Greening dark & tiny spaces

Randall Towers shares a small, north-facing balcony. It gets some sun, but not excessive amounts. Usually I use it to isolate chilli plants for seed saving or to harden off the phalanxes of plants destined for the plot, which is very handy until the jackdaws start messing about.

This winter I realised what is probably blindingly obvious. I love cooking and grow herbs on the plot. The plot is over a mile away so I can’t pop out for herbs I’ve forgotten. And the balcony could look a lot nicer than it does. It’s cool and shady, and you can look across the Thames to ponies in the fields (ignoring the also prime view of a very busy road!).

So this year I’m taking on the Balcony Challenge. I want to have somewhere that is pretty, which is also stocked with herbs for us and my new neighbours (Big Dreams, Small Spaces has a lot to answer for!). This also means tackling my shamefully inadequate flower know-how.

balcony 1 balcony 2

So far I have:

Edibles: Rosemary, thyme, lavender, strawberries (on the sunniest corner), raspberries, wild garlic – and in the plan are chives, parsley, rocket, sage and possibly coriander

Flowers: Ranunculus (lots), trailing begonias, a variegated trailing green thing, an overwintered trailing fuchsia, and daffodils inherited from Kikki, which I really want to keep. Someone very kind is sending me some Creeping Jenny (sounds like a character from a horror film) and a bit of climbing white hydrangea. I’d like a non-thuggish climbing rose too, but otherwise mostly annuals so I can clear up & it doesn’t look tatty in winter.

Temporary & bulky residents (most of the raspberries, quince, redcurrant, blackberry & grapvine) will be relocated onto the allotment.

Is there anything else I could consider? Geraniums have been suggested, but I grew up with them lurking in our bathroom and can’t abide the stink of their leaves.

Categories: Diary 2016

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4 replies

  1. As its shady, what about a fern or two, and/or a couple of Hostas? They are good at filling out the background with bluish greenery, and add privacy at ground level. I had both in a narrow basement courtyard, north/east facing, and they loved it.


    • Thanks for the suggestions – I have been wondering about hostas, and then read that they turn into huge plants. It’s quite a narrow space & I was a bit worried it might crowd out other plants. I do like the thought of both the hostas and ferns though. *pootles off to garden centre*