Survival in the city:
Snow has brought an extra dimension to the small balcony next to my kitchen door; a balcony I never use, with an ugly metal fence and a view over buildings which are due for demolition.
This spring when plans were finalised for the demolition of my neighbour’s property, I decided an evergreen screen would be a good idea between the kitchen and the inevitable chaos that would undoubtedly fill the view for the next couple of years.
Once I had accepted that the metal railing is part of my urban existence, I realised that metal trash cans (We call them dust bins in England and trash cans in the Netherlands!) would make the perfect containers to grow a collection of screening, evergreen shrubs.
Throughout the summer the shrubs have grown well and when eventually the bulldozers move in I think I will have a pretty effective screen in place.
For relief I also planted some deciduous shrubs behind the evergreens directly below the kitchen window. The summer was dreary and wet and these small Acer palmatum trees were very happy; how well they will fare here, in the centre of Amsterdam, during a more typical hot summer, has yet to be seen.
The arrival of snow two weeks ago gave the new installation an unexpected lift as the tin-can-containers seemed to glitter like silver jewellery against their grubby background.
Even with regular watering and feeding these shrubs will never acheive their full potential, but so far they are proving to be a fresh and welcome relief. Will my new neighbours also appreciate the view from their side of the fence? The dog will certainly make sure they stay there.