Create a Small but Beautiful Space with Container Gardening

Imagine coming home to your small, cramped apartment and stepping onto the balcony to see a riot of colorful flowers with intoxicating fragrances, as well as several varieties of herbs, vegetables and fruit, ready to pick and use in your kitchen.

All this and more can be yours with container gardening. No matter how small the space you live in, you can still cultivate and enjoy a beautiful, living garden.

Container gardening is quite simply growing plants in some kind of container, rather than in the ground. It has a long history. The Romans cultivated container plants in the courtyards of their villas and medieval monks grew herbs in their cloisters.

Window boxes are ideal if there is no outside space at all. If there is a little outside space, containers can be placed on a balcony, patio, flat roof or small paved yard. Lighting, water features and other decorations can be added to create the desired ambiance.

You can choose any theme you like for your container garden. A color-based theme can look very impressive in a small space if you choose several different plants of the same color. Fragrant plants, such as lavender, honeysuckle or roses, are also good choices for a small container garden.

Flowers, herbs, vegetables and fruit can also be grown in containers. Several varieties of herbs, including chives, basil, oregano, sage, parsley and thyme, can be cultivated together in one container. The main exception to this is mint - it is better to plant mint in separate pots as it grows faster than other herbs.

If you would like a kitchen garden, tomatoes, lettuces, beans and peas can all be grown in containers. As far as fresh fruit is concerned, strawberry plants are excellent for smaller pots, while blueberry and redcurrant bushes can be grown in larger containers.

The choice of containers is endless: from large urns to terracotta pots of varying sizes; from hanging baskets to wicker baskets; from simple, everyday plastic pots to unusual old cattle troughs or chimney pots. Terracotta, wood and stone are the best materials for protecting the roots of plants against extremes of hot or cold weather.

If you let your imagination take flight to create the garden of your dreams in your small space, it will stay with you forever as you can take it with you whenever you move to a new home.

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