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Small-Space Container Gardens: Transform Your Balcony, Porch, or Patio with Fruits, Flowers, Foliage, and Herbs Paperback – March 6, 2012
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"From selection of plants to illustrations of how to lay it all out, beginning and experienced gardeners alike will find plenty of inspiration." (Kylee Baumle, Horticulture Magazine)
"Popular blogger Fern Richardson at Lifeonthebalcony.com knows all about attaining some big style in small spaces. Yes, you can do it all - attract wildlife, grow food, become one with your inner-nature-lover and work with limited lighting on porches, balconies and other small areas. " (Cindy McNatt, The Orange County Register)
From the Back Cover
Chances are your balcony, porch, or patio could use a major makeover. Fern Richardson, charismatic creator of the blog Life on the Balcony, is here to walk you through the process of beautifying a small space—even when your budget is just as small.
This exciting guide layers practical gardening fundamentals with creative solutions that encourage thinking outside the pot. Maybe this means repurposing a shipping pallet to create a colorful vertical garden of nasturtiums and lobelia. Or simply seeing walls, rafters, railings, and everything in between as fair game. You'll also learn how to tackle unique challenges, like windy conditions when gardening several stories above street level, and how to care for plants and troubleshoot with the best of them.
From design basics to essential plant picks, Small-Space Container Gardens proves you don't need a yard to have a garden. For anyone who wants more green in their life, it's time to get out there and start growing.
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
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So when Fern's new book Small-Space Container Gardens came out, I already had two copies pre-ordered, one for myself and one to give as a gift. I just knew I was going to love it. And sure enough, I do! The book is structured as a total from-the-ground-up guide to having a gorgeous balcony garden. While you might think that would encompass only container planting, she also shares numerous tips on design and décor, dealing with narrow spaces, vertical gardening, and issues unique to balcony gardeners like how to deal with rain pouring in sheets off the roof and onto your potted plants.
Even better, Fern's DIY style is made easy and fun with numerous tutorials and crafts throughout the book. I absolutely adored the chalkboard planter idea for taking ordinary, inexpensive pots and making them cute and functional. How many times have I gotten a call from a client just before dinnertime wondering whether the plant with big leaves was the oregano or the sage? Now, I can show horticulturally-challenged gardeners this tutorial and they can create their own (very chic) labeled pots for their edibles. What a great gift idea!
I felt this way with all of the tutorials in the book. Fern made everything look so elegant that I immediately wanted to rush out, get a few supplies, and make `em happen. She showed a small-space DIY birdbath which would be perfect nestled among a few potted plants. And the mod-minimalist bird feeder idea? I totally want to adapt this project and make it my own (I mean, purple would be mod-minimalist too, right? Right?).
I also loved that Fern made cohesive garden design easy with her small-space patio design plans. She created full container planting designs for a Verdant and Vertical Garden, Potager With a Twist (some great edible and cocktail garden ingredients!), Succulents and Scents, and more. It's not just the planting ideas, either; she mixes décor tips and layout ideas into her plans so you can see how all the elements fit together.
The book is beautifully-photographed and designed, and would make a great gift for the beginning or advanced container gardener. The text covers all that a beginner would need to know in clear language, while the designs and DIY projects offer enough interest to keep even pros like me coming back for more.
At first I thought I had a black thumb, but now I have a lush, thriving balcony garden. Thank you Fern Richardson!