Fire escapism

Off my kitchen is my apartment's fire escape, something I've used for years as a graveyard for the empty pots of dead plants past. There is something quintessentially new york about a fire escape, it's romantic and depressing and unless you're vigilant, it's almost always full of something you don't want to keep in the house. A smoldering fry pan that's making the alarm go off goes on the fire escape, without question. Friend's cigarette butts, too.

I've turned over a new leaf and have been cramming mine with a silly amount of plants since I fell in love with Amsterdam's garden tenacity. If I'm allowed to continue unchecked, my fire escape no longer will be able to serve as an escape for actual fires. And we wouldn't want that.
Just today my morning glory seeds pushed through the soil, this variety, which I planted absurdly late in the game. Maybe they'll bloom in the fall, once I trick them into winding around the rail?

I've been standing at my kitchen window all month, dumbstruck and dreaming of having a garden not elevated 3 stories in the air. My eyes glaze over and I don't even mind the quantity of flies now entering my house through the open windows. In terms of reality blurring escapism, foxgloves are a highly recommended gateway drug.

44 comments:

  1. What a glorious view! You must look forward to waking up every morning to that!

    ciao from newport beach

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  2. there's something very dreamy about flowers and vines peeking through an old iron rail ... throw in some bricks with history and an open window and I'm swept away! I would be perfectly content staring at your three story garden all day ~

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  3. Wow! That's a great idea! I had never heard of anyone putting flowers on the fire escape before. So brilliant. That would be amazing if you could get some of the vines to wrap around the bars. It would be the perfect spot to drink your morning coffee or afternoon tea. :)

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  4. Oh my. What a perfect perfect use of a fire escape. I absolutely love foxgloves, but I'm a little wary about keeping them around just because of their toxicity to kitties. What is that sweet peach flower?

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  5. Lovely - and what a nice mix of colour and texture. I agreee with John Allen Photography - about getting some vines growing. Maybe down at street level there might be a tiny piece of earth where you could start a vine. Once they take hold, there is no stopping them - and some stay green all year.

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  6. Absolutely perfect. Cherish it, I have a garden and yard that I love with everything I am, But honestly ITS A LOT OF WORK! I think it's wonderful what you have done with such a small space, I LOVE the foxgloves. Does Elmwood have a garden?

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  7. Beautiful. And I also love your curtains.

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  8. Thanks guys! The peach flower is a zinnia and morning glories are actually a climbing vine that I'm hoping to train to go around the railing and up the ladder.

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  9. What a beautiful view this must give you, transforming a fire escape into a miniature garden is a brilliant idea :)
    Sirens and Bells xx

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  10. Did I spy a scented geranium leaf? What does it smell like? I hope you'll keep us posted later in the summer for how it's all growing. =)

    I feel you on the eyes-glaze-over-with-escapist-thoughts bit. I suffer from the same malady....I have a southeast-facing 7th story balcony with visible diesel dust from the street below - doable, but.....

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  11. Lovely and dreamy--the foxgloves are amazing. You have a miniature secret garden.

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  12. In the old days, people from Brooklyn were considered "country folk" by the Manhattanites. I grew up in Bklyn and my garden grew on our 3rd story windowsills. The superintendent was very strict about things on the fire escape, but I often peered out to look at the moon and the birds who had nested in a crevice in the brickwork of the house next door. Today I live in Lancaster, PA (who knew?) and all those years of yearning for meadow, field, and forest have turned to bliss. I can appreciate your fire escape garden, but don't miss Bklyn at all.

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  13. Aren't foxgloves the dreamiest? I've just returned to London from an afternoon in my parents garden and I've brought a massive bunch of rural bliss to keep me going through the week. Enjoy your fire escape delights - they look beautiful.

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  14. Would so love to have a fire escape! What a lovely assembly!

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  15. your fire escape garden is so wild and awesome! I love it.

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  16. Nature has a way of softening even the harshest of man made structures. A little bit of vegetation can improve ones soul, especially when your a city dweller. All the best to your wonderful little garden!

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  17. These flower pictures are very pretty, I have a bunch of fresh flowers in my room this week and every time I look at them I smile.

    Laura - White Winters

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  18. It's looking all so lush and lovely, Amy, but I wonder if you couldn't go over and perch on that chimney (just kidding) opposite, to snap a few...or make friends with neighbors in the other building (who must be totally loving the view!) to shoot a few pics from their windows. That would give us the full perspective on how perfectly beautifully your "stair" garden is getting on with the fire escape...

    Your readers get curiouser and curiouser, you see, especially in countries where the outdoor fire escape is non-existent!!

    xo judith b.

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  19. That's so lovely! I remember my fire escape outside my kitchen window... it was nowhere near as gorgeous as this. All those wonderful growing things!

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  20. wow!! we don't have a fire escape on our building... if we did, it'd be filled with lots of herbs. yours is beautiful.

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  21. My favorite is the picture with the brick building and clothesline. It's proof that a tree grows in Brooklyn!

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  22. Beautiful!! The foxgloves are definitely lush and gorgeous. What are the petal-y flowers in the photo posted beside what appears to be a kind of scented geranium? I feel like I should know this...

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  23. oops... sorry, it looks like you've already answered this question. i've never seen zinnias in such muted shades. they're really pretty.

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  24. What a beautiful garden (and good use of space)!

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  25. This looks fantastic! Great job, and great use for a fire escape you will hopefully never have to use!

    Great post!

    Niki (LQM&M)
    xo

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  26. Ha! I've always had such romantic ideas about fire escapes - I'm in love with yours. Don't be surprised if you get squatters in all that loveliness!

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  27. i grew up on a farm and when we moved to new york i felt desperate to find a quiet, private, dark spot to run to. luckily, we were right on greenwood cemetery and our fire escape was just big enough for several pots, me, and one freaked out texas cat. (then we found the secret way to the roof and things got even better) great post that brought back old memories.

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  28. I can't really put my finger on why your pictures always make me feel like crying.

    Aside from that, I just planted my morning glory seeds TODAY! Here's hoping. I actually found them in my refrigerator, in the butter compartment, where they've lived for the past, oh, three years? Wonder if they've got any get up and go left in'em.

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  29. I was recently in Amsterdam as well and started my own little potted garden on our balcony but you've put my efforts to shame. Thank you for sharing your photos! And you're right; there's something so romantic about fire escapes. I've always dreamed of having one.

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  30. wow, beautiful! your photography is stunning!

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  31. This is so beautiful! I'm loving those foxgloves. Such a great idea. xx

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  32. I love this post because when people ask my why I got a fire escape tattoo to symbolize NYC, I realize you just have to live there to fully get it. It's *so* quintessential NYC to me. It was always a place of, um, well, escape for me. "it's romantic and depressing and unless you're vigilant, it's almost always full of something you don't want to keep in the house" - perfect.

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  33. so very pretty!

    i would love to see a street view!

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  34. Kate, there is this really dramatic line from the Glass Menagerie that cuts right to the heart of it, I think....

    "The apartment faces an alley and is entered by a fire-escape, a structure whose name is a touch of accidental poetic truth, for all of these huge buildings are always burning with the slow and implacable fires of human desperation."

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  35. gorgeous
    I love how you've turned a fire escape into a life escape somewhere you can go to flee the bad & ugly in life.

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  36. It's so beautiful. There's nothing more i can say.

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  37. your blog is truly magical. I'm so glad I found it!

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  38. How beautiful! You definitely brought life to this scene. <3 your blog.

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  39. J'adore ces photos... c'est si beau, si romantique... elles me transportent...

    Laura

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