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March 2009

I was walking from our car to a restaurant with my husband when I spotted this charming courtyard. It was in a very cute part of Long Beach called Belmont Shores. Especially when you know you’re going to be in a well-manicured part of town, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for great ideas you can borrow on your own balcony or patio!

I love how they’ve used the pavers and baby’s tears to create a “been here for a long time” look. It also directs traffic to the front door nicely, but still manages to incorporate several planters and a nice seating area (you can just make it out behind the bush on the left side). This entire space is probably about 20 feet wide by 8 feet deep.

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If my site logs are on to anything, gardeners are REALLY interested in growing edibles in containers. So here goes nothing. Bear with me on the graphics, I’m having some technical issues behind the scenes. But hopefully they’ll get my ideas across.

Rosemary, Meet My Friend Strawberry

A super easy combo is to plant up a strawberry pot with strawberries in the lower half and rosemary in the top. Start by filling the pot with enough dirt to reach the lowest hole in the pot. Insert the first strawberry transplant and then fill the pot with enough dirt to reach the next hole, and repeat.  When you’ve planted the last strawberry, add enough dirt so that the rosemary’s roots will be about 2 inches below the lip of the pot. Place the rosemary in the pot, fill around it with dirt, and voila! You’re done.

When the strawberries are ready to be picked, consider this strawberry and rosemary jam recipe (scroll down to the bottom to see how she tweaked the recipe to include rosemary). If you want extra credit, train your rosemary into a topiary.

Eat Your Beets and Carrots

A really attractive combo of root vegetables is carrots and beets. The finely cut foliage of the carrots contrasts nicely with the bold, dark foliage of beets. I like planting beets in the back of the pot, and then a short variety of carrots in front. As the beet leaves are also edible, you’d be hard pressed to plant a more efficient pot.

More Good Veggie Combos

  • Tomatoes and marigolds – Probably the classic vegetable companion combination. Marigolds fight off some of the pests that attack tomato roots.
  • Lettuce and Radishes – Ring a pot of lettuce with radishes and you’ll have an attractive salad in the pot and on the plate.
  • Mint and Broccoli – Broccoli is actually a pretty attractive plant. Mint will spread around the base of the broccoli, covering the dirt.
  • Swiss Chard and Cabbage – The striking white and green of the chard contrasts nicely in both shape and color with the cabbage.

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All Black Container Recipe

March 29, 2009

As promised, below you’ll find a container recipe featuring black plants This pot includes: ‘Edge of Night’ Calla Lily ‘Black Magic’ Bachelor’s Button ‘Blackie’ Sweet Potato Vine I’ve never seen black Bachelor’s Buttons in a nursery, so you might consider growing them from seed. Botanical Interests has Black Magic seeds. To round out the black […]

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More Black Plants

March 27, 2009

I’ve never ordered from Annie’s Annuals, but I have heard really good things about their plants and seeds. AND, there is a whole section on their site with black plants. Also, if you didn’t catch it the first time around, check out this list of black plants. And stay tuned for a container design featuring […]

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My Favorite Potting Soil

March 27, 2009

The other day I talked about what to look for in a potting soil. I thought I would take a second to show off my favorite potting soil. It’s called Edna’s Best Potting Soil by E.B Stone Organics (I also really like their fertilizers). You know it’s good stuff from the second you rip open […]

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Canna, Bougainvillea, Geraniums, Dusty Miller…

March 26, 2009

Here are some photos I took today while working on some pots for a client. It was a lot of fun working with such an easy going person. I had carte blanche, but tried to include plants she mentioned she liked, such as bougainvillea.

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Anarchy in the Garden

March 25, 2009

If you’re looking for a podcast about edible gardening, then you’re in luck! Adriana from Victory Home & Garden is creating a podcast that blends punk music and edible gardening. It’s sure to be an awesome podcast, but she needs your questions to get started. Send in your edible gardening questions and Adriana will answer […]

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Awesome Black Plants for High Impact Containers

March 25, 2009

Inspired by Mr. Brown Thumb’s black garden (that stumbled upon recently), I came up with these plants that are easy to grow in a container and feature black leaves or flowers. To be clear, “black” when it comes to plants usually means very dark purple or red, sometimes a very dark chocolate. Photo by van […]

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How to Shop at a Nursery

March 24, 2009

Sometimes nurseries can be overwhelming. Especially when you’re visiting an independent nursery (i.e. not Home Depot) that you’ve never been to before. They can have more plants in one place than you’ve ever seen before, and a good 75% of what’s there is completely new to you. How can you use your time efficiently to […]

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Become an Founding Member of the Life on the Balcony Flickr Group!

March 24, 2009

Over the last nine months, several of you have emailed me with photos of your container garden. It’s such a wonderful surprise to find potted gardens in my inbox! I have to say, interacting with other gardeners is my absolute favorite part of blogging. So much so, that I am always thinking about new ways […]

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