least that's what I keep telling our helper and wife.

Having discovered how effective this method of cultivation is I branched out and have tried lemon pips (not sure if successful - one citrus plant looks like another till they fruit), cherry stones (regretfully without success) and avocado. In fact the adv0cado tree currently growing is so vigorous we have started to have discussions about what we do with it when it gets to big for the living room. My personal preference is to put it outside in the planter but people upstairs might object if it started to block their view. Also it may prove hazardous when we have Typhoons etc.

In the last 2 weeks we have planted and start some tomato plants; This was in response to Jamie asking how tomatoes change colour ; we decided to show him. So far so good .All seed germinated and we have demonstrated the effect of light on the grown of stem and leaves , we have established the effect of gravity of root grown and we have differentiated between real leaves and cotyledons. More successfully, in fact, than last year when we tried the same with runner beans (which was an absolute disaster). When we get to "genetics" I might try growing some maize, Worst comes to worst, we can try to make "mealy bread". In the mean time Jamie has announced his intention to sell his crop of tomatoes this year to the local supermarket chain "Park & Shop"... an agro business is born...

I told a colleague about the tomatoes and she very kindly gave me some basil and mint roots (which I still have to separate) so that Jamie could try his hand at a herb garden I did try both of these before but without much success. I talked to our helper who in Philippines had a successful herb garden and we are going to see if we can do better this time which brings me to the "Alien"

Nornally when I look out of living room window ,it's to look straight ahead at the boats navigating the channel, I don't look down... normally.... but as I was reviewing the plants indoors by the window for this post out of the corner of my eyes I notice there was a plant growing ... actually thriving in the planter; I was a bit shocked ... we seem to have a blow in from somewhere .. isn't nature wonderful .... maybe the architects intended the planters to be self planting??


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