Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs by Fern Richardson
Small? Yes. A concrete slab populated with plastic chairs and an abandoned grill? Not anymore.Small-Space Container Gardens layers practical gardening fundamentals with creative solutions, encouraging us to think “outside the pot.” You'll learn how to tackle unique challenges, like windy conditions several stories above street level, and how to care for plants and troubleshoot problems like garden pests and diseases. From design basics to essential plant picks, Small-Space Container Gardens proves you don't need a yard to have a happy, healthy garden. For anyone who wants more green in their life, it's time to start gardening creatively in small spaces.
Fern Richardson is the voice behind Life on the Balcony, the award-winning blog devoted to gardening in tiny spaces and connecting container gardeners around the world. Fern's foray into gardening occurred in elementary school after receiving a book about creating wildlife habitats in urban areas. Luckily resulting experiments, such as mosquito-infested manure tea, were not an indicator of future successes in the garden. Now a master gardner living in southern California, Fern grows herbs, peaches, nectarines, figs, blueberries, flowers, and succulents on a west-facing balcony and an east-facing front porch.
Read an Excerpt
Preface Container gardening on balconies, patios, porches, terraces, decks, rooftops, or even windowsills is a fun way for those of us without a “real” garden to still get our hands dirty. I find that gardening on my balcony satisfies my need to grow—herbs, peaches, nectarines, figs, blueberries, flowers, and succulents—while still leaving plenty of time and energy for other parts of my life. The space I’ve created, and the process of caring for it, is also my retreat. When my husband insists on practicing the same song on his guitar, over and over and over, I can easily escape to the relative peace and quiet of my balcony garden. Even though container gardens are inherently less wild than a traditional garden—they are, after all, contained—I love that it’s still possible to be surrounded with lushness, beauty, nature, privacy, and style. Connected so intimately to our indoor living areas, balconies, patios, and porches also serve as a transitional space between inside and out that naturally invites personal touches and creativity. Many people love plants and keep on adding to their collection, but feel frustrated that their balcony or patio doesn’t reflect their unique style. That’s where having a design strategy comes into play. In the first part of the book you’ll learn how to make harmonious plant combinations and compositions, pick containers that are equally pleasing to plant and person, and utilize your space—on the floor, up the wall, over the railing—to its fullest potential. You’ll get ideas on redefining what makes a container a container, incorporating decorative touches, and, above all, unleashing your personality. Throughout the book you’ll also find plenty of practical information that shows you how to deal with unique challenges, like the microclimate of a windy balcony or a patio that gets the brunt of every rain storm. The final two chapters give you a basic crash course in cultivating your container gardening green thumb, as well as troubleshooting some common balcony garden pests and diseases. The five design chapters include multitudes of plant picks and tips to help you attract birds and beneficial insects to your garden, simultaneously satiate your hunger and your discerning eye, create a secret garden hidden away from nearby neighbors and noises, assemble a pathway of stunning succulents and fragrant plants, or luxuriate in a tropically themed refuge. I’ve included simplified design plans which you can use as inspirational blueprints or as jumping off points to mix and match plants from one chapter to another. No matter how you decide to use this book, I hope it motivates you to head outside and create your own oasis. You won’t regret it!
Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs 4 out of 5based on
More than 1 year ago
Great concept - I've been gardening for years but this book has some great and unique ideas that I love, i.e., use re-cycled coffee cans as plant containers. Book is well formatted and written and beautiful color pictures. Also many helpful hints about colors to incorporate into your garden. Wonderful for small spaces and could easily be expanded to use in larger spaces. A must read for anyone with a green thumb or even brown. Great LATE Christmas Gift too!!!
More than 1 year ago
I'm an avid reader of Fern Richardson's blog, Life on the Balcony , and I have eagerly awaited her book. The pictures alone make the book worth buying, but there are also many great ideas for creating unique, fun and useful container gardens.
More than 1 year ago
As soon as the first frost hits here I am planning for next year’s plantings. Small-Space Container Gardens has already helped me start planning for our spring porch and deck. No matter what your available space, this book has something for you.
The first few chapters set the scene by choosing colors, containers settings, and location. Following that there is information on attracting wildlife and growing food plants in containers. There is a section on succulents and scents, and a chapter on privacy planting. You can learn to create a vertical garden, and battle pests. There is even a green thumb crash course. This is just a brief summary of what is in this information packed book.
The book helps with ideas for designing not just individual pots but, an entire patio or porch. There is something for the spacious areas for those who live in the country as well as those who have limited space in the city. Large or small, there are planting ideas for all.
There are several projects for inexpensive pot upgrades and very unique ideas using thrift shop or found items. My favorite project was the beautiful garden table that would be so simple to create with only a few materials.
More than 1 year ago
Part of it is my own fault, buying the book online and not checking out a look inside through Google or Amazon, but after hearing about the book through the publisher's newsletter I thought for sure it would be both informative AND beautiful because of Timber Press's reputation.
The trim size first threw me off, what a handful to hold! And once I opened the book I was horrified. It was as if the designer was bored. Huge fonts with gaps of white space for no reason. Pictures seemed to be dropped onto pages with no thought to flow. The author is clearly passionate about container gardening and very knowledgeable and I feel like she was cheated out of a book people would recommend to others.
With so many gardening books to choose from I feel like Timber Press got lazy.
I would no recommend this book to anyone. Visit the author's blog instead and save yourself the money.
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