Happy New Year from all of us at the Balcony Gardener! With it being a brand new year we thought we would start a series of blogs to tie in with the release of Isabelle’s new book for all budding balcony gardeners. Hopefully through the next series of blogs we can help you kickstart your new year gardening resolutions, and help you embark on a fresh start as a balcony gardener.
Here in the first blog we’re going to consider what you need to think of before you even step outside and start gardening. Make sure you check with a qualified architect or structural engineer to check just how much your roof or balcony can take, you don’t want to incur any accidents later, it’s always better to be on the safe side!
Once you’re sure that your outdoor space will work as a garden and will comfortably bear pots and containers, you can then start the fun of planning your garden. It’s helpful to give some thought to the plants that will thrive in your garden, and whilst you don’t need to be too strict on abiding to gardening rules there are a few guidelines that will help your garden blossom:
Invest in a few larger containers that will create focal points instead of lots of smaller ones. A small space can easily look overcrowded with lots of plants and ornaments.
THINK ABOUT LIGHT
Most outdoor space will have spots that don’t receive enough light, so tailor your planting to the available light. If you have low levels of sunlight pick shade-tolerant plants with lush foliage such as hostas and ivy.
CREATE A BACKDROP
To begin with choose evergreen plants such as box and sweet bay. Lavender is a lovely yearlong green base but won’t flower all the time.
USE ODD NUMBERS
Planting in odd numbers gives the most aesthetically pleasing results, so plant one, three or five plants in a container.
RESTRICT THE COLOUR PALETTE
It can be easy to overdo the number of colours in a planting scheme but this can make it look too busy and overcrowded, so pick a few colours and stick to them.
GROW VEGETABLES AND START WITH HERBS
Herbs are relatively easy to grow in containers and are a great way to start growing your own produce. Mint, chives, parsley and rosemary are good varieties to start with and all grow well in containers. Once you’ve mastered herbs, move onto other crops such as tomatoes, salad onions and carrots.
Hopefully this will give you a few ideas to get started with, next time we’ll look at the essential gardening kit.