Highrise gardening

This is Elsie Hossack on the terrace of her 25th-floor condo at the Kennedy House on JFK Boulevard. She has spectacular views of City Hall to the left, 30th Street Station on the right, Liberty Place in front, and so many other landmarks.

I went to see Elsie's terrace, actually, to talk about highrise gardening - what plants can take the brutal sun, heat and wind. Before we even got into that, I had to sit down - away from the rail. My legs were turning to jelly, but not Elsie.


She stood right on the edge. Elsie's a brave woman - 82 years old, with a long business career behind her. Unable to keep still, she still works - as a volunteer - at the Kimmel Center several times a week.

We did talk about plants, finally. Elsie likes annuals - petunias, geraniums, marigolds, portulaca - in pots weighted down with soil. She has only a few indoor plants that she puts out for the summer.

Makes for a nice, light, colorful environment for reading the paper (we especially like that part) and drinking coffee in the morning, or having cocktails with friends in the evening. Daytime can be hot.

Mostly, Elsie enjoys all the lit-up buildings at night. And the stars. And the moon. Now that's a garden.