Save money on your water bills and make your garden more environmentally friendly too. It really does have to be a winner, so if you haven’t yet considered recycling some of your grey water read on: (more…)
As a rule of thumb your back garden is your heaven, a private space where you can eat and socialise, the kids can play or you can grow your own vegetables. Front gardens usually offer much less privacy and they tend to be more about giving your home kerb appeal. (more…)
The smaller the space the more precious it is, something that most Londoners are all too well aware of. If you have any outdoor space at all, you can have a gorgeous garden. Not only will you be creating something that you’ll enjoy, you’ll also lift the hearts of anyone who happens to look up and spot your beautiful flowers or even your tomatoes! And of course, every green thing that exists in the city plays its own part, however minuscule in reducing pollution, releasing much needed oxygen and making London a greener environment.
What’s Different About Balcony Gardening?
You’ll need to plan everything around pots and compost, so all the usual rules about container planting apply. The two most important things to remember are food and water. Contained plants dry out quickly and are likely to run out of nutrients during the growing season. Think about how you’ll be supplying your plants with the food and moisture they need. If the location of your balcony is going to make it difficult to water, choose more drought resistant specimens. Plants in containers can overheat on very sunny balconies, so if your space is south facing choose varieties which can take the full sun or create shade to protect them.
Flowers or Fruit and Vegetables
You may be surprised how many fruit and vegetables can be grown in a relatively small space. Strawberries are a great choice, there are miniature or even trailing varieties that look great in pots, or how about a lemon tree? Dwarf bean or sugar snap peas will be a talking point with your guests, salad leaves are quick and easy to grow, you can choose loads of different herbs and there are smaller types of tomatoes that will happily grow in a pot. The only reason to reject fruit or vegetable growing is a possible issue with pollution if you happen to live right above a very busy road.
Caring For Your Balcony Garden
Plants in an ordinary garden can fend for themselves to some extent. Contained plants are dependent on you even if you just go away for the weekend you’ll need to plan watering. There are automatic watering systems if you want to invest in them. Alternatively, if your neighbours can’t help out, Fantastic Gardeners will.
A Few Ideas to Get You Started
Just to give you an idea of what can be achieved we’ve chosen a few of our favourite pictures of balcony gardens. Enjoy….
Generally speaking, most conifers are low maintenance plants. They tend to be native to places with harsh conditions and poor soil, so it’s no surprise that they’re often slow growing and require little pruning. You may however wish to improve the shape or restrict the size of your conifers and for most species this is best done in summer. The other most common sort of pruning of any plant is the removal of dead or diseased material, this can be done at any time of year and in fact the sooner you remove diseased growth of any plant the better.
If you do need to prune a conifer there’s an important rule to remember. (more…)
Keen gardeners dream of the perfect soil. Soil that holds enough moisture to give plants the water they need, but drains freely enough to prevent water-logging. Soil that contains plenty of nutrients to feed plants and which doesn’t compact, preventing roots from spreading. The perfect soil is alive, containing millions of micro-organisms which break down organic materials and lots of lovely earthworms to keep the texture open, helping air to permeate. The perfect soil will comprise around 40% sand, 40% silt and 20% clay. Of course the main reason keen gardeners’ dream of the perfect soil is that few of us are lucky enough to have it. (more…)
Despite the air of mystery that sometimes surrounds composting it’s not difficult. If you haven’t yet designated a space for your compost pile or bin now’s the time to do so. Follow this simple guide for trouble-free composting and free food for your plants. (more…)
Most gardeners know all about protecting tender plants from harsh winter conditions but forecasters tell us that we need to prepare for more ‘extreme weather events’ of all types. More rainstorms, more drought, more wind, in essence the message is expect more weather! It makes sense to plan on making your garden more weather-proof. Here’s a few ideas on how to do it. (more…)
Traditionally we think of spring as the time for sowing seeds, by June you expect to be enjoying the fruits and flowers of your labours. In fact there are plenty of flowers which you can sow in June either to enjoy later in this year or next. (more…)
Some people are still nervous of the idea of eco-friendly gardening. It can sound like a lot more work, all that chasing slugs by torch light when it’s easier to pick up their trails. In truth it doesn’t have to be like that at all. As your Fantastic Gardener will tell you, with a little planning it’s entirely possible to make a garden both eco-friendly and easy to maintain. (more…)
When it comes to quitting smoking fruit and vegetables are your best friends. It’s likely that your appetite will increase when you stop smoking and unwanted weight gain can be a significant factor in loss of motivation for people trying to quit. Vegetables will fill you up without piling on the pounds and in addition you’ll be giving yourself the vitamins and minerals your body needs to start repairing the damage done by smoking. (more…)