Small space gardening

I made a blog resolution yesterday on Twitter and I thought I'd share it with you. From now until the fall, when my busy season starts again, I will attempt to reply to every comment within the comments section of my blog. I haven't been very good at that thus far and it's time to do better in this area. I considered making all replies by email to the person who posted the comment, but I think commenting in the actual thread might be helpful in cases where there are questions or when getting a few opinions might be helpful.

So there you go. Now for the gardening stuff...

One of the drawbacks of living small and in a condo is the lack of outdoor space. Now, I consider myself lucky because I live on the ground floor and have a small patio and a few trees in space that's maintained by my condo fees. My upstairs neighbors have "balconettes" which means their one working French door opens up to a metal railing. While the upstairs folks have to get window boxes to plant flowers or herbs, I plant in containers.

Last year, I bought a forever hydrangea that gave me a few blooms throughout the summer. This year, it has come back in a big way and I'm anxiously awaiting many more flowers than I saw last year.

My other hydrangea looked pretty desperate at the end of the year last year and I got rid of it. In hindsight, I probably should have waited until now to see if it would come back. Silly me. I picked up another plant last weekend and imagine it will be a lot like the first. I'll get a few flowers this year and hope it thrives next year.

I only went to the garden center for that one plant, but I couldn't resist picking up just a few more things. I found these cuties for the two planters on either side of my patio. I have no idea what they are, but I like them.

And then I bought a few plants for a large pot, but again, I have no idea what I bought. I know everything is going to bloom and that there are a few different sorts of annuals in the mix. That's it. What comes next will be a surprise.

Does anyone else garden in containers? Does anyone else buy plants without knowing what they are?


  1. I think the cute pink flowers are dahlias, not sure about that last picture. I plant a bunch of pots each year. According to articles I have read, each bigger pot (big enough to have more than one plant, that is) should have a "thriller, a spiller and a filler". The thriller is a tall plant, like a spike plant, the spiller spills over the sides (obviously) like a lantana, or a verbena or a petunia. The filler is bushier to fill in. I usually don't buy plants if I don't know what they are (call me anal) and I study the tags for sun/shade directions. It looks like you are off to a good start! Oh, and hydrangea blooms on old wood, I think, so each year they should have more blooms if you don't cut them back too much. That isn't an expert opinion. Maybe another commenter knows more. Good luck!

  2. Your pink flowers are definitely dahlias! So pretty! I've planted dozens of dahlias, dinner plate dahlias (!!!), zinnias, peonies, columbines and several other new flowers (new to me!) this spring and CANNOT WAIT for them to get bigger and start blooming!

  3. definitely dahlias. i think (by the leaf) that the other is some type of geranium. love the hydrangea!

  4. The square pot has dahlias in it. FYI if you take them in in the winter and cut them back to a few inches from the dirt, they'll come back next year. See for a pic of mine. The second pot has a geranium in the center and I can't think of the name of the other little white flowers. I just bought some last weekend, but I didn't really pay attention to what they were. I've been living in an apartment for almost 4 years now and I have lots of containers planted.

  5. I have found hydrangeas to be very hardy and have grown Easter present ones into large bushes. If you want them to be blue you need acidic soil (call me and I will tell you what to use). For a special "show" container I use a spiky plant in the center, with begonias (because you don't need to dead-head them)around it for color and potato vine as the spiller. You will find by trial and error what works best for your particular area - and by checking out everyone else's garden. Last year we planted some white vinca flowers and loved how they looked throughout the summer. Have fun!

  6. You all are awesome! I am an accidental green thumb...I never research or read about what I'm supposed to do and everything seems to turn out well. I figure that the garden center wouldn't sell something if it wouldn't thrive here. :)

    I'm so excited that the hydrangeas will keep coming back bigger and bigger. Thanks to Rachel to info about keeping the dahlias, too.

    The odd thing about the last pot is that there were others around it that had bloomed and there were some gerbera daisies mixed in! It was sold as a mix of plants that you were supposed to put in a window box. I decided to put it in my oval pot and added four, little plants to the corners...those are the small, white flowers in that shot.

    Here's hoping things work out as well as they have in the past...

  7. Definitely dahlias and that last pot looks like geraniums (the annuals, not the perennial).

    Even though I have a large garden in my yard, I also have lots of pots too, including some with tomatoes and herbs. (Because I ran out of space in my 400 s.f. kitchen garden, if you can believe that.)

  8. Those are dahlias and I planted some too! I'm glad to see you growing hydrangeas in a pot. I want to do that this year. I always kill them when I plant them in my yard. I have lots of white petunias, sweet potato vine, coleus and diamond frost.

  9. I adore hydrangea - I think the last post is also geraniums, but don't go by me. I love containers, but I am still a novice at them!!

  10. I think we have consensus on the geraniums!

  11. My Canadian friend does beautiful containers and she mentioned that she now does them with a small Cypress as the center and spiller plants around that. The Cypress lasts through the winter so she has something interesting during that season. I plan to give this idea a try next year (everything is already planted for this year).

  12. I need to look into cypress...and maybe more containers!


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