The Balcony Gardener Blog

What is your house plant style?

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

To celebrate the launch of Isabelle Palmer’s new book The House Gardener, we got in touch with some of our favourite journalists and bloggers and asked them to create their very own house plant vignettes.

We sent them a plant, suggested that they style it according to their own taste and interior setting, and then send us the pictures.
Here are two beautiful vignettes from Remodelista UK Editor Christine Chang Hanway and Blogger and Interior Stylist Lucy Gough

Christine Chang Hanway | Remodelista UK Editor |
My earliest memory of indoor plants were Spider Plants. It was the ’70s and houseplants were the rage and spider plants in macrame pot hangers were everywhere. In the ’80′s, home design was about being slick, polished and controlled — plants represented the messiness of the ’70s. I actually don’t have any indoor plants in my home now. If I am honest, I think I have killed every houseplant I have ever owned. I am lucky to have a small urban garden which my kitchen/dining room opens directly onto so I have a lot of green in my life anyway. And the plants in my garden seem to fare better than they do in my house. I am looking forward to taking care of this one though. Check in with me in a year to see how it’s doing. Whenever I have introduced plants into my home, they have always been small — know thy limitations! I choose them for their sculptural form and arrange them accordingly with other favorite objects.

Christine’s vignette using Senecio Mandraliscae

Lucy Gough | Blogger |
I was so disinterested in gardening as a kid that I don’t think I would have noticed any plants, even if there were any! However, when I bought my first home in my early twenties, my Grandma bought me a Croton and I used to polish the leaves with white oil. Possibly because they were seen as kitsch. Interiors trends turned ‘minimal’ fairly quickly and anything deemed OTT went into a car boot sale. I am now an obsessive gardener, so most of my plants live in my postage-stamp sized garden. However, I have recently turned to indoor plants too. I love my dwarf lime tree that sits on my kitchen bench, I also have an orchid in my bathroom and I made six glass terrariums for a photo shoot a while back and they are now thriving in almost every room in my house!
Personally, I want a houseplant that more or less looks after itself. I love the waxy, green leaves of succulents and find they don’t need much looking after. They are green all year round and have a really smart, modern, architectural look to them. and they work with almost any colour scheme! Winner

Lucy’s beautiful vignette using  AEONIUM arboreum var. atropurpureum ‘Schwarzkopf’

Gorgeous vignettes!

We will be back soon with some more house plant designs


Little Green Fingers

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

With the sun in the sky and the half term around the corner, this is a great time to get the kids into the garden. I recently took my best friend’s two sons to my allotment in North London and they had a lovely time digging, weeding, planting and generally getting nice and muddy.

Kids just love being in the garden, it allows them the freedom to forage, look for insects and dig in the mud – one of their favourite things to do. It really will keep them occupied and happy for an entire day, and happy half term kids means happy half term parents.

Great ideas for gardening with little ones is planting simple seeds such as cress and sunflowers, which can easily be placed in yoghurt pots, with results occurring quite quickly.

Another is to allow them their own patch, be it in the garden or in a container, where some quick growing fruit and vegetables can be planted such as tomatoes, potatoes, raspberries and strawberries. They can then have the very ‘grown-up’ responsibility of watering them everyday and watching them as they grow and produce items for their dinner plate. A real sense of pride and achievement will be felt on the first mouthful I am, sure.

The Balcony Gardener has some really nice products for kids to inspire their green fingers. My favourites are here:

April Showers Comic Book Seeds

The Superhero Gardener Comic Seeds

Matchstick Flowers

Talking Growing Beans

We have also found two very exciting gardening events taking place especially for kids this half term.

Monday 26th May 2014
Mr Bloom at Stockeld Park.

Everyday this May half term there will be Spring themed merriment and activities at Stockeld Park, such as a daily snail racing championship, planting zone, including the ‘Recycle Your Wellies’ campaign; and on May bank holiday, CBeebies ‘Mr Bloom’. Mr Bloom will be joined by friends Fairy Enchantica, PomPom and Stanley for meet and greets and to plant the first of this year’s magic Pumpkins in Stockeld Park’s very own Pumpkin Patch.

For more information visit,

The Eden Project’s Art of Stories.

24th May – 1st June 2014

Children will be asked to collaborate with one of the UK’s best animators to create a giant, crowd-sourced animated story.
Jim Parkyn, whose credits include model-making and animation for Aardman’s Creature Comforts, Shaun the Sheep, Chicken Run and Pirates!, will work with Eden visitors to create an ambitious collaborative animation. Jim and his team will set the theme for the story each day and people will be able to help write the script and make and animate models.
Bruce Ingman, another acclaimed children’s illustrator, will also be on hand with workshops throughout the event, plus comic artists will also be well represented at the Art of Stories, with Nick Brennan, Cornwall-based cartoonist for The Beano and The Dandy and Gary Northfield, who created The Beano’s Derek the Sheep strip as well as provided illustrations for the Horrible Histories books.
Experimental graphic novelist Gareth Brookes, who makes comics from unusual materials such as embroidery and press flowers, will also be running workshops. Other guests will also be visiting throughout the week.
For a full schedule, please see
So there you are – a busy half term ahead.
Let’s hope the sunshine is still with us
Team BG xxxxxxx

SF Girl by Bay

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Thanks to the wonderful blog SF Girl by Bay for featuring The House Gardener book recently.

Style at Home

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

The fab Style at Home blog recently featured Isabelle’s book The House Gardener.

Your Home is Lovely

Thursday, May 8th, 2014

Kate Burt’s fab blog, Your Home is Lovely, recently featured Isabelle’s book The House Gardener.