window-ledge garden

windowsill garden: miniature rose and mint plants

My college friend doesn't do houseplants, so she's surprised me by coming home on two separate Waitrose grocery trips with little potted plants. The first one was a tiny yellow rose in a narrow purple quilted-glass jar and the second was a small pot of mint. The rose had stopped blooming (my friend keeps the shades drawn for privacy whenever she leaves the flat and often even when home), so one day I plopped the mint plant inside a painted yellow tin that had formerly held a stash of colored pens and pencils (the preteen is redecorating her room) and stuck both plants outside on the kitchen window ledge.

mint plant and mini-rose

Shortly upon arrival in London, I had suggested to my friend that she place a large rectangular clay pot full of hardy kitchen herbs out there on the ledge—thyme, mint, rosemary, chives—but she was fearful of a heavy pot falling off the ledge and braining an unsuspecting downstairs caller. So the small pots are perhaps her compromise. I suspect they, being fairly lightweight, will be more likely to blow off the windowsill come winter storms, but it is not my house, and so I welcome the living greenery and the open windows of summer. Even small gardening gestures are vital for healthy living.

I have never lived in an apartment in America with exterior window ledges deep enough for pots (though presumably they do exist, maybe on the East Coast), but Europe is more civilized in this and other ways. Even if only on a window ledge or sunny interior windowsill, it is a simple luxury to pluck a few herb leaves off a plant a few steps away from the stove or counter to flavor a meal.

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