Michael Perry, aka Mr Plant Geek, set tongues wagging on ITV’s This Morning earlier this year, and now he’s sharing his green-fingered tips with Attitude readers.
From home-grown fitness and healthy eating to sprucing up your home and garden, there’s no better expert when it comes to homo horticulture – and this month Michael's revealing the easy ways you can transform even the most urban living space into a plant-filled paradise.
You might think reading a ‘gardening column’ is a little pointless if you live in a a city or apartment, with or without a balcony - but, stop right there! Whatever size or format your home, I’m sure you have windows, so you can easily fix up a window box (or two).
Window boxes can transform even the dullest of exteriors, but they can be useful too! Growing herbs, fruit or vegetables in your window box means your crops can be up close - almost like creating your own window ledge allotment - something that's sure to impress your friends and, even better, you don’t have to get dirt under your fingernails.
Plant magicians have come up with a range of food crops for smaller spaces too - look out for the trailing Blackberry plant ‘Black Cascade’, meaning the countryside wild specimen can now be grown at home. Likewise, the tomato world has become more lax (literally) with the introduction of varieties such as ‘Bajaja’, where the tomato fruits hang like jewels. Their flavour is pretty sweet too- in fact, more so than any you’d buy in the supermarket. If you like your cucumbers, many can be grown in window boxes too, and their lunchbox size fruits picked regularly.
Let’s look at a few styles of window box to get you started. Warning, some may require the use of a drill! It really depends how wide your windowsills are- if you have glorious Victorian window ledges, then you’re fine without the DIY session! First up in the free-standing range is this modern and contemporary style box
! For those needing a little extra support, there’s lots of styles to choose - from the very twee, swiss chalet style to the slightly more simple, as seen here
Window boxes can be stuffed to the brim with flowers- think unapologetic colour! Sunny frontages will be fab for petunias and geraniums, where shady situations will be perfect for fuchsias and begonias. In fact, you’ll be so impressed with the weather tolerance of begonias- they’re almost like plastic, we need the number of their surgeon! Of course, you could also boycott the flower festival and use just foliage plants, mini conifers or perhaps even succulents!
Next, we’ve got an INDOOR window box - just look at these fresh and funky window attachments for growing plants in- they are the Bernini Floating Gardens
They don’t need any fixing up or drilling- simply suction them onto the window! They would be great for herbs on the kitchen window! No more desperate attempts to keep those supermarket-bought herb pots alive!
Then, for those of you lucky enough to have a sunbathing deck (aka balcony), there are some cleverly designed containers
that actually straddle the balcony securely and can allow you to dress it with colour! Just look at these planters, they are slightly psychedelic, but you might like them!
What can you plant into window boxes and planters right now then…? Think autumn and winter plants- cheeky little Pansies, furry Heathers, glossy Ivy- it’s right old rustic medley! In my opinion, I would go with less variation to make the window box look better-, i.e. just red-flowered Pansies with some lush white-flowering Heather. Keep it classy!
Follow Michael on Twitter @mr_plantgeek, and be sure to visit mrplantgeek.com for more.
For more Mr Plant Geek on attitude.co.uk click here.
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