We rent our house which has slate paving and astro turf in the garden. It’s a nice sized, south facing urban garden, but doesn’t have room for any alteration or planting in beds. We therefore do all of our growing in pots.
We moved to this house during the winter, so this is our first spring working on the garden. Whilst the family have been on lockdown we’ve all thoroughly appreciated and enjoyed having an outdoor space to relax and play in.
We use a variety of pots; terracotta, plastic, anything free or passed on by friends and family over the years. My daughter Eve is growing lettuce, spinach, cress and flowers. Being 6 years old she decided that she wanted to sprinkle the entire contents of lettuce seed into the pot above, which has grown into a rather overcrowded load of seedlings.
We keep meaning to thin them out and pot them up but it hasn’t quite happened. Instead, we’ve been using them as a micro herb and just enjoy picking and eating them when we’re out having lunch in the garden. That’s the way gardening goes sometimes!
I love growing succulents, and the ones above are just starting to come back to themselves after the wet winter. They are in beautiful pots which were given to me by customer’s that no longer wanted them. I love having a story behind my plants and containers as it gives more meaning to my garden.
We are growing parsley, oregano, thyme, and a few varieties of mint. I enjoy drying oregano later in the summer which we use for cooking over the winter.
I am particularly pleased this season as my clematis and honeysuckle that have never done well previously (we had a small north facing courtyard in our old house). They are both climbing up the galvanised wire that is strung out across the wall. I can’t wait for them both to flower, which is an exciting prospect.
We have a small side space which was used by our landlord as a wood store. We, instead, are filling it up with shade tolerant plants such as alchemilla mollis, strawberries, hellebores, baby’s tears, and wood spurge. We’ve used excess recycling boxes as planters for a large fern (above) and an ornamental raspberry in the back garden. They have handles and are the perfect size to be able to move about.
Penstemon and Epimedium.
I love the bright green heart shaped leaves of the new growth of the epimedium. The penstemon struggled during our winter house move, and were hit by an attack of aphids a few weeks ago. I sprayed them multiple times a day with an ecover washing up liquid solution and it completely sorted them out. They are now thriving, which is great.
This window box I found in the back garden when we moved in. I’ve planted it up with some pelargoniums and a primula that I bought from our local family run shop across the road, as it’s been difficult to buy anything from garden centres and nurseries during the lockdown. They probably wouldn’t have been my first choice, but they brighten up the space and now I’m really enjoying them.
I like having a variety of leaves with varying textures, colours and shapes. The rosemary, white sage, lavender, sedum, camomile, spearmint, grasses, nepeta, erysimum, nigella, verbena bonariensis and witch hazel all work well together in this space.
I salvaged a peach tree from a customer who no longer wanted it. We have it in a large pot with handles so that it can be lifted easily. It’s doing really well, no peaches yet, but fingers crossed, one day!
There are pros and cons of gardening in pots, and it does mean that you have to spend money on compost, bringing inputs into your garden, rather than using and adapting what is there. Plants do need to be repotted every so often, with new compost added for nutrients, which means trips to the local recycling centre to get rid of unwanted green waste. Pots dry out quickly so you have to stay on top of watering, but also not over water, or let them sit in water… But on the plus side plants with spreading qualities such as mint and bamboo can’t stray too far, taking over the garden.
Although it’s a compact garden, I used a cluster of pots on the edge of the astro turf to create a walk way around, to define different areas of the garden. Being able to look through the plants creates a lovely scene.