If you don’t have a lot of space, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a lush garden. If you want to create a visual diversion without planting a hedge, this may be your answer. Or if you like vines, but don’t want them wrapping up your other plants, give vertical gardening a try.
Vertical gardening can take on many styles, from a wall of succulents to trellises covered with green ivy, colorful clematis, or even a Kiwi vine. You can even grow a vegetable garden vertically. So don’t let a lack of space cramp your inner gardener.
Vertical Gardening Basics
- Determine the site for your garden
- Decide what you want to grow
- Assess the light exposure
- Make a list of plants and tools you’ll need and start creating your own vertical garden
Good Plant Candidates for Vertical Gardens
Vines – great for trellises, walls, fences and most garden structures
- Nasturtium – bold multi-colored flowers. Bonus – edible leaves and flowers.
- Morning Glory – blooms in the early morning hours.
- Moon Flower – blooms at night.
- Sweet Peas – blossoms are very fragrant
- English Ivy – semi-evergreen for year-round color, prefers shade.
- Boston Ivy – grows in sun or shade.
- Clematis – colorful tropical look, prefers sun to partial shade.
- Honeysuckle – attract hummingbirds and offers sweet aroma.
- Wisteria – clusters of flowers similar to lilacs, prefers full sun.
- Climbing Hydrangea – fragrant lacy clusters of flowers, partial sun to shade.
Unlike climbing vines, climbing roses need a bit more space for the width of the plant, so take your area into consideration when choosing your plant. Climbing roses grow well with trellises, arbors, fences, pillars, tripods and many other structures. Heights vary so consult your Bayside Garden Center specialist to determine which variety is right for you.
Climbing roses are available in a variety of colors and either bloom once during the spring, “spring bloomers,” or throughout the growing season, “everbloomers.”
Fruits and Vegetables
You can have your own sustainable produce garden even if you don’t have the space generally associated with a vegetable garden. Many fruits and vegetables can grow vertically without any trouble. Here are some suggestions for your vertical produce garden.
- Tomatoes – try a trellis, tomato cage or a “topsy turvy planter”. Tomatoes are a great choice because they are less susceptible to soil-borne diseases and take up less space.
- Cucumbers – some varieties have a tendency to climb and grow as vines, which makes them ideal for trellises or other gardening structures. Ask your Bayside Garden Center expert for advice on selection.
- Beans – some varieties, like Pole beans can climb and be used in a vertical garden.
- Cucumbers –
- Squash – acorn and buttercup squash work well won trellises and other vertical structures
- Grapes are a natural choice as their attractive vines work well on trellises, fences and arbors.
- Berries – blackberries and raspberries are excellent candidates for vertical gardens as they grow easily on trellises and there’s nothing like berries fresh off the vine.
- Small melons – generally any melon smaller than a volley ball can be grown vertically.
- Pumpkin – miniature pumpkins can be grown vertically, just be sure to check the size information before planting.
Container Gardens have a number of advantages for gardeners and the options are practically unlimited – so let your imagination run wild! Whether your garden is restricted by space or climate or if you simply want to accent the patio, deck or sunroom with additional plantings, a container garden can be a functional, beautiful and fun solution.
There are a few things to determine before heading to your garden center:
How much space do you have available?
Knowing the rough dimensions for your garden will help you determine the size and number of containers you can use
Is there a particular style of garden you want to achieve?
Deciding this will help you select the plants and containers that will bring your vision to life.
What are the growing conditions for your container garden location?
Will your container garden be located in the sun, shade or a little of both. You may have a patio or deck that provide areas for plants that prefer sun and those that crave shade – you’ll want to notice these things before choosing your plants. You’ll want to determine environment even if your container garden will live indoors – an herb garden for the kitchen for instance.
Once you’ve determined the space, style and location of your container garden it’s time for the fun – picking the containers and plants!
There is no limit to the container garden styles you can create, so here are just a few ideas to get your imagination started.
You can create a taste of Italy with a bright blend of flowers interspersed with leafy green plants all nestled in terracotta and ceramic glazed planters. Try using miniature sunflowers, black eyed-susans, red geranium, poppies, snapdragons, nasturtiums and allium. Try mixing in some lavender, sage, basil, rosemary and oregano plants. Adding plants with a hint of silver in the leaves is also a great contrast with the bright flowers.
Whether you plant in window boxes or you might try various combinations of miniature roses, cornflowers, petunias, pansies, periwinkle, dahlias, dwarf sweet peas, heather, and alyssum. Coleus plants offer a wide variety to choose from and can add color and shape to a container garden. It’s always nice to bring a little green into the picture and English Ivy is lovely planted at the edge with the vines trailing down the container. Dusty Miller also sets the flowers off nicely.
A wide pot is ideal for your Zen container garden as it will allow you space for plants as well as a few well-chosen accents. While there are many elements in a full Zen garden that may not work in a smaller container garden, you can add a beautiful stone or rock accent, river-rounded or cobble-like pebbles, a Buddha sculptures and of course, Asian inspired plants. The silver mound is native to Japan and adds a unique shape to your Zen garden. Some miniature varieties of bamboo are appropriate for container gardens. Bonsai plants are perfect for container gardens. Azaleas are traditional Zen garden plants as are Camellias. The key is to remember in a Zen container garden is less is more.
For and interesting article on Zen and Its Influence on the Japanese Garden check out this link at the Helpful Gardener.
When you think of California plant life you think of lush, colorful offerings. In the Wisconsin climate some of the tropical vegetation growing in California are not good choices, but many varieties that originated in a warmer clime work beautifully including Marigolds, Verbena, and Snapdragon. While Chrysanthemums are native to China, this plant is their brilliant colors are a welcome addition to your California Dreaming container garden. The Dusty Miller is native to southern Europe, it’s often found in California gardens and makes a lovely contrast to the bright blossoms. You might also try a spike plant or ornamental grass accent.
Alpine gardens reflect the plants that grow above the tree-line in higher elevations, many times in rocky elements. Terracotta and ceramic pots or stone troughs or sinks with plenty of drainage holes are ideal. Small, interesting rocks will help you create that Alpine allure. Your plant selection can range from silver cushion and silver mound to dianthus, phlox and violas. Depending on the size of your container, you may also want to include dwarf or miniature conifers like a miniature cypress or dwarf cedar.
Try a clay or terra cotta pot for your desert delight container garden – it will absorb moisture and keep the soil at a more even temperature. Of course when we think of the desert pictures of prickly cactus come to mind, but there are many non-prickly succulents that are patio and people friendly. Look for hen-and-chicks, jade plants, sedum, yarrow, Russian sage, desert rose and primrose.
You will want to put a thin layer of gravel in the bottom of the container and use a sand-based potting soil as a base. After setting the plants into the container fill in between them with more of the soil and a little course sand.
Herbs on Demand
Herbs are always a chef’s friend and you can have the freshest herbs when you grow them yourself. So if you love to cook, do yourself a favor and start an herb container garden. You can grow your Herb garden indoors or outside depending on your available space and the boldness of the critters in your yard. This is an ideal theme for a window box – either outside your kitchen window or on your windowsill inside.
Parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, tarragon, oregano, basil and chives are popular choices that can add flavor to a wide variety of dishes. But have fun and choose the herbs that appeal to you. Regardless of your selection, be sure to keep your soil moist and harvest your herbs frequently to keep plants full and leaves tender.
If you choose to keep your herb container garden in the kitchen you can sprinkle a layer of gravel or small stones on top of the soil for a tidy, attractive appearance. It also helps in slowing down moisture loss.
You can create a beautiful edible garden in a container. Your container choice should be based on what you want to grow as different fruits, herbs and vegetables require varying depths of soil. The folks at Bayside Garden Center are happy to help you choose select plants and containers that are complementary. For a general guide the following container depths and suggested plants are a good match:
- Shallow containers (4 to 8 inches deep) are suited for herbs, garlic, sweet peppers, chilies, carrots, peas, tomatoes, radishes, spinach, chard, cucumber, cabbage, kale, arugula, and lettuce.
- Medium containers (9 – 15 inches deep) work well for French beans, broccoli, cauliflower, dwarf beetroot, eggplant, leeks, zucchini and summer squashes, rhubarb, strawberries, raspberries (autumn varieties), and blueberries.
- Deep containers (15 – 20 inches deep) are best for asparagus, sweet corn, figs, dwarf citrus, cherries, grapes and plums.
- There are some plants that are good companions and others that aren’t ideal together. Here is a brief overview of some friends and foes.
Good Container Mates
- Asparagus, basil and tomato
- Beetroot, spinach, chard, onions and garlic
- Carrot, lettuce and tomato
- Beans, carrots and sweet corn
- Lettuces, dill and annual herbs
- Peas, beans, carrot and squash
- Tomato, asparagus, basil, carrot, onion, and garlic
Avoid mixing in containers
- Beans with onions and garlic
- Carrots with dill and fennel
- Squash and potatoes
- Onions with beans and peas
- Tomatoes with potatoes
You may be using containers you already have, buying new ones or a little of both – whichever way you go, knowing what the container is made of will help you determine your best plant options and how you should care for your plants.
Classic terracotta pots are available in many shapes and styles. Know that they are porous and will dry out quickly, so if you choose plants that need a great deal of moisture be sure to water frequently.
Ceramic Glaze pots are a nice option as they retain moisture better and Bayside Garden Center has a multitude of styles, colors and sizes for you to choose from.
Window boxes are making a comeback and can be found in many shapes and materials to accent any style.
Window Boxes make a natural container garden. Whether you choose a theme or simple plant colorful geraniums, petunias and ivy, a window box will bring you great cheer, whether the sun is shining or the rains are falling.
Found objects – whether you have an oak barrel, a rustic bucket or pail, or an old ceramic bowl that you just don’t know what to do with, almost any container can become a piece of your new garden.
Bayside Garden Center has a selection of quality potting soil that will support the plants you’ve chosen for your container garden. Check the requirements of the plants you choose to determine what type of soil is best. You should avoid using soil straight from your yard or garden, as it won’t drain enough, resulting in too little air to your plants’ roots.
General Tips for Container Gardening
Provide good drainage
You’re containers need adequate drainage holes. You can always drill a few holes in the container if it doesn’t have them.
Unlike plants grown in-ground, container plant roots can’t reach down deeply to find subsurface water, so they are dependent on your attentive care. Check your containers daily to determine water needs.
Fertilize your gardens
Your potting soil may be mixed with fertilizer, but you will want to replenish soil nutrients regularly to keep plants thriving. Consider re-fertilizing every 8 to 10 weeks.
Replant if necessary
If some of your plants are seasonal bloomers, feel free to replace them with a new one that is better suited for that time of year. Keep your container garden looking beautiful with fresh healthy plants. You may want to replace a summer annual that has extinguished its bloom life with a fall mum or aster.
And if you’ve decided that you love the idea of a container garden, but simply don’t have enough time, Bayside Garden Center has a spectacular selection of miniature gardens in a variety of containers and hanging baskets all planted and ready for you to take home.
Raised Bed Gardens
Raised beds are gaining in popularity. Whether you have limited space in your yard or simply would like to create a new dimension to a larger garden area, raised beds can be a wonderful solution. Raised beds can also be a perfect answer for anyone with back problems who can’t give up their favorite hobby, but also can’t bend over a standard garden plot.
A raised bed garden is simply a garden that is grown above the level of the ground. Whether you use ready-made planters and structures or choose to build your own, you are really only limited by the space available.
Advantages of a raised bed include:
- Adjustable height – you can determine whether you want a 12” raised bed or a taller, more accessible height
- Saves space – generally you can position plants closer together in a raised bed.
- Soil Mixture – You can easily control the proper soil mix for your plantings
- Maintenance – the raised bed height makes it easier to weed and less accessible to rodents and other garden pests
- Creativity – your raised bed garden takes on any style you desire as you build the bed from materials ranging from bricks and stones to beautiful hardwoods or recycled materials like railroad ties.
A few things to consider:
- Accessibility – Make sure you can reach all your plants. You don’t want to build a deep bed against a house or fence where you can’t maintain the plants properly. The raised bed is supposed to make gardening easier, so do yourself a flavor and plan the bed shape and location accordingly.
- Be creative – not only are the bed structure materials a key in planning your raised garden, location, orientation and design factors are important. You may want to consider adding a raised garden feature to your existing garden or arrange several beds together in an interesting design.
- Plant choice – you will need to consider the depth of your raised garden bed when selecting plants. Read the requirements on the plant information tag and choose accordingly.