Air Plant|Space Gardening

How to Grow Air Plants

Even though they are easy to care for, there are a few rules to follow when growing air plants:

  • Constant air circulation — as the name indicates — is paramount to keeping your plant happy.
  • Air plants need some moisture; from late spring to mid-autumn, mist daily. In winter, mist only once or twice a week.
  • Fertilize monthly in spring and summer using a low-nitrogen liquid fertilizer mixed at only one-quarter strength. In general, fertilize weakly.
  • Although they love warm weather, most air plants need protection from full sun. If it’s a type that grows naturally wild on trees, keep it in moist, partial shade. If it is a ground type, such as T. cyanea orT. lindenii, grow it indoors in bright, filtered light and outdoors in partial or dappled shade.
  • Don’t let an air plant sit somewhere that’s colder than 45 degrees; it will die at those temperatures. If you live in Zone 9 or warmer, you can grow an air plant outdoors all year if you keep it dry during the winter.

How to Use Air Plants

Air plants look great alone as architectural elements or in an air plants terrarium. Place varieties such asTillandsia aeranthos ‘Amethyst’, also called the rosy air plant, into a pot or against a container that will complement or contrast with its pink flower spike.

Play off the spikiness of the foliage by grouping three Tillandsia ionantha and add a tiny toucan, parasol, or other tropical touch.

Air plants that are naturally suited to growing in trees can be lashed against a protected wooden post using translucent fishing monofilament and a bit of sphagnum moss to add extra moisture. Tillandsia species also make fine companions on a planted branch with orchids since they like essentially the same conditions. Hanging air plants are a popular design element.

Here’s some ideas on how to display your air plant:

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I found this video very helpful and interesting. You can follow the link for clear instruction:

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Pond In Patio|Space Gardening

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Have you had your eye on an expensive water feature for your back yard patio? Water features are a great way to add visual interest to your back yard, and can help provide a calming oasis for you and your family to relax next to after a long day. Water features, however, don’t have to be expensive or labor intensive. With a few items from your local home improvement store, you can make a patio container pond in less than an hour.

mini-ponds-patio-tableThings you will need:

  • Any tublike container
  • Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) flexible liner in 20 mil thickness
  • Dechlorinator (available at any aquatic store)
  • Large stone or glass objects to add character
  • Water plants
  • Water creatures

 

Instructions:

1.  Go to your local home improvement store or pond supply and purchase a small pump and spray head to take it with you when you choose your pots. Examine your pump and spray head to see if you will need  glue to keep them together.

2.  Choose a large pot (with no holes in the bottom) for the exterior of your pond. You can use a large plastic container, but clay pots are beautiful and makes a big difference in the overall look of your pond.

3.  Choose a second, smaller pot that fits upside down in the bottom of the large pot.  This will be where you set the pump.  You want the pump under water, with the sprayer above the surface of the water.

4.  In the garden section, choose several inexpensive water plants. We chose several that were only a couple of dollars each. One has a purple flower on it, and another one looks like a miniature head of lettuce.

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*Goldfish are fun to add to container ponds.  You can buy them at pond supply stores, but they are cheaper at your local pet store. We bought some “feeder” fish for .15 each.Be sure to pick up some food while you’re there.

5.  To assemble the pond, place your large pot on your patio somewhere near an electrical outlet so you can plug it in. Next place the smaller pot upside down in the center of the large pot.

6.  Attach your sprayer to the pump. If necessary, seal them together with glue. Place the pump upright on top of the small pot.

7.  Fill the large pot with water. We filled ours about 3/4 full. You just want the pump to be underwater and the sprayer to be above the surface of the water.

8.  Arrange your plants in the water, and plug in the pump to make sure everything is working correctly.

*If you chose to add fish, float them in the bags for at least a few hours to acclimate them to the new temperature and allow the sprayer to eliminate any chlorine from the water.  Last but not least, open the bags and add your fish.

Here’s a video link  you can follow to learn the basics of patio pond.

That’s it, enjoy your work of art!

Trees For Small Space|Space Gardening

20 Trees for the Small Gardens

Native Trees

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Strawberry tree (Arbutus unedo) – Slow growing evergreen with shredding brown bark and dark green, leathery leaves. Clusters of pinkish white, pitcher-shaped flowers and red strawberry-like fruits are borne together in late autumn and winter. Height 5m.

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Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) – Although inconspicuous for much of the year, this small tree is very showy in autumn and early winter when the leaves turn blazing scarlet and masses of rose-red capsules split open to reveal orange seeds. Height 4m.

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Silver Birch (Betula pendula) – Distinctive silvery-white, peeling bark that becomes marked with black, rugged cracks as it gets older. In spring, yellow-brown male catkins appear and in late autumn the diamond-shaped, bright green foliage turns yellow before falling. Height 12m. Betula pendula ‘Youngii’ is a weeping form that develops a mushroom-headed habit with branches reaching to the ground.

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Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia) – Choose the fastigiate form. Leaves turn deep, fiery red and yellow in autumn. Sprays of white flowers cover the tree in late spring, followed by bunches of red berries in autumn. Height 8m.

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Yew (Taxas baccata) – Choose the columnar or fastigiate form. Slow growing coniferous tree forming a dense, compact column. Height 3m.

Ornamental Trees

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Snowy mespilus (Amelanchier lamarckii) – Stunning white, starry flowers in springtime followed by edible, purple black fruits. Leaves turn from bronze in spring to green in summer to brilliant red and orange during autumn. Height 8m.

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Ornamental sycamore (Acer pseudoplatanus ‘Brilliantissimum’) – Leaves open salmon-pink in spring turning yellow-green by summer. Clusters of yellow-green spring flowers. The tree has a lolly-pop, spreading form. Height 8m.

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Crab (Malus ‘Evereste’) – White flowers in late April are followed in autumn by orange-yellow fruits. The fruits are ­inedible but will nourish local birdlife. Height 7m.

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Paperbark maple (Acer griseum) – Cinnamon-coloured bark flakes and peels to reveal orange colouring underneath. Brilliant red and orange autumn colour. Height 6m.

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Himalayan birch (Betula utilis ‘Jacquemontii’) – Trunk and branches are a luminous white. Glossy dark green leaves turn yellow in autumn and yellow-brown male catkins appear in early spring. Height 12m.

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Weeping pear (Pyrus salicifolia ‘Pendula’) – Very elegant tree which forms a dense mound of weeping branches. These are clothed with downy, silvery grey, willow-like leaves. White flowers in April followed by small brown fruits in autumn. Height 7m.

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Red-flowered hawthorn (Crataegus laevigata ‘Paul’s Scarlet’) – A thorny tree bearing clusters of dark pink, double flowers in May and June followed by small red (inedible) fruits in autumn. Height 8m.

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Japanese flowering cherry (Prunus ‘Amanogawa’) – A narrow, upright tree ideal for restricted spaces. Young leaves are bronze-green, turning green in summer. The large semi-double, soft pink flowers, which are slightly fragrant, are borne in dense clusters in April or May. Height 8m.

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Snake-bark maple (Acer pensylvanicum) – Trunk and branches streaked green and white and brilliant yellow autumn leaves. Height 6m.

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Kashmir rowan () – Many fingered, green leaves turn russet and gold in autumn. In late spring, the tree is covered in clusters of pink or white flowers, followed by large white berries which last well in to winter. Height 6m.

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Purple-leaved plum (Prunus cerasifera ‘Nigra’) – Dark red foliage changing to deep purple on purple stems, contrasting dramatically with masses of pink flowers in March and April. Height 10m.

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Laburnum (Laburnum x watereri ‘Vossii’) – Masses of long, pendulous, lightly scented clusters of yellow flowers up to 30cm long smother the tree in late spring. Note – all plant parts are poisonous if ingested. Height 8m.

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Kilmarnock willow (Salix caprea ‘Pendula’) – A dwarf growing, dense-crowned, weeping willow with stiff, pendulous branches. Grey and yellow catkins are borne in spring. Height 2-3m

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Crab (Malus ‘Royalty’) – Large deep pink flowers in spring followed by exceptionally bright red-purple fruits in autumn. Glistening, rich purple leaves. Height 6m.

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Japanese maple (Acer palmatum ‘Osakasuki’) – Grown mainly for its spectacular autumn color, this is perhaps one of the best of all the maples. It has an open habit, and its large, seven-lobed, bright green leaves turn brilliant scarlet in autumn and last for several weeks. Height 6m.

Bonsai Styles|Space Gardening

The Bonsai styles

 

Hokidachi (broom) Bonsai style  

Broom style Bonsai

Hokidachi
The broom style is suited for deciduous trees with extensive, fine branching. The trunk is straight and upright and does not continue to the top of the tree; it branches out in all directions at about 1/3 the height of the tree. The branches and leaves form a ball-shaped crown which is also a stunning sight during winter months.

 

 

Chokkan (formal upright) Bonsai style

 

Formal upright Bonsai style

Chokkan
The formal upright style is a very common form of Bonsai. This style often occurs in nature, especially when the tree is exposed to lots of light and does not face the problem of competing trees. For this style, tapering of the upright-growing trunk must be clearly visible. The trunk must therefore be thicker at the bottom and must grow increasingly thinner with the height. At about 1/4 of the total length of the trunk, branching should begin. The top of the tree should be formed by a single branch; the trunk should not span the entire height of the tree.

 

 

Moyogi (informal upright) Bonsai style

 

 

 

Informal upright Bonsai style

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The informal upright style is common in both nature and in the art of Bonsai. The trunk grows upright roughly in the shape of a letter ‘S’ and at every turn branching occurs. Tapering of the trunk must be clearly visible, with the base of the trunk thicker than the higher portion

 

 

Shakkan (leaning or slanting) Bonsai style

 

Slanting Bonsai style

Shakkan
As a result of the wind blowing in one dominant direction or when a tree grows in the shadow and must bend toward the sun, the tree will lean in one direction. With Bonsai, the leaning style should grow at an angle of about 60 – 80 degrees relative to the ground. The roots are well developed on one side to keep the tree standing. On the side toward which the tree is leaning, the roots are clearly not as well developed. The first branch grows opposite the direction of the tree, in order to create a sense of visual balance. The trunk can be slightly bent or completely straight, but still be thicker at the bottom than at the top.

 

 

Kengai (cascade) Bonsai style

 

 

Cascade Bonsai style

Kengai
A tree living in nature on a steep cliff can bend downward as a result of several factors, like snow or falling rocks. These factors cause the tree to grow downwards. With Bonsai it can be difficult to maintain a downward-growing tree because the direction of growth opposes the tree’s natural tendency to grow upright. Cascade Bonsai are planted in tall pots. The tree should grow upright for a small stretch but then bend downward. The crown of the tree usually grows above the rim of the pot, but the subsequent branches alternate left and right on the outermost curves of an S-shaped trunk. These branchings should grow out horizontally in order to maintain balance of the tree.

 

 

Han Kengai (semi cascade) Bonsai style

 

Semi cascade Bonsai style

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The semi-cascade style, just like the cascade style, is found in nature on cliffs and on the banks of rivers and lakes. The trunk grows upright for a small distance and then bends downwards/sidewards. Unlike the cascade style, the semi-cascade trunk will never grow below the bottom of the pot. The crown is usually above the rim of the pot while subsequent branching occurs below the rim.

 

 

Bunjingi (literati) Bonsai style

 

 

Literati Bonsai style

Bunjingi
In nature this style of tree is found in areas densely populated by many other trees and competition is so fierce that the tree can only survive by growing taller then all others around it. The trunk grows crookedly upward and is completely without branching because the sun only hits the top of the tree. To make sure that it looks even tougher, some branches are “Jinned” (without bark). When the bark has been removed from one side of the trunk, the trunk is referred to as a “Shari”. The idea is to demonstrate that the tree has to struggle to survive. These trees are often placed in small, round pots.

 

 

 

Fukinagashi (windswept) Bonsai style

 

 

 

 

Windswept Bonsai style

Fukinagashi
The windswept style also is a good example of trees that must struggle to survive. The branches as well as the trunk grow to one side as if the wind has been blowing the tree constantly in one direction. The branches grow out on all sides of the trunk but will all eventually be bent to one side.

 

 

Sokan (double trunk) Bonsai style

 

Double trunk style Bonsai

Sokan
The double trunk style is common in nature, but is not actually that common in the art of Bonsai. Usually both trunks will grow out of one root system, but it is also possible that the smaller trunk grows out of the larger trunk just above the ground. The two trunks will vary in both thickness and length, the thicker and more developed trunk grows nearly upright, while the smaller trunk will grow out a bit slanted. Both trunks will contribute to a single crown of leaves/canopy.

 

Kabudachi (multi trunk) Bonsai style

 

 

Multitrunk Bonsai style

Kabudachi
In theory the multi trunk style is the same as the double trunk style, but with 3 or more trunks. All trunks grow out of a single root system, and it truly is one single tree. All the trunks form one crown of leaves, in which the thickest and most developed trunk forms the top.

Yose Ue (forest or group planting) Bonsai style  

Forest Bonsai style

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The forest style looks a lot like the multi-trunk style, but the difference is that it is comprised of several trees rather than one tree with several trunks. The most developed trees are planted in the middle of a large and shallow pot. On the sides a few smaller trees are planted to contribute to one single crown. The trees are planted not in a straight line but in a staggered pattern, because this way the forest will appear more realistic and natural.

 

 

seki Joju (rock planting) Bonsai style

 

Growing on a rock Bonsai style

Seki-joju
On rocky terrain, trees are forced to search for nutrient rich soil with their roots, which can often be found in cracks and holes. The roots are unprotected before they reach the ground so they must protect themselves from the sun: a special bark grows around them. With Bonsai the roots grow over a rock into the pot, so caring for this tree isn’t really different from caring for any other style. You will find Juniper bonsai are suitable for this style, but also the Bonsai ficus.

 

 

 

Ishisuki (growing on rock) Bonsai style

 

 

 

 

Growing in a rock Bonsai style

Ishisuki
In this style the roots of the tree are growing in the cracks and holes of the rock. This means that there is not much room for the roots to develop and absorb nutrients. Trees growing in rocks will never look really healthy, thus it should be visible that the tree has to struggle to survive. It is important to fertilize and water often, because there is not much space available to store water and nutrients. The rock in which the Bonsai grows is often placed in a shallow pot, which is sometimes filled with water or fine gravel.

 

Ikadabuki (raft) Bonsai style

 

Raft Bonsai style

Ikadabuki
Sometimes a cracked tree can survive by pointing its branches upward. The old root system can provide the branches with enough nutrients to survive. After a while new roots will start growing, eventually taking over the function of the old root system. The old branches which now point into the air develop into trunks with multiple branchings as a result of the increased influx of nutrients. These new trunks contribute to one single canopy.

 

 

Sharimiki (deadwood) Bonsai style

 

 

Shari Bonsai style

Sharimiki
As time passes, some trees develop bald or barkless places on their trunks as a result of harsh weather conditions. The bald part usually begins at the place where the roots emerge from the ground, and grows increasingly thinner as it continues up the trunk. Intense sunlight will bleach these parts, forming a very characteristic part of the tree. With Bonsai the bark is removed with a sharp knife and the barkless spot is treated with calcium sulfate in order to speed up the bleaching process.

Succulent Plant Container|Space Gardening

Growing succulent plants in a container garden is easy and immensely satisfying. Succulent plants come in an amazing array of colors and leaf textures and combining them is fun and interesting. Colors and textures that you wouldn’t think would go together can be put into a beautiful arrangement. Perhaps more than with any other container garden, when using succulent plants, pot choice is key. Because the roots of succulent plants are relatively shallow, a bowl or dish can look great.Just make sure that your pot has good drainage, or that you can put holes in it.

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There are hundreds, if not thousands of succulent plants to choose from and many have varying light and care requirements. It’s best to check the plant tag for specifics and make sure that plants in the same pot have the similar needs. That said, contrary to popular belief, most succulents do best if they are in the direct sun for only a few hours a day. Many need protection from getting scorched in the mid-day sun, but almost all need some bright, indirect light. Succulents can actually suffer from sunburn, so be careful when you first buy them to give them an adjustment period, where they can get acclimatized, also called“hardening off.”

 

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What you need:

  • Succulent plants – enough to fill your pot
  • Plastic window screening, paper towel, a coffee filter or a piece of newspaper
  • Cactus or succulent potting soil (or you can make your own by mixing potting soil with vermiculite, perlite or pumice)
  • Container with good drainage
  • Stones, gravel, sea glass or marbles for top dressing
  • Bright Sunlight

When choosing a container for succulent plants, make sure not to use one that is too big.Succulents have a shallow root system and prefer shallow pots.

 

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Drainage for succulent:

Cut a piece of plastic window screening into a big enough piece to amply cover your pot’s drainage hole or holes. This will keep your potting soil in and let the water out. If you don’t have window screening, use newspaper, paper towel, or a coffee filter to cover the hole. If your pot is big enough, you can also use a product called, Better Than Rocks, which will cover the drainage hole and can help aerate your succulent plants’ roots.

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Soil for succulent pots:

Add enough soil to the bottom of your pot so that the top of your succulent plants will sit below the rim of your pot. If there’s enough room try to leave one half to an inch of space between the top of the soil and the rim of your pot. This makes it easier to water without soil and water overflowing the sides of your container.

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Removing succulent plants:

Carefully remove your succulent plants from their pots. When doing this, don’t just grab the plant and pull. Gently thread your fingers through the plant and turn it on its side. If it’s stuck, just tap the container on the sides and bottom until your plant slides out. Or course, if you’re dealing with something spiny, wear thick gloves before you attempt handling.

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Designing succulent container:

First, I place my plants, still in their nursery pots, into my container to get a general idea of the container design and where I want them to go. I move the plants around, still in their pots, until I’m satisfied with the arrangement. I do this while they are still in their pots to protect the fragile root systems. I then take all of the plants out of their pots and place the plants in the container.

Once you are satisfied with the way your arrangement looks, you’ll then want to take your succulent potting soil and pack it gently around and in between your plants. As you do this, be careful to keep the soil at the level the plant was in its nursery pot. You don’t want the new soil to touch the crown (the part of the plant that meets the soil) of your succulent plant.Make certain that you have filled in all the holes and spaces, between the plants and also between the plants and the sides of the container. If you don’t, the roots will dry out, which can be lethal to your succulent plant.

 

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Cleaning and brushing succulent container garden:

Unless you are incredibly neat and tidy when adding your soil, it will get all over your plants, which, given all the nooks and crannies of succulents, can be particularly be difficult to clean off. Using a soft brush to gently sweep excess soil off can make the process much easier. I also blow gently on the plants to remove dirt that even the brush can’t get to.

 

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Taking care of succulent container:

After you’ve finished planting your container garden and cleaning it off, you will often have soil showing in between your succulent plants.To give your pot a finished look, choose a topdressing to cover the soil. Topdressing is a step that people often overlook, and it’s a step that can take your pot from looking blah to amazing.

You can use almost anything for a topdressing that isn’t porous and won’t mix with your potting soil. Gravel, sea glass, marbles, or river rocks are common choices. Choose a colored or neutral material, depending on the look you want to achieve. Sometimes using a contrasting colored material for a topdressing can add zing to a pot. A more subtle topdressing can add elegance. The right topdressing can also tie all the elements in your pot together or it can make plants stand out.

For this succulent container garden, I used black river stones. You can only see them in a few places, but I wanted something that would be subtle, given all the colors and textures I already had going on.

To care for your succulent container garden, during spring and summer – its growing season – keep the soil moist, not wet. It’s better to let the soil get a little dry between watering than to over-water. During the winter, when plants are dormant, water much less frequently, keeping the soil on the dry side, but not letting it dry out entirely. Depending on the succulent plant, fertilize during the growing season with a diluted liquid fertilizer.

Container Garden-“Thriller,Filler & Spiller” Concept|Space Gardening

When it comes to container gardening, you don’t have to be a professional garden designer to get professional quality results. In fact, you can have picture-perfect custom containers no matter what your experience level.

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For container gardening and patio containers, one common way to start designing is to use the “Thriller, Filler, Spiller” concept. This design technique utilizes three different types of plants to create well-rounded and upscale looking containers.

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Thriller

The Thriller is the show-stopping centerpiece of your container design. It adds height, drama, and movement. Thrillers can be flowers, ornamentals or even grasses, just as long as they are the focal point of your container garden arrangement.

If your container will be visible from all sides, place the Thriller in the center of your container for maximum impact. If your container will only be visible from one or more sides, place the Thriller toward the back of the container.

Some of our favorites include: Angelface Angelonia, Butterfly Argyranthemum, Graceful Grasses and Ornamental Grasses.

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Filler

The Filler does exactly what its name implies – fills the space. It adds medium-height structure and color.

If your container will be visible from all sides, place Filler plants around the Thriller, keeping them toward the middle of your container. If your container will only be visible from one or more sides, place Fillers between the Thriller and the visible sides.

We love: Superbells Calibrachoa, Supertunia Petunia, Superbena Verbena and Diamond Frost Euphorbia.

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Spiller

The Spiller is a trailing plant that will drape over the edge of the container. It adds low-growing dimension and softens the edges of your container garden design.

Place Spiller plants around the outer edges of the container on all visible sides.

Great spillers include: Snowstorm Giant Snowflake Bacopa, Snow Princess Lobularia, and Sweet Caroline Ipomoea (Sweet Potato).

You can follow this video link to get a clear idea on the thriller, filler and spiller design technique.

Here’s some more container gardening ideas following the design technique “Thriller, Filler & Spiller” concept.

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Small Space Garden|Space Gardening

Those who have small yard or live in an apartment can afford to make their own small garden. Small gardens need to be planned with as much, if not more, care than large ones, so take your time. Think about how you want to use your garden throughout the year; note where the sun falls during the day as this will dictate your seating and plant choices. In this article, I am going to share with you some ideas on small space garden.

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1. Vertical Garden:A shoe organizer is a great way to build a vertical garden. Not only does this garden look great and save space, it helps to keep those critters and pets out of your herbs and vegetables. You just have to fill each of the shoe spaces with potting soil or compost and then add your plants. Be sure that you choose a place for your hanger that gets enough sunlight for the plants and if there is protection overhead from rain, you will need to water them occasionally as well.

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2. Hanging Gutter Garden:Old guttering can be used to create a beautiful hanging garden. The amount of guttering that you will need depends on the size of the garden you want to plant. Gutter gardens allow you to take advantage of the vertical space around your yard so even if you don’t have much of a lawn, you can still grow flowers, herbs and vegetables. Just remember to choose a spot that gets a few hours of direct sunlight each day. Gutter gardens also provide a bit of a natural privacy fence or divider for your garden area.

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3. Portable Container Garden: Container gardens are great because they are portable. If you need to move them, you can and without worrying about regrowing grass over your garden area. If you have a fence or deck, a colorful container garden is a great way to add a little beauty to the area and save space for your planting as well. Choose colorful bucket planters and simply hang them on your fencing or you could even hang them from windowsills and other areas around the home.

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4. Tiered Garden: Tiered gardens are great for small spaces. If you only have minimal space for flowers or veggies, you can create a great tiered garden from a few terra cotta planters. Once stacked, you can just plant whatever you want in the planters and you have space for as many plants as you want depending on how many planters you use. You could use the plastic planters if you want but the terra cotta ones are a bit sturdier and will hold up for much longer. This is a great garden idea for annuals, particularly if you want something colorful on the porch.

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5. Living Pallet Table: This pallet table is great and serves a dual purpose. Not only is it perfect for those outdoor get-togethers, it also serves as a planter. You just have to build the table and allow room in the center for your plants. If you are trying to decide between outdoor furniture and plants, you can just have both. The table is really easy to build and you can create a beautiful water garden in the center or fill it with soil and have small annual flowers or greenery growing there throughout the warmer months.