Wednesday, 29 April 2015

How to Create your own Mini Garden P.1

Haiku Poetry  

Courtyard small my delight
Pots colour give me peace
Still tranquill, I sit alone

I want to know how you are, 
if you are progressing with 
your 'green' space,
concrete space etc. 

How is it shaping up?

Do you have a balcony at
the top of a high rise block? 

Do you have a few old
window boxes? A sad 
neglected 'space'?


Is it a boring, concrete space
which is crying out for some

Is it small, rectangular?
Bit like this perhaps?     


Just to say,
I inherited this patio but it
has to stay as it is not a priority. 

We need something soft on the 
eye to make it look attractive. 

That is why I am showing it to 
you first of all.

So let's get growing,
creating something pretty. 
(like this 
beautiful unusual tulip).


I have something to share with
you first. 

I recall living in a shared 
flat ages ago and had 
the best outdoor space ever. 
It was a huge balcony.

It was really great and it had lots 
of deep planters all the way along 
its length. Plus it was sheltered
there so I was really lucky. 

Better still, no-one else used it! 
 grew lettuces and herbs and
some huge sunflowers.

But looking back I had so much
and I could have created a lot more.

It was like raised beds ready to go
 and the bonus was they were 
filled with soil!

I have a strange memory of 
planting up small troughs along 
the top of the wall. 

These were planted up with 
bright orange marigolds.

That is a plant I would never grow now. 

This is part of my Garden, 
a neglected patch of grass

   and small flower bed planted 
with a few lonely bulbs. 

But you can do anything with 
a patch of turf, a space you want
to make your own
which is your very own plot.

Hidden and sheltered from
your neighbours, in a large town with back 
to back terrace houses. 

A few essential tools,
some gloves and some
beautiful plants.


Here is a small raised bed I have
 in a vegetable patch.

I bought the structure which 
is a bit basic but it does the job.

It is 4 pieces of treated plastic that 
all lock together to form
this square. It serves a purpose.

As my ground is not level I placed 
this raised bedin different areas and 
found  the best site for it.

My Garden is very steep and 
tricky to work with.

So I found the best site, after 
having a few trees reduced
and it now it gets plenty more 
light for growing plants.

We will work on this plot too.

So back to your 'Mini Garden' 
which is what I am here for. 
As I don't yet know what you
personally have I will paint a 
picture here and see if I can
help to guide you.

1. The concrete 'space' 

With a rectangular balcony 
we can't physically lift up the stone.


But you can find some real bargains 
from antique shops. 

I bought this really
neat planter which I sanded down
 and painted green.

Let's find four  or five planters 
which can be different shapes and sizes. 
This is your first challenge.      


I found this one in
my potting shed.

Let me know how tricky it was please.
Then we can move on.

How you gettting on with 
your search for planters?

Do you prefer wooden planters? 

Barrels? Metalic?

Look in unusual places. 

Look at other peoples
planters to get some ideas. 

2. Materials/Plants

You need to buy some multi purpose 
compost to fill them with.

Buy say two 50 litre bags form a good
 Garden Centre. Let me
know when you have done this.  


Let's go for seasonal flowers/ plants 

with lots of colour.

1. Wall flowers (red/yellow/orange)

2. Heucheas 

3. Euonymous 

4. Miniature bay trees 

5. Miniature/Patio roses 

6. Herbs - Rosemary, Sage, Mint (many varieties)

7. Lavender (various types to discuss)

8. Cotton Lavender

1. Yellow wallflower


(green, copper, dark red)



3. Euonymous


4. Miniature Bay Tree

5. Patio Rose

Please see Mini Gardens P2
 for next step.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Spring Time Leaves and Buds

"O Day after day we can't help
growing older.
Year after year spring can't help
seeming younger.
Come let's enjoy our winecup today,
Not pity the flowers fallen."
Wang Wei, On Parting with Spring

Spring Time Leaves /Buds
Take a closer look at the leaves. It is really an
attractive shurb and really comes into its own
in April. I love the ridged leaves and their definition.
It is growing on chalk which is a really tricky type
of soil to plant in successfully, but this Cornus is
clearly happy on this site of my Garden. 

This Cornus is one of a group of five Cornuses
I planted in the middle of my steep Garden. They have
all bushed out really well. It's leaves are so well defined
and are such a great contrast to the beautiful red stems.

This is an Astilbe. It has delightfully dark green leaves
and has just come into leaf again now it is spring.

It has such pretty leaves that stem from small
reddish stalks. It is low growing and so easy to
look after. 

I love the groups of threes its leaves
form in. It is planted in a deep trellis planter and is
in normal mutli purpose compost.

This Heuchera has delightfully frilly red/copper leaves
and is in happy in the sun. 

They do like being in the
shade. I love its colourful cheery leaves. 

They look
good in small groups of threes and with a mix of
colours. There are so many shades and forms. 


I planted this Bay and just left it to grow. It is pretty
healthy but needs some good pruning; it is not a good
shape and needs tidying up. It has been somewhat
neglected but has such a lovely presence, aroma and
lovely dark green leaves. Perfect for drying and to
cook with. Gardening and healthy cooking go hand
in hand in my opinion.


I find the little buds on this Bay so encouraging.
New life and this is why it is called Spring.

This Choysia took a long time to establish itself,
mainly as it was very over shadowed but other
shrubs. It is really healthy and suddenly grew
like mad. See its tiny flower buds which will
open up to give off the most delicious scent. 

Love its shiny, glossy green and yellow leaves.
Such a cool combination of colours. They
are also pleasantly scented if you rub them in
your hands.

Just to show another variety of Heuchera here.
It has beautiful red, orange leaves and lovely
definition on the leaves. Such an easy plant to
grow in a pot or in the soil.

I love the contrasting leaf colour
on this Red Robin. It is a big shrub now
but it is perfectly possible to keep it small
in a decent sized glazed blue or green pot.

Please contact me for advice on how to
plant any of these shrubs. Can give you
lots of suggestions where to plant, soil
to plant in and site.

" I love spring anywhere, but if I could 
choose I would always greet it in a garden."
Ruth Stout

"All gardening is Landscape painting." said Alexander Pope.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Questions and Answers

 "Spring would not be spring without bird songs."
 Francis M Chapman

Q. Do you need advice on
     choosing shrubs?

Q. Do you love flowers but have
     no idea how to grow them?

Q. Have you just moved to a flat?
     Need an attractive balcony?

Q. Do you have a window
     sill needing lovely herbs?


Q. Does your doorstep
     need some colour?

Q Do you want to know
    about Container Planting?

Q. Do you have old pots
     lying about in the shed?

Q. Do you want some
     Gardening tips for Spring?

I would love to give you any suggestions on how
to plant up for Spring. Please do contact me on
my blog, leave me a comment/question and I will
give you the best advice.  

Does anyone have any questions to ask me? 
Please do contact me with any Gardening/pest
related questions. 

Don't worry it it feels a bit trivial do ask
about your plant health or how to care for it.