City dwellers 'should make most of balconies with nature'
An award-winning garden design consultant and interior architect is urging Dublin city apartment dwellers to make the most of their tight spaces by bringing a piece of nature to their corner of the world.
Leonie Cornelius, a Bloom gold medallist and Woodies judge for RTE's Super Garden, says that even if you don't have a backyard, with some simple plants and flowers, you can still bring a splash of life and happiness into your apartment home.
"I grew up in Germany and lived on the top floor of an apartment block. Outside on the ground level, there was a shared space for people to garden and we had lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, plants and flowers. And that is where I really developed my love of gardening.
"My mother was an avid gardener and she got me into it too. So I have always been a fan of nature.
"We moved to Ireland when I was seven because my parents fell in love with the Irish landscape and it has always been an inspiration to me," she said.
"I would say to people living in apartments that you can still make the most of a small space on a balcony with a little bit of effort. It it very therapeutic and it's great for your health," she added.
"It's lovely to be out doing something in the fresh air and, most of all, plants and flowers are beautiful for you to look at.
"They are a calm and serene alternative to just iron bars and railings.
"People don't want to look at concrete and bars when they come home from work and nature is a simple way to bring life and vibrancy and relaxation into your home."
The 35-year-old said she believed that Ireland's growing city population was slowly discovering the joys of tending to their own little patch of nature.
Hanging baskets, canning jars mounted to the wall and outdoor lanterns can all bring the space to light.
Meanwhile, the Sunday Independent and Woodie's are giving you the chance to win a fantastic competition to make over your garden to the value of €10,000. The prize will include an on-site consultation with Leonie.
The garden expert will prepare a customised garden design based on your personal style. You will then have €7,500 to spend on garden products from any Woodie's store in Ireland.