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Balcony gardening tips for National Gardening Week

Balconies can be a wonderful extension of your living space. And we have some green fingered tips for making the most of this valuable area to help you celebrate National Gardening Week (26th April to 2nd May).  As always, please ‘herb’ your enthusiasm before ‘digging in’ and check your lease or ask your property manager for any specific rules for your development. It is kind of a big dill.

Pottering around

Before getting a twiggle on your mini horticultural haven, consider the weight your balcony can bear, as soggy compost and stone or terracotta pots can be surprisingly heavy. Lightweight, frost resistant fibreglass or resin containers are ideal choices but be careful not to fix these to any external facades as this may compromise or damage the building structure.

Trowel and error

Balconies can be mini microclimates, differing significantly from the ground environment. To keep your options open, choose ultra-hardy, wind-resistant, drought-intolerant plants but if you’re particularly suffering from too much wind, sun, or shade, here are some options.

Too windy?

Avoid plants with delicate petals and plump for small leaved plants such as small alpines, pines, and grasses to help withstand the gusts.

Too sunny and hot?

If your balcony is south or west facing, rosemary, oregano, lavender, heather, and small cacti and succulents are ideal. Pelargoniums and stachys will also add colour and interest.

Too shady?

Lettuces, salad leaves, rocket, parsley, and chervil can be grown in partial shade to stop them running to seed too quickly. And hostas, begonias, geraniums and ferns will help brighten up your shady spot.

Eat, drink and be rosemary

Fancy some home grown vegetables and fruit? How about planting tomatoes, carrots, strawberries, gooseberries, blueberries, and peppers to tickle those tastebuds.

Cutting it vine

You will soon be reaping the rewards of your hard work but please keep an eye out for anything growing too large or spreading / overhanging your balcony (or even protruding up into the balcony above) as this could be hazardous. Regular deadheading and pruning will keep your plants healthy, encourage even more blooms, and help direct their growth.

Your good seed for the day

Sudden downpours can be fun but not if they’re from your upstairs neighbour watering their plants!  To keep good neighbourly relations, pop a saucer or plate under your pots to prevent water running off the balcony and ‘surprising’ anyone underneath you. A sprinkling of wood bark chips will also help quench the thirst as well as being aesthetically pleasing.

Peas and quiet

You’ll want to relax and enjoy your outside space so if possible, squeeze in a small patio table and chair for you to sit back and admire your efforts, while enjoying your morning coffee – or sunset tipple!