The mere presence of a plant will lift your mood!
Even if you have limited space you can still enjoy gardening
That's the message coming from Kevin Dennis, a garden designer, horticulturist and founder of CityScape Gardener.
Kevin, who was the overall winner of Ireland's 2014 Bloom Festival with his 'City Life Garden', has a passion for taking urban areas and transforming them into places of beauty and calm.
"If you are working with a small garden, my advice would be to designate an area for seating in the sunniest spot and build your garden around it.
"If you have access to soil in a small garden then you can start by planting a selection of some hardy plants that will give you flowers at different times of the year. Be sure to plant evergreen plants that will not lose their leaves in winter. This will give your garden some structure and it will never become totally bare."
Even if you live in an apartment, without access to a garden, Kevin says there are still many options available to you.
"If you are in an apartment, your balcony floor will likely be decking so the planting will have to be in containers. And it is very easy to get started too! All you need are some clay pots, good quality compost and a selection of flowers and herbs. Pots at different heights will add interest. Try putting some trailing plants such a Geranium Rozanne or Campanula's in the taller pots so they will overspill with flowers cascading downwards, that's a nice effect!"
When ground level space is at a premium, Kevin says a smart idea is to maximise your wall space.
"Planting on a wall is a great idea! It's brilliant in an urban micro garden situation. When you transfer a planting bed from the ground up onto a wall just think of all the space you save!"
But how do you put up a vertical planting bed? If you are not a keen gardener it may seem daunting?
"There are many different options including the old traditional method of a green planting wall, which is simply a climbing plant on a timber trellis!
"I recently put up some simple ready made vertical hanging planters. A client of mine loves cooking so just outside her kitchen door I put up heavy green fabric units with multiple plant pockets (bought in a garden centre). I filled them with herbs such as chives, parsley, oregano and rosemary. Now she can access them easily for cooking. Plus it's a really nice visual effect looking out the window."
There are a vast amount of benefits to introducing plants to your home, even if you are working with limited space.
"The sights, smells, and sounds of plants are said to promote relaxation, reduce stress and improve our mental health. It has been proven that by being in the mere presence of a plant will lift your mood! If you live in a city and spend your time working indoors then plants are your connection with nature and that connection will add value to your life."
Kevin is keen to offer a recommendation for indoor planting.
"There are some great plants for indoor planting worth considering. Start your planting inside the apartment and create a connection to your balcony plants. Try planting some Acrea palms to give a soft tropical look to your room. They are one of the best oxygen producers for indoors also."
* For more information visit www.cityscapegardener.ie