Patio Gardening for Pleasure, Plate or Peace of Mind

The benefits of immersing oneself in nature’s greenery have been well promoted. For many who have just a balcony or patio, there are many colourful plants and edibles that can be grown in pots or other containers, as evidenced by those that have already sprung up around The Vale.

Whether you are new to gardening or more experienced, there are joys to be had. You will derive great pleasure from nurturing something you have planted yourself and watch grow to fruition. Keeping your fingers busy will maintain dexterity and you will have plenty to learn as you discover what works, what doesn’t and delve into the fascinating world of plants and flowers. Plus, once your plants reach their peak, you will be able to sit back, relax and enjoy them – although you may find yourself sharing them with a host of bees, butterflies, other insects and birds.

There is an almost inexhaustible list of plants that can be container grown. Just take care to check whether they need shade or sun, what type of compost suits them, how to feed them and how often they need watering.

Here are a few suggestions:

Petunias – one of our most popular bedding or container plants. Free-flowering and relatively easy to grow, they come in an array of pinks, purples, reds, white and bi-colours. There are also tumbling varieties for hanging baskets.

Bidens, Busy Lizzies, Geraniums, Marigolds, Mimulus will also bring colour, as will Nasturtiums that will climb and trail. Their flowers, leaves and seeds are edible. Use the flowers and leaves in salads or on pizza for a peppery taste. Pickle the seeds in brine and use them like capers.

Scent givers include Lavender, Dianthus, Sweet Peas and Jasmine (the last two will need something to climb up)Many herbs will give scent too and do well in containers, including Chives, Rosemary, Mint, Rocket, Basil, Dill, Thyme, Chervil, Parsley. There is, of course, the additional and delicious appeal of adding them to your cooking.

Container gardening is rewarding in so many ways and can provide colour all year round. Pansies and evergreens will take you through winter, daffodils, crocuses, hyacinths and tulips will welcome Spring.

You will find that you increasingly experiment with new plants and containers.  You might even find yourself doing a plant swap with your neighbours. What could be better?