In a fit of early optimism I planted a variety of kitchen herbs in pots on the terrace. Aromatic herbs all thrive in sunny conditions; in the shade they sulked and grew pale. Then they stopped growing altogether, despite mild, bright weather, and it was clear they were sick. I’m all for biodiversity in a garden, but the first wildlife species to arrive on the terrace were less than welcome – woolly aphids, followed by whitefly, snails and red spider mites. All the herbs were afflicted by the mites, difficult to detect and difficult to get rid of. The infestation explained all the tiny pale patches on the leaves, and a garnish of fresh herbs on a salad started to be less appealing. I scrapped them all.
There’s still a chance of fresh, home-grown herbs though. This year I’ve planted herbs on the sunny side of the flat, outside the living room window. In classic Parisian style, all the windows in the flat are portes-fenêtres – or French windows to the English. As we’re living on the second floor you clearly can’t walk out of all these portes and the ornamental railings make sure you don’t. There’s just room inside the railing for a row of tall pots with a 15cm square section. Two pot hangers (which came with the flat) support larger pots above. Good secure fixings for plants on railings are gardening essentials in this city.