For me, gardening is pure therapeutic joy. It's communing with nature. I love creating exterior rooms of colour to relax in.
Being an apartment dweller, some people can't believe I have an extensive garden on my balcony—I call it my 'vast country estate'. When shown photos they are amazed.
Yellow day-lilies everywhere
A gnome guards
my big oak bonsai
1 Calibrachoas and Petunias in abundance
2 Four Peruvian Pepper trees (Schinus molle)
…to bonsai 3 Chestnut tree (Castanea sativa)
…to bonsai 4 Fuji Apple tree espaliaded with
10 apples ripening
Here are a few pointers—learnt from Burnley Horticultural College—to help with your own gardening in a small space...
1 Take note of the light conditions your plants will get. My balcony faces due west and gets the scorching heat and hot winds of summer. Through experimentation I've put in drought loving plants and those from the tropics to survive the heat.
1 A few summers ago some survived, others didn't. In fact, the ones that enjoyed the 46°C of Black Saturday was a Mango tree (a seedling dug from the compost) and various Bougainvillea.
2 Stack hanging baskets under each other with similar habits and needs—watering one waters the others.
2 In this way, a few years ago I had 21 baskets on my balcony, all creating a flourish of eternal colour and aromas.
3 Some plants in hanging baskets are meant for growing in the earth proper. But because they will attract birds and bees, I reckon they can be grown in containers for a few years. For instance, a Correa, left, is visited by a honey-eater each year.
4 When planting in pots, avoid 'crocking' and placing the pot in a saucer.
See the importance of feet.
Read about the NPK story. It'll inspire you toward great gardening excellence.