This year I have really enjoyed establishing a little balcony garden. In Australia, my balcony was terrorised by possums, so I could only have relatively spiky and non-edible plants. (Luckily we were three stories up and had a huge tree that created a beautiful green backdrop, so it didn't look too sparse.) Here, my balcony is terrorised by squirrels and, as I only recently found out, a raccoon! But, my friend A has devised a pretty much fool proof method of keeping the squirrels away. Squirrels don't really seem to eat the plants, but love to dig in the soil, burying their little treasures in anticipation of the cold winter. Of course, they are oblivious to the roots of the plants, so everything gets upended and broken and the plants suffer. But, if you place shards of tile in the soil, like little spikes, the squirrels seem to leave the plants alone - I guess it is not worth the pain in their little paws!
In this picture you can see my spearmint plant. I had heard mint was ultra hardy and I wanted something I could be fairly sure would make it through the summer and the transition inside for the winter. It is growing well and I love having a store of fresh mint on hand for cocktails and the occasional roast lamb!