Drummond Castle and grounds were established in Perthshire, Scotland, in 1490. The tower house remains largely intact, but the gardens have been substantially changed over the centuries. Today there is some back-and-forth over the authenticity of the grounds (restored or re-created?), but most agree that they represent a grand 17th-century Scottish garden. The parterre, with its low clipped embroidery hedges, is in the shape of a large St. Andrew’s cross—geometric topiary forms being all the rage in the latter part of the 1600s. The regimentation of the layout is leavened with the addition of leaning topiary trees that lend an impish, Harry Potter–ish charm. These tipsy towers accentuate the long views from the garden, across verdant fields to distant hillsides.
Hanging plants are a smart choice for apartments and generally for small spaces.
The idea is that you can bring the green inside it without wasting your apartment space.
What can you grow in hanging baskets?
You can actually, cultivate any plant adaptable to the atmosphere and low light of an enclosed space such as “Philodendron” , “English Ivy” or “Pothos”. Options are more numerous in case of a bright apartment with an opening to the South.
However, you can plant even, vegetables and fruits in these hanging baskets such as “cherry tomatoes” or “strawberries”.
On the other hand, if you prefer an exotic atmosphere, consider plants such as “Hoya plants”.
Pots & Large Containers
Using different sizes of pots or large containers, you can give rein to your imagination and creation. Vivid colors, different textures and heights are all you need for a great look.
If you do not get much natural light then choose plants such as “Impatiens” or “Coleus”.
If you have a bright apartment with large openings then choose light-loving plants such as “New Guinea Impatiens” or “Moonbeam Coreopsis”.“Sweet Potato Vine” would be a good choice too.
An Indoor Greenhouse
When we speak of a greenhouse, we think of a building with walls made of metal and glass.
But again, with a little imagination you can create a pseudo greenhouse inside your apartment.
What do you need?
You need only two things, a few metal shelves and some shop lamps of different lengths. Use bulbs that emit a light similar with natural light or even simple use a combination of warms and cools bulbs that creates a large spectrum.
Choose plants appropriate in size to the distance between shelves.
There are so many varieties from which to choose from. Many varieties of vegetables, flowers or fruits are perfectly fit for your shelves.
A Garden on Your Windowsill
A open large windowsill facing South is your chance to grow your own herbs that can be used in your kitchen.
You van cultivate and grow varieties such as “Arugula”, “Mesclun Mix”, “Lettuce”, “Radishes” or “Spinach”. Plant them in wooden boxes or better, in “Earth Boxes”.
Earth boxes are not expensive and are perfect for your purpose. You can use them both inside and outside.
CONCLUSION: The small space of your apartment should not stop you from realizing your dream. Your little garden can fill your life; can be your relaxation and tranquility oasis. Surely, you will leave your daily stress outside of your apartment door.
What busy person couldn’t use a little help to make life a bit easier? From soil humidity sensors to computer-generated growing tips to weather detection devices, a new generation of high- and somewhat low-tech gadgets are available to assist us all in indoor and outdoor gardens. These will redefine the notion that plants need a human touch. — Robin from Urban Gardens
Windowfarms has gone automated. Now you can grow a vertical indoor garden year-round with this system. The tower supplies plants with nutrient-rich water that is cycled through a reservoir in the system’s base and then pumped up and funneled down from plant to plant. With a simple electric timer, the system is energy (and cost) efficient — it will only cost a few dollars per year.
You’ve heard of “The Cloud,” that floating storage space for all the world’s data, yes? Bitponics provides a similar service for gardeners through a “cloud” that connects via your WiFi network. It’s a splurge, but it provides a pretty cool service: monitoring plant pH, water and air temperatures, light and humidity.It alerts you should anything stray too far from the plant’s personalized plan, allowing you to make some adjustments via the web, anywhere and anytime.
Like a plant manager, Plant Link relies on data stored in a cloud. Place one in the soil near your indoor or outdoor plants (each plant area needs its own link) and enter the plant type into the company’s website. They will provide you with a watering schedule that you can access online and will send alerts via email.
A combination of hydroponics and intensive energy-efficient lighting, IndoorGarden’s Herb:ie 46 offers apartment dwellers the gift of a garden. This compact container comes in black, white, red or green, and would be just right in a kitchen or on a fire escape.
Botanicalls lets your plants tweet and text their needs to you. It takes a bit of patience and attention to detail (soldering and wire snipping) to set up, but the resulting device allows your plant to directly communicate with you. Who said plants can’t talk?
The younger sibling of the Click & Grow, this is almost eerily prescient, always one step ahead of you. This newer version comes equipped with a grow light, and like the original, it has a refillable water reservoir and a plant cartridge with seeds and a super-vitamin for soil.Tucked inside the pot are electronic sensors and software that measure the plant’s needs, releasing precise amounts of fertilizer, air and water.
Another cool personal gardener for you, Erbiza’s unassuming herb box is more than meets the eye. It’s filled with organic potting soil and seeds, and comes with a special code that enables registration on the retail site. Plus, the site doles out daily advice to ensure your chives, thyme, oregano and parsley flourish.
Italian designers combined their backgrounds in building, landscape and graphic design to create this multitasking irrigation device. Based on air and soil humidity measurements and type and quantity of vegetables, the Rugiada figures out the amount and type of water your garden needs.
Parrot’s Flower Power will do most of the plant care work for you. It’s an irrigation device equipped with a wireless sensor that measures sunlight, soil moisture, temperature and fertilizer. Be on the lookout for its release later this year.
“Kind of like having a gardening robot boyfriend” is how Sprout Robot describes its service. It answers the question on every new gardener’s lips: Where do I begin? Simply input your zip code, and Sprout Robot will craft an easy-to-follow gardening plan based on your location and climate.They’ll also send you seeds in the mail just in time for planting season, or you can opt to receive seasonal reminder emails to keep your garden on track.
You can’t beat the price: For just 99 cents, Pocket Garden is a mobile growing guide that covers an impressive range of gardening questions and concerns: everything from seed type, to germination and harvest times, to general planting suggestions about soil depth and plant spacing.
VegiBee garden pollinators are sonic, handheld electric pollinators that can be used in home gardens andgreenhouses and claim to increase crop yield by 30 percent annually. Battery-operated and rechargeable versions are available.
Covered with a crystalized fertilizer, Maria Bujalska’s Crystal Planter not only is beautiful, but helps nourish plants over time as well. The plant’s roots grow into the felted fibers and feed themselves with the slowly dissolving fertilizer that’s released from the crystals with each watering. The plant eventually fuses with the planter to become one constantly growing system.
This plant sensor has been hanging out with computers for a while, but it remains a great tool. It shows exactly what kind of plants will grow anywhere, inside or out. And it has step-by-step tips for thousands of different plants.
In addition to its sleek design, the Koubachi Wi-Fi Plant Sensor does a lot for you. After measuring soil moisture, temperature and light intensity, it determines the needs of your plant and sends you updates through its free smart phone app.
A little birdie told me about this one! The Plant Pal moisture-sensing probe measures moisture at the root level, and when the plant needs watering, the bird sings! No worries at night, as a light sensor deactivates the bird sound when the room is dark so that you won’t go nuts listening to continuous chirping.
Another garden-by-phone gadget, Greenbox is an iOS-controlled irrigation system that uses local weather data to determine and set customized watering programs and send them to you via your smart phone.
The Blue Green Box is an aquaponics plant-growing system for a 10-gallon freshwateraquarium. The box holds four plastic planter grow beds filled with gravel. Water floods the beds on timed intervals, allowing the plants to extract nutrients from fish waste and gravel (or other fertilizer) that holds the roots.
The Mi Garden is a plant growing system complete with an integrated grow light, automatic watering system and a micro-controller thathandles all of the watering and lighting. Choose your type of plant and its status, and then the system handles all the rest for you. All you need to do is occasionally monitor water and nutrient levels.
Located in England’s famously picturesque Lake District, Levens Hall boasts the world’s oldest topiary garden still surviving in its original design. Dating back to 1694, the topiaries reflect the late-17th-century taste for clipping trees and shrubs into abstract masses or geometric forms. Huge yew and beech hedges create garden rooms (state rooms, really), and parterres are punctuated with towering top-hatted shapes seeming to totter on a single trunk. The garden also includes an orchard, a nuttery for growing beechnuts and walnuts, and a bowling green.
As space in the city becomes more commercialised, gardeners all over Melbourne are claiming urban spaces to grow food and flowers. Here are some of the most inspiring plots
Melbourne has experienced a steady population rise to well over four million people, and an accompanying demographic shift is occurring as space in inner-city areas are increasingly under commercial pressure. For a growing number of urbanites, community-based gardening projects are providing a much-needed connection to both local communities and the earth.
A community plot: Veg Out gardens in St Kilda, Melbourne. Photograph: Veg Out
A sign at the entrance to Veg Out reads: “Gardening is an act of faith in the future.” Apart from the ocean of artfully decorated garden beds, the first thing that hits you when you walk into this prospering St Kilda community garden is the smell of fresh compost mingling with the sweet and pungent whiff of fresh herbs and vegetables.
Yet it has taken more than just faith to ensure the survival of this former bowling club on the site on a $30m-plus piece of land right next to the famous Luna Park and just metres away from the St Kilda beach foreshore. Garden co-ordinator Rob Taylor says the garden initially encountered a lot of scepticism that it would be able to survive in such a prime commercial location, but he says the key has been hard work and always remaining open to the public.
“In the early days it was about locking the gate, but then we realised we needed to open it up. This is essentially public parkland and it’s now open every day of the year. If you lock these places up they wither and die and become elitist and exclusive. A community garden is not a fashion accessory – that’s not what community is about.”
Veg Out is financially independent (mostly through funds generated from a monthly farmers’ market) and hosts more than 150 garden plots on just under two acres, all set to the sounds of the Big Dipper rattling away in the background. It features affordable artists studios, a wood-fired stove, live music stage and children’s playground.
“We have over a thousand members and an actively engaged community here and we are always open to newcomers,” says Taylor. “The best way to get a plot is to come along to a working bee held on the first Sunday of each month and make yourself known to us. Everyone is welcome.”
‘Nothing here is permanent’: the gardens on the roof of Federation Square.
Fabian Capomolla, co-founder of the garden on the site of a disused concrete car park at Federation Square, describes his unique urban community garden model as being a bit like joining a gym – a user-pays system in which people get as much out as they put in to it. “Nothing is sustainable unless it makes money,” says Capomolla. “But we find that because people are paying they are more likely to remain engaged.”
Sitting between skyscrapers and train lines on one side and the Birrarung Marr park and Yarra river on the other, the site boasts 120 plots that consist of composted soil inside former fruit and vegetable crates. For about $3.50 a day, many of the crates are taken up by city restaurants such as the Taxi Dining room, Little Creatures Brewery, andthe Press Club to grow fresh specialty garnishes and edible flowers such as borage, nasturtiums and violas.
“This is a trial for us to find out if this model is scalable – it’s a modern-day garden plot concept,” says Capomolla. “No doubt this piece of concrete could earn more money as a car park, but there is plenty of temporary unused land in every city. We are building a community here – but nothing here is permanent.”
At Cultivating Community, the biodiversity of the crops reflect the ethnic diversity of its gardeners. Photograph: Jon Osborne
In the shadows of Melbourne’s concrete, almost Soviet-style housing commission flats, around 800 mostly refugee and migrant gardeners share 19 inner-city community gardens through a project called Cultivating Community. Each garden hosts between 12 and 126 plots, depending on location. To apply for a plot, you need to be a public housing tenant.
At one of the larger gardens in Highett Street in Richmond, I meet Domingos Mac, an East Timorese mother who has gardened here for over 20 years. “I have more time now that the kids have grown up, but I’m not as fit as I used to be,” she says. She shows off her crops of taro, white cucumber, gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and aloa vera. “These ones are good for blood pressure, circulation and skin infections,” she says casting her hands across verdant, fecund garden beds.
According to Cultivating Community project manager Sharelle Polack, one of the extraordinary things about the public housing gardens is how the diverse backgrounds of the gardeners is reflected in the biodiversity of the crops.
“The gardens give public housing tenants access to land that they use to grow their own food and the ability to connect with their culture through the food they grow,” Polack says. “Although many don’t speak English, they can speak the language of food, cooking and gardening.”
In full bloom: Rushall Garden in North Fitzroy. Photograph: Rushall Garden
Tucked behind a grassy knoll beside a curve in the railway track between Rushall and Merri railway stations, Rushall Garden was formed a decade ago by local residents after six years of negotiations with the Yarra council. It houses 62 garden beds and provides communal plots for people on the waiting list.
Despite sitting in the midst of one of Melbourne’s most gentrified areas of the middle-class inner-northern suburbs, Rushall gives priority to low-income residents with no garden of their own. The site features composting toilets and water tanks that gather run-off harvested from a nearby electrical substation roof – and has also recently become an official composting hub for local cafes and restaurants to bring their food scraps.
Garden secretary Kathy Chambers says the main incentive behind Rushall is the opportunity to have direct control and choice over the food we consume. “For many of the local families that have plots here, that extends to educating children to build an awareness of the effort that goes into producing delicious, organic produce. In my view, community gardens should be much more widespread so that people have a genuine choice about where their food comes from and have greater control over their food supply.”
Planting a cliff site extension on Edgars Creek, Melbourne. Photograph: Friends of Edgars Creek
Guerrilla gardening along Melbourne’s creeks and tributaries
For those who don’t want to wait for a plot in an established community garden, a quiet revolution is taking place along Melbourne’s waterways. Here an active movement of local gardeners are taking matters into their own hands by revegetating eroded creeks with indigenous plants.
According to Patrick Belford, freelance landscape gardener by day and part-time guerrilla gardener, “the key philosophy behind the planting is the attitude of being custodians of the land”. The aim is to combat the erosion of creek banks and suppress weeds while providing a habitat for birds and other wildlife.
“There is a very strong underground community around revegetation. It’s restorative for both people and the environment. For example, planting days for the Friends of Edgars Creek in Melbourne’s northern suburbs occurs every month, and these events are always popular. The group and sense of community is re-enforced by the observation and care of the plantings already established,” says Belford.
“Our degraded urban spaces provide the best community garden there is. We just need to be audacious and brave enough to bring our neighbourhoods back to life. In a sense, revegitating our local areas is the most immediate and direct environmental action we can take.”
An allée of locusts frames a Henry Moore bronze in a Ohio garden that Cil Draime and her late husband, Max, created together. The vast garden flourishes over 10 acres and includes seven ponds and a small lake, as well as 12 areas dedicated to specific themes. They incorporated existing 100-year-old trees into their design.
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My observations as an artistic, writer, blogger, computer geek, humanist, mental health activist, lifelong learning and researcher of life living with lifelong severe depression, anxiety, social anxiety with agoraphobia, PTSD, A Nervous Breakdown, as well as a Survivor of Sexual Abuse and Rape.