Summer Garden Prep

25 May

As a city dweller, gardening is not usually a fun topic for me. I love it with a passion – but without a garden of my own I often become too jealous to even talk of the subject. After a recent move (from a house where window boxes were banned – to a house with a large outdoor space, albeit a car park!) I decided to take action. There must be a way to keep the green finger hobby alive in the city! I have put together some ideas for others in the same situation:

 

Funky

Hum partnership have the funkiest pots around this summer. With eye-catching designs, including the ‘geometric’ (below) and the ‘zig zag’ they really stand out from the usual terracotta. At £13 a pot they are not badly priced for the size, the pattern and lime green rim are also UV resistant to prevent fading, which should help to avoid weathering. I planted a bright purple flower (reduced to £1.24 in my local Tesco – bargain!) that needed a bit of love and dead heading, but quickly perked up with such a lovely pot to ‘wear’.

Zig to the Zag!

Zig to the Zag!


The 'geometric' design

The ‘geometric’ design

 

Verdict: 10 / 10

 

Think of the bees

My boyfriend lives in a flat with a ‘walkway balcony’ there is nowhere to sit out, but you can hang washing and walk into your front door. When he mentioned growing herbs, it seemed sensible. Yummy herbs to eat, fresh and free – yay! But when he planted flowers I was perplexed. Why plant flowers that you can’t even sit out and enjoy? Well it turns out that he planted these for the bees. Yes the bees. This is one of the many reasons that I love him (don’t worry one of his reasons for loving me is that I bought 15p sprinkles, so we are just weird like that) and made me think for the first time not just about the beauty of flower pots but how in a city it is important to promote bug life – especially for bees. Here are his (just watered) blooming lovely efforts:

Think of the bees

Think of the bees

Cost effective

Given that my garden is a car park, I wanted to fill it with a few pots for my cat to hide behind. This does however have a lot of cost involved, and worried that pots may get stolen in such an exposed area I wanted to choose a budget option. So I popped to Pound Land, and bought pots, trellis, bulbs and compost all for £1 each! The main cost was of course the plants as given there isn’t too much sun where I live I needed some established plants and couldn’t rely on seeds. I worked it out that it costs around £6 per planter, which is pretty cheap!

My top tip is to always look for reduced plants, you want established plants in need of dead heading  , but with plenty of green left – no shrivelled brown bushes, some plants simply can’t be saved and will be a waste of money.

You can always find a space to use, just get inventive!

You can always find a space to use, just get inventive!

Grow your own

Courtesy of Sutton Seeds, I am attempting at growing my own salad garden on my windowsill. From their ‘stacks of flavour’ range – which has been designed with the idea that everyone can grow fresh and gorgeous food no matter how small their garden – the convenient stackable planter has also been personalised! The crate is £25.99 and is available www.suttons.co.uk

Unfortunately it has not grown tall as of yet, but here is a picture of its many uses!

  


   

Verdict: 9 / 10 

 

Plan ahead
When growing your own herbs and vegetables it may be useful to plan in advance what will work best for your kitchen and recipes. Try out the handy book ‘One-Pot Gourmet Gardener’ by Cinead McTernan, released in April  from Frances Lincoln. One-Pot Gourmet Gardener presents 25 carefully devised container recipes grouped into soups and salads, delicious main courses, handy picnics, quick suppers and divine drinks & puddings, including gazpacho, garden pizza, ratatouille, smoothies, sauces and tarts.  Each one-pot recipe provides every step from sowing to serving. And after being guided through an introductory masterclass on how to grow crops in pots, readers will have the confidence and skills to devise their own one-pot recipes.

The hardback book retails at £16.99, but could save you a lot of money on ingredients and certainly washing up!

Yum!

Yum!

Verdict: 7 / 10

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