Make Your Own Vertical Garden for Winter

hero

Did you know that communing with green things can increase your smile? “Research shows that you can grow happier by getting outside and connecting with nature,” says Debbie Agnew from Planet Ark. You live in a small space? It’s still possible!

So, being with nature is good for the soul. In an ideal world, we’d up sticks and go find ourselves in a rustic country haven haunted by goats and staffies where we could grow lavender and harvest our own honey… 🙂 But until such time as this tree-change can occur, we are city-dwellers. And finding a way to be with the flora is challenging.

Enter the vertical garden! Hero of the small space. Apartment friend. Crafty living wall art! A vertical garden is the perfect antidote to a compact abode. From climbing strawberries to artfully arranged succulents in hanging teapots, the possibilities are infinite.

Miniature digs can host a range of gorgeous natural accents. Read on for all hints for creating your very own diminutive winter wilderness!

Images sourced L to R: inspirationgreen.com and homelife.com.au

THE WHAT

This is praps the biggest question when you’re considering an organic installation. What to put in it? You want to be thinking about colour, texture and durability. Our infatuations are:

  • SUCCULENTS

Super stylish and sculptural, these versatile plants are easy to maintain, making them perfect for peoples with less than verdant green thumbs. They don’t need too much soil or moisture. They like plenty of sun.

Up the visual appeal by combining varieties for diverse shaped and coloured foliage. Any vessel will do: pots, urns, troughs, window boxes, custom-made planters or even an old gumboot! And they work indoors and out.

Tip: use a lightweight succulent potting mix (with a good amount of sand in it) and use one variety as a base to create a more harmonious, calming look. Don’t over-water!

Succulents! Images sourced L to R: buzzfeed.com

  • HERBS + EDIBLE FLOWERS

The ideal aromatic adornment for the foodie! Having a host of herbs and edible flowers at your fingertips gives your space a homely feel and makes crafting delightfully seasoned cuisine a breeze.

Herbs like parsley, sage, rosemary, dill and basil are a great choice for shadier areas. Plus they are low maintenance. Edible flowers like Sapphire Buttons, White Pepper (from rocket) and Vivid Velvet Pansies add a splash of colour to your vertical garden and your dinners and desserts!

Tip: herbs tend to take off at a run – they may need to be ripped out (youch!) and replaced in 6 months to a year.

Herb gardens! Images sourced L to R: inspirationgreen.com and diycozycottage.wordpress.com

  • FLORAL + FERNS

Clumping and trailing ferns are great options for outdoor (and indoor) spaces with little to dappled sunlight only. They can transform an ugly fence into an aesthetic feature. And they’re easy to plant close together.

Hardy fleurs like begonias and bromeliads also make a great choice. They don’t need much soil, their leaves are colourful and their flowers are long-lasting.

Tip: Trailing ferns and the fronds of Japanese lilies give a green waterfall effect when hanging. Add in Baby’s Tears (a dainty ground cover) for a healthy all-over green hue.

Ferns and bromeliads. Images sourced L to R: plantsonwalls.blogspot.com and sunset.com

  • FRUIT + VEGIES

A salad garden is an easy win if you’re a little uncertain how green your thumb is. Lettuces have shallow root systems and are happy scrunched (!) in together. And they’re not needy. (Sounds like the perfect partner, no?)

If you’re more into colour pops, opt for cherry toms and strawbs – these vine-based creepers are easy to train up a trellis or wire mesh and okay in small spaces. But they need sun! Radishes also look sweet!

Tip: Use upside-down hanging planters for a unique look.

Vegie gardens! Images sourced L to R: inspirationgreen.com and homeizea.com

THE WHERE

Vertical gardens can be adapted to suit the space you have available – from your windowsill to your balcony rail. Look at the nooks in your space that are wanting in love. The space behind the door to your verandah, a spot of brickwork, any empty wall space, your entryway…

Images sourced L to R: inspiredbycharm.com, portwings.com and pinterest.com

THE HOW

This is open to interpretation – see our photo gallery for inspiration. Just know this – the world limits you enough without you limiting yourself. Our faves are:

  • FRAMED WALL ART

Whether you’re re-purposing a sturdy wood photo or picture frame or building your own from scratch, this look is superb! Distressed wood adds a new level of handsome to your vertical garden.

  • STACKED TERRACOTTA POTS

Reinvent the English country garden in a corner with overflowing ceramic or clay pots. Tipped off-centre around a steel pole, this look is luscious. See this vid for all the tips.

Images sourced L to R: inspirationgreen.com, blog.powellgardens.org, smh.com.au, and servicecentral.com.au

  • PALLET PRETTY

Upcycle old pallets – sand them down, paint them with chalkboard paint, or leave them looking rustic.

  • HANGING BASKETS/POCKETS

These can sit flush against a wall as well as just dropping into unoccupied ceiling space in your interiors. From terracotta pots and urns to mason jars and teapots, the possibilities for vessels are endless…

Images sourced from L to R: pinterest.com, etsy.com and laurenconrad.com

THE TLC

Okay – we’re not exactly Don Burke – it’s important that this is clear! But quite simply:

  • Start with seedlings – not seeds. Don’t make it harder for yourself. Plus, this way it’s instantly pretty!
  • Use potting mix – the exxy stuff. It will whisper sweet nothings to your green friends when you’re not around.
  • Liquid seaweed extract is the sweetener. Invest in some of this stuff. But read the spray bottle before you go crazy with it!

That’s it! We feel ourselves getting happier already!! 😀

Kay is a feature, blog and copywriter. She collects empty jam jars, academic degrees and tawdry dreams in the hopes of turning them into something useful someday. Her work has been published in ACP magazines, ABC fiction, Overland, Brittle Star, Seizure, trade publications and online forums. Her creative writing has won several awards.