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Balcony gardening inspiration needed

(11 Posts)
allegretto Sun 08-May-16 14:41:44

An shortly moving to a second floor flat with a four meter long balcony and am looking for inspiration. It is quite narrow but I might sneak in a tiny table or chair at one end but worried about dcs climbing up on it and falling off!! Any balcony tips?

Kwirrell Sun 08-May-16 15:48:24

You can buy all sorts of planters that grip over balconies which will give you colour without taking up floor space. If the balcony has railings you could train a creeper along them

allegretto Mon 09-May-16 09:02:32

Thanks.

echt Mon 09-May-16 09:35:45

This looks good:

www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/17/balcony-gardening-rooftop-garden-ideas

VermicularCanister Wed 11-May-16 22:57:50

I spent about four years living in a third floor flat, with a balcony of a similar size. My lessons learned are:

Things dry out. Of course that's a general issue with container gardening, but our balcony was sunny, and often really windy too, and in hot weather the walls and floor got baked. So if your balcony is going to get the sun, I would recommend glazed pots to retain moisture, and unless you are at home enough to pop out and water things often, choose your plants for drought-tolerance.

Ants like to make nests in pots, particularly if the soil is dry. And being on the third floor doesn't stop them. I only realised this when they started marching into the flat.

This may not be an issue for you depending on the size/layout of your flat, but we didn't have many places to store things, and had glazed doors and a huge window to the balcony. So whereas in the garden you could move pots around to enjoy things in flower and hide away anything that wasn't looking so good, on the balcony it was just kind of there all the time. So worth considering how things are going to look all year round, and make sure there is enough still looking presentable in the winter. If there is nowhere in the flat to store pots/compost/tools etc., then maybe a small outdoor storage box would help to keep it tidy, and could double as a place to stand a plant pot, or a glass of wine. (Though I understand the potential safety issue with climbing DCs!)

As you asked for inspiration, I'm trying to think what actually grew well on our balcony. Herbs would be an obvious choice. Cosmos also did really well, and we grew some small sunflowers with the DCs.

WriteforFun1 Thu 12-May-16 13:54:48

watching this thread with interest
I've only just decided to do something with my tiny balcony as in most of the years i've lived here I've not been home much. Plus I've been notorious for being terrible with plants!

I have now got teeny tiny plants that I hope will do something over summer - jasmine (love the scent), choisia, and something blue that I can't recall the name of!! I also have a small water feature. I did post a thread about starting a mini pond but decided against it.

My plants have actually just arrived today - looking like they need immediate repotting but perhaps that is standard when you order plants online?

If anyone has any ideas for what I can have over winter, I would like some nice ever green plants to to show through the window and cheer up winter a bit.

If I can manage to keep the balcony plants alive I guess I'll try some indoor ones too.

lelijele Mon 11-Jul-16 11:27:55

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

Dowser Tue 12-Jul-16 13:43:05

Can I join?
I have a small patio , what was left of the garden after big extension.
It's about 12 feet by 20 .

I have containers...them drying out is a problem when we go away. Plus a lot of them are under next doors huge sycamore which overshadows my little plot.

I've got some little lettuce seedlings coming through on our table. I'm letting DH eat them as they will probably die while we are way.

I've got a big hydrangea in what used to be a small water feature . That survives as do the smaller ones in pots but it's all my geraniums, begonias buzzy lizzies etc.

Can if pushed ask a relative but it's such a bind for them.

Love my little garden though.

BengalCatMum Tue 12-Jul-16 14:15:50

Wooo, one of my favourite questions.
Can't comment on tables/ kids ect. But you will have to use common sense regarding how adventurous they are; and better safe than sorry approach.

Second floor sounds not too bad for wind speeds; I was on 15th floor; where sun/ wind/ water use are very extreme compared to the ground.

Go for largest pots you can find; and heavy glazed ceramics like Vermiculuar says; because not only helps with water loss, but also stops them falling over when dry.

If you aren't morally guilty, buy the highest peat content you can. This is the last year before peat is banned for consumer market so get your 'Jacks Magic' Compost while you can (will last c.5 years if not left to dry out in drought); as opposed to non-peat or low peat compost which you have to change every other year in pots for decent results.

Go for evergreen hardy perennials; so no messing about each year, and great views all year round. Large woody shrubs look great if you look after but are less forgiving than herbaceous/ grass plants (we killed box, spirea, eucalyptus - but were in much harsher conditions)

Medium/ Large Pots: Euphorbia, Libertia, Hebe, Bergenia, Rosemary, Heuchera, Tiarella, Heucheralla, Epimedium, Vinca, Anemone x hydrida, Erysium, Teucrium, Francoa, Liriope,

Ornamental Grasses (so many options) - My favourites are Festuca mairei, Pennisetum, Stipa tenuissima or ichu, Luzula

Baskets/ Small pots (which wont need peat compost and wont worry if drys out as much): Sedums, Campanula, Saxifraga, Sempervivums, Thymes,

I will send you a picture of our balcony in a bit...
Wooo so excited for you

BengalCatMum Tue 12-Jul-16 14:20:10

typo - Heucherella

If in doubt go shopping in late autumn/ winter; they you know what your getting without the research needed.

BengalCatMum Tue 12-Jul-16 14:58:03

Dowser Check out... www.plantsforshade.co.uk/

Drought tolerant shade:
Groundcovers - Asarum, Ajuga, Vinca, Hylomecon, Mitella, Ficaria, Rananculus, Arum,
Medium - Tellima, Ferns

OP I cant stop haha.... Lavender, Phlox, Saponaria ocymoides, Evergreen Clematis, Decorative Ivys, Dierama (big in end but takes ages to grow), Hardy Osteospermum, Persicaria,

Evergreen Geraniums - Geranium x oxonianum, Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Karmina' / 'Hanna' / 'St Ola', Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart'

Erica (Heather) - although will need ericaceous soil (so different pot)

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