Everything old is new again

One of the best parts of my job is spending time scouring markets and fairs for vintage pieces for the site. Just like with interiors and fashion, mixing vintage and modern can give your outdoor space a unique personalised look. We have some wonderful new (but old) products available now such as blue and white enamel buckets and basins, and the huge galvanised dolly tubs originally used for handwashing clothes, which all make perfect planters. And the vintage wooden crates look great planted up with salad leaves. Just make sure you make a drainage hole at the bottom if you are planting straight into an old container.

Best of all, container gardens are easily portable which make them ideal for busy Londoners who seem to move house quite regularly. Just pick them up and move them with you – they’ll add instant colour to your new outdoor space.

It’s also easy to give your balcony or patio a brand new look, by changing the planting or simply moving the pots around to create a different look. Rearranging your display regularly can help you to see which colours work best together, or where some plants will thrive better.

You also don’t have to spend a fortune to grow plants, flowers or veg in pots. Here are my top five tips for thrifty gardening.

  • Why not re-use different containers for a portable garden? Buckets, wine crates and wicker baskets make perfect containers.
  • Build up your own compost, you can use tea bags and coffee grounds to get started.
  • Use the bottoms of egg shells to start seeds.
  • Start growing bamboo, it makes a great support for growing tomatoes and terrific screening.
  • Smear vaseline around the rims of pots to deter slugs. (Who surprisingly find their way upto my 4th floor balcony every summer!)