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Newbie needs help

(12 Posts)
ClangerOnaComeDown Thu 20-Nov-14 22:52:57

I have recently moved into an apartment where our only outside space is a second floor path/walkthrough/balcony. We are on the end of the block so It is ours to to as we want. At the moment it looks grim and grey.

Come the spring I want to create some kind of garden. I can only use plant pots and window boxes.

Can I please have some advise on some easy to manage herbs, possibly salad plants and flowers for the spring.

I am reading books but I can't seem to really get a grip or solid idea on what to do.

100 percent newbie to plants so any help would be gratefully received.

LightTripper Thu 20-Nov-14 23:33:42


Can you give us an idea how much direct sun the plants would get (how many hours a day in direct sunlight) and whether it is windy/exposed?

ClangerOnaComeDown Fri 21-Nov-14 10:04:52

We get the sun from late morning until early evening on the front of the building.

It's slightly sheltered.

I'll upload a picture of the area to give you an idea. (please excuse the state of it we are sorting out the mess inside before we get to the outside. I can't say a lot of positive things about the previous owners angry)

ClangerOnaComeDown Fri 21-Nov-14 10:09:33

Again. Excuse the mess!

ClangerOnaComeDown Fri 21-Nov-14 10:12:27

My plan was to use window type boxes, hanging of the railing. Obviously facing the inside. Then maybe a collection of different sized flower pots at the far end with some colour mixed with evergreens.

Does that make sense?

HaveYouSeenHerLately Fri 21-Nov-14 13:36:58

Are you allowed to personalise the space much or is it still considered a public area? Am I right in envisaging a wrap-round walkway rather than a private balcony?

Just checking whether you're looking for decor ideas or strictly plant advice grin

Possibly not applicable but I've always like the look of the IKEA Applaro storage bench and panel. You can hang hooks from it for your flowerpots and add shelves. The bench conceals your gardening tools and compost and forms a handy seat! It's £75 but pretty functional for the price.

funnyperson Fri 21-Nov-14 20:54:20

How likely are you to water your plants?

LightTripper Fri 21-Nov-14 23:50:38

Sounds like you should get plenty of sun to do herbs and even some attractive veg like cherry tomatoes and mange tout if you want (though the question about watering is critical for veg! And for the same reason a few big pots are going to be much easier to keep watered than lots of small ones).

Given your site is quite sunny and dry I'd be going slightly Mediterranean/South African: herbs, pelargoniums, osteospermum, maybe some grasses. Is there anything you particularly like? I used to have a south facing balcony and tomatoes and herbs did fine, but I killed a clematis I guess because it didn't like having its roots in the sun!

I always think Petunias are good value for balconies too: long flowering season, masses of flowers, trailing.

It's worth having a look to see what seems to be working well for any neighbours who garden.

At this time of year first thing I'd be doing is slinging some daffs and tulips in pots for spring: a bit late but you'll probably get away with it!

LightTripper Fri 21-Nov-14 23:56:19

I like your idea of having some evergreens as a "base" too: will set off the flowering plants well and you can rotate whatever is looking good to the front, and maybe hide the out of season stuff behind? If you want a couple of nice shrubs those will be pricier, so worth talking to a good garden centre to get some advice on what will survive a pot/balcony. Maybe a bay tree, you see those a lot in pots? I love Pieris for winter interest and that does well in pots, but your balcony might be a bit exposed for it...

ClangerOnaComeDown Thu 27-Nov-14 21:43:05

Thank you very much for the advice.

The balcony/walk way is everyone's only entrance to their homes but we are on the end so we can pretty much do as we like. The previous tenants left some random chairs so I'm guessing they used it as a social area during the summer.

I'm getting a basic idea of what I would like. I have never had a 'garden' before so this is rather exciting for me.

Watering shall be done regularly as I am a creature of habit. I even plan to be the loon who chats away to her plants i already chat to my other appliances so I can't leave the flowers and veg out

have Thank you for the storage bench idea, I love Ikea!

funnyperson Thu 27-Nov-14 22:01:04

The world is your oyster. You could get a vegetable trough. You could get plantars and grow tomatoes, beans, strawberries, potatoes grow in a bag, herbs and salads grow in pots. Good flowers to start with over the winter are pansies. YOu have time to plant some buls in a window box or pot. You couldlayer the bulbs in our window box or pot: tulips at the bottom then daffodils then crocuses then snowdrops. If really keen lilies at the very bottom beneath the tulips. You could have a little lemon tree.
In the summer petunias and begonias and trailing lobelias as in pub hanging baskets are cheerful and great value.
In a way its your choice what you want to grow: veg and fruit or succulents, annuals or perennials or a combination? There is a roof garden atop a London store where everything grows in 18 inches of soil !
Sweet peas and beans can be grown up hazel stick wigwams.
I think james wong did a programme once about balcony gardens. It might be on youtube.

LightTripper Thu 27-Nov-14 23:20:10

If you do want to go for veg this site is very good on container growing!

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