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What's Up Magazine

Pocket Gardens

Jul 25, 2011 09:46PM ● By Anonymous

Even if your lot size is limited, you can still grow a bountiful garden. With careful planning, you can create small pockets of tranquility from a space that’s as small as three feet by three feet. Lacking even that much space? Container gardens provide another possibility.

First, establish where you want to grow your garden. Some possibilities include: right outside your door, in an  inner courtyard, the side of your house, on your patio or deck, and even in very small or odd spaces nestled between stepping stones, inside an old clawfooted bathtub or old wooden rowboat.

Choosing the Right Plants
Selecting the right plant for a small garden is key—you don’t want an aggressive or invasive plant that could smother other plants or end up overtaking your small space, such as mints. If you want to incorporate these types of plants, contain them in large planters or pots. If you are planting next to a wall, fence, or other structure, consider using climbers or plants that can be trained to grow vertically, such as clematis.

Care and Maintenance

Care for your pocket garden depends on what type of garden you choose to plant. Just remember, if you plant a container garden or a garden near tree roots,you will have to water it more frequently than other types of pocket gardens. If you decided to use a small container such as pots or a window box, ensure drainage is good before planting. First, make sure you have drainage holes; second, cover those drainage holes with screen or another porous material so the soil won’t wash out when you water. The best mixes, according to gardening experts, are the commercial soilless mixes made of sphagnum peat moss, perlite, and vermiculite because they retain moisture longer.

Home and Garden Editor Renee Houston Zemanski has several container gardens on her property, including window boxes and big pots full of refreshing mint varieties.

A Plethora of Pocket Gardens

Space challenged? Here are some pocket garden solutions: All “Seasoned” Garden Plant a compact herb garden with containers full of your favorite herbs right outside your kitchen door or next to your grill. Plants to consider:your favorite spices, of course! Basil,thyme, rosemary, and sage make for a lovely textured garden that smells heavenly.

Mailbox Garden
Often you will see lovely pocket gardens surrounding a mailbox. Ivies,clematis, and other climbing plants can be trained to climb and wraparound your mailbox. You can also plant short ornamental grasses and other hardy plants that can withstand some trampling and dog traffic.

All Contained
Group large planters and small pots together to form a small container garden with gorgeous perennial plants
such as lavender and peppermint, and annuals such as petunias, impatiens, and geraniums.

Tossed Salad
Plant everything you need to make a summer salad in one place—greens, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, onions,
radishes, and sugar snap peas.

Vertical Pocket Garden
These innovative gardens are created from shoe organizers for those who are seriously space challenged! All you need is a hanging pocket shoe organizer, someplace to hang it, moisture-retaining soil compost, and a good selection of seedlings or seeds— try a vegetable or herb garden in one of these!

Cutting Garden
Plant a pocket of posies that keep on giving. With some flowers, the more you cut, the more you get! Some examples: zinnias, coral-bells, fringed bleeding heart, and black-eyed Susans. Plant them in unique containers such as an old rowboat!

Stepping Stone Garden

Another innovative solution for those who lack space is to plant a garden between your stepping-stones, featuring plants that you can walk on! Some plants that will look good even after they’ve been trampled include: aceana New Zealand Bur (blue haze and purple), acinos alpine calamint, lindernia grandiflora Blue Moneywort, Pratia angulata White Star Creeper, and, well, there are tons of them!

Window Boxes
Nothing spells out country cottage more than lovely window box gardens. For a beautiful window garden, select annual plants that “spill over” the sides such as nasturtiums, edging lobelia, and “Silver Falls” or perennials such as small creeping herbs like oregano and thyme. For a sunny window garden bring in color with annuals such as marigolds and petunias. Impatiens are great for shady gardens.