Adlington’s Head Gardener shares his top five tips with Annie Johnson
With a wealth of research suggesting that gardening is beneficial for wellbeing and mental health, we are happy to share some top horticultural tips for small outdoor spaces from James King, Head Gardener at retirement property specialists, Adlingtons. Maintaining your own small gardening space can be therapeutic and can help combat depression and anxiety so perhaps it’s time to get back to nature. Here are James’ top tips.
Herbs are the perfect plant to cultivate on a balcony, patio, or even in a window box. Not only are they relatively easy to grow, they can also liven up your cooking and add that extra punch of flavour. Most herbs will tolerate a dry spell and can bear shade for short periods of time. Some great ideas for herbs to grow are thyme, rosemary, chives and oregano. These are all perennial herbs, meaning that they usually live for more than two years, so you’ll get a lot for your money! Not only will growing herbs save you money at the checkout, but they can also offer health benefits through additional nutritional value.
2. Hanging baskets
Hanging baskets are a great way to maximise on limited space and add some variation and colour to your outdoor balcony or patio. Make sure you use a good lining material for your basket and a reliable, multipurpose compost. In summer, consider plants like pansies, petunias and geraniums, and for winter, go for crocuses, ivy and winter-flowering heathers.
3. Be inventive
There are a lot of clever ways to create a vibrant and dynamic garden on balconies and patios without using window boxes or a traditional container. Why not try using old jars and cans for your herbs, or a piece of old guttering to grow your salad leaves in? Not only will these help you save some pennies on gardening material, but these clever additions can add some interest and excitement to your outdoor space.
4. One-pot container vegetable gardens
There are a variety of different one-pot containers that can be used to create your own mini-garden in a smaller space. A steel tub or wooden planter can allow you to grow salad plants, chili plants or herbs. Tomato growbags are also really convenient solutions to help grow your own tomatoes with ease. Runner beans and squashes are also very easy to grow in pots and containers.
5. Choose your plants wisely
Think about your plant and flower choices before you buy. Stick to plants that can grow in containers and that are robust in extreme weather conditions. Depending on how high up your balcony is, your plants might be exposed more to sunlight and strong winds. If your balcony is slightly covered by overhang from the property above, you may need to consider plants that don’t require much water, as they could miss out on rainfall. Pines or brooms are great at tolerating sunlight and wind, as are plants with small leaves such as cotoneasters and escallonia.
Do you have a small garden or just a balcony? Let us know what you grow.