Growing flowers in small spaces

I’ve had notions of growing our own cut flowers for a while now but I was always waiting until I had a patch of ground. When the round-about of life stopped this year, we had just moved to an inner-city terrace house with limited growing space. Like many during this unsettling time, the need to grow only intensified. Suddenly container gardening was my new obsession.

With a looooooong lockdown through a Melbourne Winter, where kids learnt from home and my sanity needed saving – I hit the seed catalogues pretty hard.

With an eye on the warmer months, I ordered up my favourites and planned a little balcony garden. The plan – to have enough for harvesting while maintaining a beautiful balcony space… Possibly a little ambitious?

So growing flowers became the long term goal. Planting seeds – our daily project. We tried egg cartons, homemade newspaper pots and Chinese takeaway containers. Checking and watering them every day was an exercise in patience, which totally aligned with what 2020 was asking of us.

We tipped the toys out of their baskets and ordered bigger containers for when the seedlings were big enough.

And then one day, after many weeks of watching bare soil….. green shoots!!! You’d think Santa had arrived the way we carried on. I’m not sure who was more excited, me or the kids. Each day from there more green shoots, seedlings got stronger, days got longer and most have graduated to their bigger homes.

And now we water and watch and hope for blooms! It has been such a beautiful project to do with the kids (we don’t even have any flowers yet) and rather essential for my own well-being.

Obviously the goal here is for more flowers in the house. I don’t need to explain to you guys the effects of having flowers in the house but I’m sure you’d agree that they are a luxury item to buy. I’m sure we all wish we could fill every room, every week.

For urban dwellers, growing food in small spaces is hugely popular. We wondered could the same concept be applied to growing your own flowers in containers? (Of course, supplementing from your local florist will still be required, but your home grown blooms might allow you to do another room or two.)

As well as a supply of cut flowers, the benefits to be had from growing your own are many – a boost to mental health through a connection with nature and the many environmental benefits. The pandemic is already nudging this, but if more of us in city areas grew more – more flowers, vegetables, plants for shade and greenery – we could help reduce pollution, trap more carbon, help the urban insects currently struggling for shelter and reduce the heat island effect in cities .

I would call myself an eager and amateur gardener and have much to learn in terms of container gardening.. I’ll definitely be learning on the job and I’m sure innocent flowers may die or seeds will not germinate.

But so far, and especially during lockdown, getting our hands dirty and witnessing the magic of a seed has been a bit of a life saver for us all.

What are we growing?

Larkspurs
Sweet peas
Love in the mist
Corn flowers
Veronica
Zinnias
Queen Anne’s Lace
Snowball
Cosmos

Lavender

Hydrangeas (plant)
Roses (plant)
Clematis (plant
Dahlias (plant)

This is the sunny terrace / balcony before and now (late October 2020).

Seedlings have just been transplanted to the planter and children’s toy baskets out the back.

Fingers crossed the flowers do their thing ..!!

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