Gardens in a planters: Make the most of your space, Gardeners have always
had to be creative to optimise their use of space, especially in smaller plots.
To maximise your planting area, arrange planters at different levels: on the ground, on a pedestal, or on a wrought iron latticework shelf. You could also position pots at higher levels: hooked onto railings, fixed on a wall in metal pot-holders, or hanging from a canopy.
Preserve your privacy: If you have a balcony, use plants to frame the view and provide a screen from the world outside. Grow climbing plants and evergreen bushes in a trough and hang window boxes and baskets around the windows. For the best flowering plants, consider wisteria, petunias and surfinias, marguerite or lobelias. To decorate a stairway, create a cascade of flowers by placing pots every two or three steps.
You don't have to be conventional:
For centuries, thrifty gardeners have used almost any unwanted containers to hold plants. Instead of buying special pots, you too can recycle salvaged items for planters
. Plants will grow in anything that can hold compost and has drainage holes. Try galvanised buckets, old milk churns, saucepans or cans
with holes pierced in them, either painted or left as they are. Architectural salvage - old chimney stacks, clay pipes and butler sinks – can be transformed into miniature gardens with old-world charm. Wooden planters, wicker baskets and old wash boilers from scrap yards or antique dealers can also make attractive planters. Line them with plastic so your compost doesn't fallout, and make a drainage hole in the bottom of the liner.
What kind of soil? Don't use ordinary garden soil in
. Your compost should be well aerated and moisture-retentive - the ideal type is a loam-based compost, which is slow to dry out but has good aeration and structure. Add grit, sand and gravel to your mix to make it more free-draining. For bushes, use rose compost. For acid-loving plants, use ericaceous compost. Grow annuals, biennials and perennials in multi-purpose compost. Bulbs, which draw on their own reserves, are content with any well-drained soil.
Always ensure good drainage by adding broken crocks, polystyrene balls or stones to the bottom of your pot.
To avoid the soil becoming too compact, which prevents water from penetrating to the roots, lighten it in large troughs with perlite or vermiculite.
Plants for your planters.
For shady corners:
Brighten a dark corner with bright flowers & foliage. Plants that prefer or tolerate partial shade are Hydrangea macrophylla, Fuchias, myosotis, hosta, hyacinths, Impatiens capensis, begonias & periwinkle. Grow them in combination with hart's tongue fern, Asplenium scolopendrium or Adiantum raddianum.
For full sun:
Choose marguerites, alyssum, cerastium, cornflowers, chrysanthemum, morning glory, aubrieta, brachycome, campanula, ceanothus, dahlias, eschscholzia, geraniums, verena or zinnias.