These past several months my garden was truly my Eden, a way to escape the harsh reality of the pandemic. It is a North-East facing 3 by 8 m concrete tiled terrace but with lots of TLC I proudly turned it into a colourful gem.
I am lucky to have some “borrowed landscape” from the greenery of the adjacent gardens so I can focus on making my space very colourful. It being North-East facing means I only get morning sun till about 13H making it not suitable for sun-loving plants.
When it comes to flowers, the hydrangeas LOVE it here and I have plenty of different varieties. Pelargoniums and ferns do really well too, the rest needs a little help like my roses, hibiscus, violets and daisies, I feed all of them with an organic tomato feed every 2 weeks during summer and water every other day.
Herbs like chives and bay leaf (laurel) do real well; my rosemary, thyme and sage need a helping hand so I make sure they get the most of the sun and extra good drainage.
I have a compost bin next to my large veggie container which was extremely unsuccessful this season but live and learn! It did produce an amazing spring bulbs display when confinement started so I am not complaining. The compost bin also had a bit of a false start but all is better now. I look forward in using the mulch next spring on my plants.
The black furniture and dove grey pillows allow the flowers to be the star and I do love a little kitsch in my garden: plastic flamingos and bright pineapples are a bit of fun.
My string lights give an inviting ambiance even when not lit and most of all the garden is spectacular seen from indoors as well.
7 TIPs for starting your own urban garden:
- NO space is too small! My main goal was to create a tranquil outdoor space to sit and enjoy colourful blooms and kitchen herbs. Last year I added the compost bin as I embarked on a greener lifestyle. Ask yourself how you wish to use it and create it.
- What is the orientation of the space? My space is North-East facing so I know what plants will do well and which will not. Get your compass out and figure out the orientation and what will work and plant plenty.
- Select your containers and keep moving : whether you buy new, recycled, use terracotta, wood, tin or plastic containers learn how to keep them in good nick and don’t be afraid to move them around to enjoy the best views at all times.
- Mix ! Have green with splashes of colour intermixed. Grown some edibles like herbs, vegetables or fruit. Don’t stick to just one variety of a plant, experiment. I like pink and yellow flower combo the most so that is my palate I go for but anything is possible.
- Water and feed are the MOST important ingredients for a successful urban garden. I water in summer every other day and give them a good long soak. Most containers have a dish underneath them to store some water as well. I monitor those reservoirs as most of my plants don’t like wet feet. I feed every 2 weeks with an organic tomato feed to give them extra strength to bloom all season long.
- Deadhead your flowers, sounds horrific but is needed. If you cut a spent flower back to the 1st bud or leave, you will keep your garden flowering all season.
- Get advice from a gardener friend, the web, magazines, books or TV shows like Gardeners World on BBC2. I ‘ve learned a lot from my father at young age but I keep learning everyday . Audrey Hepburn said “To plant a garden, is to believe in the future” I love that!
Brussels is full of foxes and I am lucky to have a companion when I am out in my garden. I also have squirrels who hide their precious nuts in my pots and unfortunately a couple of mice who like to eat my sprouting produce. I encourage bees and other insects with the variety of flowers I grow.
My tiny urban garden is my Eden to kick off my heels and relax. I love lounging on the couch on the weekends, having friends over for an al-fresco lunch and enjoying a glass of wine after work. It is a joy in every season as well as looking out on to it from my kitchen.
Written and photographed by Sandra Slawinski without commercial deals. My garden furniture is from Leenbakker, carpet from Maison du Monde and containers from Brico. My Jimmy Choos are very precious to me and wear them on the most special occasions like a Tuesday 🙂