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Gardening In A Small Space? Go Up!

By Edited Jan 15, 2016 1 0

Don't Let Lack Of Space Constrain You Or Your Flowers

I have a very small garden with not much space for beds. My flowers grow anywhere I can find a space for them, inside or out.

This spring I decided to use a tried and tested trick used by gardeners for centuries – if you can’t go out, go up.

Multi level flower bed

Step One - Find A Big Container

I started by buying an old bath at the dump which I placed in front of our water tower. My husband prettied it up for me with planks which was great but not absolutely necessary as, hopefully, my plantings will distract anyone from looking at the bathtub. The planks do provide me with ledges for pots, however. You could make your own raised bed using planks alone actually, if you have them. The joy of using a container is that the gophers can’t get in! I filled the tub with a good mixture of garden soil and compost.

Bearded Irises

Into this giant container I planted a dozen tall bearded irises, a few day lilies and a handful of tall lily bulbs. You can plant anything you want but I wanted a bit of height in the bed and I didn’t want the plants to be hidden from sight by any tall plants in the front bed.

I put a bird bath in a corner ledge, close to the bird feeder. It adds a touch of practical whimsy.

Step Two - Front

Then I dug a small flower bed in front of the bath tub, about two and a half feet by eight feet, with the one side going around the corner. Again, I mixed in a decent amount of compost because otherwise the water just runs off my soil.

Bird Bath

At the back of the bed I planted taller flowers, like opium and shirley poppies, echinacea and lilies. A couple of evening primroses decided to horn in and I let them stay although I have to trim them back quite often, otherwise they’ll take over the small space.

The front of the bed is filled with lower growing flowers and lots of ground covers. There is a wonderful mix of color from alyssums, portulacas, geraniums, strawberries and pelargoniums, out of which grow lisianthus, chelsea daisies, calla lilies and, of course, a couple more liliums. I have decided that lilies are a gardener’s best friend as you can squeeze them in anywhere and different varieties bloom at different times of the year.

Ground Covers

A little fig tree is growing in a buried pot in the outer corner of the bed, surrounded by yarrow, lavender and osteospermum, and in the side bed I have lilies, arctosis and a pot with a vine in it.

Potted Plants

Step Three - Sides

Around the other side of the bath, on the deck, I placed several potted plants, like pelargoniums, agapanthus and darling little blue sweet peas that a friend gave me. These pots extended the bed quite substantially and I can swap them out when they finish flowering.

A few weeks ago I added a climbing frame to the very back of the bath bed and planted out my more classical sweet peas which are scrambling happily up the frame and are just starting to bloom.

Step Four - Hanging Baskets

And finally, to add more height, I put up some hanging baskets filled with million bells petunias. So, in a small space of around five feet by 9 feet, I have an abundance of color and joy.

Sweet Peas
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