Project Terrific Terrace 2010

By - April 29, 2010 (Updated: November 24, 2014)


As a garden photographer, you would think I’d have an amazing garden. Unfortunately I didn’t inherit nearly enough of my Mom and Grand-parents’ green thumbs. I hate mowing, weeding and dealing with pests. I’d much rather spend time admiring plants through the end of my macro lens.

That said, I LOVE my terrace. Yes it’s tiny and crowded but I think (though I may be slightly biased) that I have one of the best views in the centre of Brussels. My goal this year, Belgian weather permitting (and boy has she been permitting these past few weeks) is to spend more of my work day on my terrace.

In order to make this dream a reality, my most important purchase was a huge umbrella to shade me and my laptop from the sun. Then all I needed to do was initiate Project Terrific Terrace 2010!Luckily, container gardening is pretty affordable in the low-lands. On my recent trip to the Netherlands I went to my favourite garden centre and I loaded the Prius to the brim with plants and pots for my project.

My goal was to find a good balance between beautiful flowers and useful culinary herbs and I think I achieved that goal.

For herbs I have:

  • chives
  • regular and lemon thyme
  • large leaf and variegated purple sage
  • marjoram
  • regular and apple mint (mojitos anyone?)
  • lemon balm
  • rosemary
  • bay laurel

My flower garden consists of:

  • Pansies (also edible)
  • 2 kinds of lavender (one of which is also edible)
  • a deep red clematis (to replace my deceased passionflower)
  • A wisteria
  • an ice plant garden with 9 different varieties
  • a columbine
  • a small azalea

Andrew also decided to get in on the action with two tomato plants and some strawberries. I added a Spanish pepper plant and I hope to start some more tomato seedlings later in the spring.

The other thing I’m hoping will help make my terrace terrific is the compost box I started recently. I was feeling guilty at all of the peelings etc we were wasting from our veg boxes. Friends of ours showed us their terrific terrace and told us how to compost in a small space. They even donated some of their worms to get us started. So far it’s working great and there’s no smell (knocking furiously on wood).

So have a wander around my terrific terrace. Click on the thumbnails to view the whole photo and read the captions.

This is one of what I hope will be many CheeseWeb posts I wrote on my terrace. I plan to keep you posted on Project Terrific Terrace. Let’s see if I can manage to keep everything alive!

If you like this, you might like:

Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
It's after Halloween so I can officially share Christmas Markets now right...? 🎄🎅 - 1 week ago


  1. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe April 29, 2010 at 16:33

    Congratulations on initiating the Project Terrific Terrace 2010! We will be tuning in for more terrace-related adventures.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 29, 2010 at 17:42

      Thanks! Now do you know any anti-rain dances you can teach me?

  2. Comment by Sion @ paris (im)perfect

    Sion @ paris (im)perfect April 29, 2010 at 16:50

    Wonderful, Alison! I envy you the terrific terrace. Great idea to combine your garden project, photography, and blog posts!

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 29, 2010 at 17:41

      Haha, I’m nothing if not versatile! That and I’ll use any excuse to sit in the sun 🙂

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  4. Comment by Louise

    Louise April 29, 2010 at 20:53

    It might be a small but much more flower crowded terrace then mine at the moment. Haven’t had the inspiration to get started yet but I think you just made me want to get on with it. Thank you :-).

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 29, 2010 at 21:45

      Get out there and get your garden going! I know your garden skills are much better than mine. (Plus I can photograph it too) 🙂

  5. Comment by Laura

    Laura April 30, 2010 at 15:22

    Truly a terrific terrace. I have a (distant) view of the same big blue and white building from one of my windows. From my terrace I can see the top of the lovely St Gilles town hall; sadly this view is mostly blocked in the summer by a big red tree.

    I only have a dead olive tree on my terrace – I really should do something about that. A trip to the garden section of the marche du midi beckons.

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison April 30, 2010 at 15:47

      Ooo, yes, the Midi market has great plants. The only downside for me is having to drag them home on the metro 🙂

  6. Comment by pugwash pops

    pugwash pops May 1, 2010 at 18:15

    Wow … great garden, look forward to pretty pics as the little rooters rise to plump prominence, I’ll bet the old thumb is taking on a bit of a greenish glow … and vermiculture, have you named the crafty critters yet? … have fun!!! … love to all … PP

    • Comment by Alison

      Alison May 1, 2010 at 19:37

      IT’s a very, very pale green at this point… As for the worms there’s squirmy, wriggly, squiggly and Phil.

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