Up-cycled Garden|Space Gardening

Birdcage Planter

Do you love succulents as much as we do? If so, odds are you will love this birdcage planter. This birdcage planter makes for an easy upcycle. With little more than succulents, a birdcage and soil you can add a splash of greenery to your home or garden. Find out how to make your own birdcage planter!

birdcage_planter_hero (1) copy

Succulents are awesome plants for upcycling as they require little water and can be planted almost anywhere! Pallets, corks and bricks are just some of the succulent-based upcycles we’ve showcased. A few weeks ago we featured a birdcage planter on our Facebook page and the crowd went wild! Happy to please our upcyclers, we immediately went on the hunt for a birdcage to repurpose. We found this turquoise gem at our local flea market. It was looking a little worse for the wear with some loose metal rods. Nonetheless, we thought it would make for a spectacular birdcage planter. So we took it home and got cracking!

How to make a birdcage planter

Once you’ve found your birdcage, give it a good soapy wash with disinfectant. Next determine if you need to give any additional TLC by reinforcing any loose metal rods etc. Once sorted assemble your succulents for use. One of the best things about succulents is that they grow easily from cuttings. If you’re lucky enough to have some big succulent plants in your garden, go ahead and cut some clippings to work with. Otherwise you can pick up some plants from your local nursery.

birdcage planter

The next thing we did was affix our birdcage base to the metal top. We thought of numerous possibilities for this and settled upon the simple solution of plastic zip ties. Our plastic base had a couple slits on each side so it was easy to slip the zip ties in and secure through the metal rods. If your base doesn’t have any slits you might have to create some or come up with an alternative method of affixing it. We attached one side first so that we were able to plant comfortably.

birdcage planter

We then filled the base of our birdcage planter with soil. Because there was an open slot on one side of the plastic base we reinforced the area with a bit of landscaping fabric. This allowed our soil to stay contained. We then started filling our birdcage planter with succulents.

birdcage planter

Once the inside of our planter was filled we closed it up. We then secured the second side of the birdcage planter with plastic zip ties. Now working from the outside in, we started adding some accent succulents to the outer sides of the planter.

birdcage planter

Satisfied our birdcage planter was complete we hung it up using a ceiling hook.

birdcage_planterUT2 copy


Different Styles Of Japanese Garden|Space Gardening

You have made a good choice if you want to have a Japanese garden. Japanese gardening has been quite popular for the last few years and it is well known for the peacefulness and calmness that it can offer. In this gardening tips blog post, we are going to look at various styles of Japanese garden which you can incorporate into your current garden design.

Although there are different styles for Japanese gardens, your creativity and innovation will always come into play as you are free to combine or innovate some of the styles. Adding creativity into planning and setting up a garden always helps you to have your own unique garden that others will admire.

Japanese Garden Style 1: Zen Garden

Boulders of various sizes, gravel, sand and rocks are some of the elements that form a Zen garden. The plant that they use for this type of garden are normally small trees or shrubs. Zen gardens are designed to be dry. Boulders represent islands and the sand and gravel are drawn with some patterns on them to represent water.


Originated from Buddhist monks, Zen gardens aim to provide the space for meditation as well as contemplation. If you are interested in some form of self healing arts such as yoga, a Zen garden is definitely the type of garden that you should have.

Japanese Garden Style 2: Tea Garden

Tea garden is the most important chapter in explaining Japanese gardening. Tea garden is normally being integrated within a Japanese garden because it would be odd to have a garden with just tea plants. There should be an outer garden and an inner garden when designing a Japanese tea garden.


The outer garden will have a low gate with a path that leads to the inner garden. Plants in the outer garden are less formal as well. Tea ceremony is normally held between the gardens where a basin called tsubakai is found. Non flowering plants are normally used for tea gardens. In traditional Japanese environment, people will also have a building within the inner garden for tea ceremony purposes.

Japanese Garden Style 3: Island and Pond Garden

There are two types of pond garden. One will cover a large landscape with a pond that is big enough to fit in a boat. Bridges are sometimes incorporated into these gardens and bushes are planted on small islands created for the garden. The elements that can be included in such gardens are rocks, logs, lilies and other water living plants.


Another type of pond garden will be the ordinary concept of designing a pond for your garden. Japanese style pond gardens often have features such as miniature buildings and bonsai trees around the pond. You can always start rearing Japanese Koi fish in the pond to add in more Japanese flavor to your garden.

Japanese Garden Style 4: Stroll Garden

A stroll garden simply means a garden that offers various paths where visitors can enjoy their time strolling though the garden.


The practicability of this type of garden is extremely low as you are required to have a large yard in order to create an impressive stroll garden with a wide array of features.

Japanese Garden Style 5: Courtyard Garden

If you already have an existing garden where you would like to have some Japanese style, you can consider a courtyard garden. A courtyard garden is also suitable for those who have a small land for gardening activities. Bricks or fences are used to draw a border between a courtyard garden and the rest of the landscape.


Keeping things simple is a golden rule of designing a courtyard garden. It often consists of a dry stream, miniature plants such as perennial plants and of course, small water features. A courtyard garden is simply an eye candy when seen from your house.

Growing Bamboo In Container|Space Gardening

terrace bamboo

Bamboo In Containers

Bamboo grown in beautiful ornamental pots or containers can look quite stunning. The combination of sizes, textures, colours and shapes to go with your bamboo is limitless. Growing in pots gives flexibility in manoeuvring in the garden, patio or balcony. Because the pot itself is a barrier, there is no need to be concerned of bamboo taking over the garden. Because bamboo achieves tall heights in small growing spaces, it is very ideal for those balconies/patios with tight spaces.

Most species of bamboo can be grown in pots or containers. However, care and maintenance can potentially be more involved depending on the species and pot sizes chosen.

As with any plant (not just bamboo), they all eventually outgrow their pots and their roots become ‘root bound’. For bamboo, some species grow much more vigoriously than others and therefore will get root bound much quicker. If bamboo remains root bound for too long, it will suffer as there are no more nutrients for the roots to seek out. Leaves do not grow as green or dense. New shoots do not emerge as often and the new culms do not grow as thick or tall. For this reason, bamboo will need to either be re-potted or divided.

Choosing a Bamboo For Your Container

Choosing a bamboo for your container is quite similar to choosing a bamboo for your garden. You will need to know the amount of sunlight or shade your desired location will get. Most importantly, choose a bamboo that is cold hardy enough for your location. Is the bamboo for a privacy screen? If so, how tall or dense? The Bamboo Species section will list the hardiness, light tolerance and growth characteristics.

Running Bamboos will generally give the best height (if that is the objective). Because they are running bamboos, their roots are much more vigorous growing and will get root bound much sooner.

Clumping Bamboos do not grow as aggressively and therefore will generally last much longer in pots before they get root bound and need repotting. Generally, most clumping Bamboos will not achieve the heights that a running bamboo would in a similar sized container.

Root bound bamboo removed from pot

Repotting Bamboo

When a containerized bamboo gets root bound, it will either need to be re-potted into a bigger container or it can be divided and replenished with fresh new soil. If dividing, the best time is either in Fall or Winter. Disturbing the root balls during the active growing seasons (Spring and Summer) may potentially destroy the bamboo. Re-potting into a larger pot can be done anytime of the year. Care needs to be taken to not disturb the root ball if this is done during the Spring or Summer months.

Dividing and repotting bamboo may sound discouraging to some, but it is a fairly simple task and only needs to be done every 3 – 5 years (depending on species and size of pot). One has to trim trees, branches and mow the lawn on a regular basis. So if you compare this to repotting bamboo once every few years, it is not much more effort in the bigger picture.

Winter Protection For Potted Bamboo (for extreme cold areas)

Although most potted bamboos will survive a typical winter here in the Pacific Northwest, precautions should be taken during extreme freezes.

As with most potted plants, bamboo in containers are much more susceptible to cold temperatures. Because potted bamboo is not in the ground, it does not get the benefit of a natural water supply in the moist winter soil. It also does not have the insulation effect of the soil surrounding the roots during winter. The root system in a pot is very vulnerable to freezing. In areas of extreme cold, wrapping the pot in insulating material such as burlap or moving it indoors is recommended. A regular watering routine will help make sure the roots receive enough water throughout the winter. Mulching will also help prevent freezing to the root ball. See Mulching Bamboo.

Potted Black Bamboo

Potted Bamboo During Hot Temperatures

Bamboo grown in containers are also sensitive to hot temperatures and strong winds. Hot temperatures and winds evaporate moisture quicker. Potted bamboo does not have the benefit of moisture deeper in the soil to maintain a water supply during extreme heat. During summertime, potted bamboos need watering every other day and more often during extreme heat periods.

Bamboo Growth In Pots

The size of the root ball is directly related to the size of the bamboo. The bigger the root ball, the bigger the bamboo. The smaller the root ball, the smaller the bamboo. Because the growing area in pots is limited, the growth potential of bamboo is also limited. This translates to much shorter bamboos with thinner canes when grown in pots. Bamboo grown in pots will never reach the sizes of the same species grown in the ground. If tall and thick canes is the objective, then getting the biggest possible pot will give the best potential for size.

Pots For Bamboo

When choosing a pot for bamboo, always choose something that is low profile or squats lower to the ground. Ideally, the pot should be wider than it is deep. Because bamboo is a tall plant, it is easier for wind to tip it over in a taller or light pot. Putting gravel or rocks at the bottom of a pot will make it bottom heavy and will less likely be blown over.


Bamboo For Privacy

Bamboo is the perfect choice for a fast growing hedge as they are very dense and bushy. Many people think that bamboo hedges are hard to maintain. The bamboos that we use for hedging are all non-invasive clumping type. This means that your screening does not spread out under ground but stays growing in the same spot, so your hedge does not affect the neighbors or the rest of your yard but keeps you private. These Non-invasive clumping bamboo hedges come in all size and can be grown to suit your situation. Bamboo Gracilis is the most popular garden/fence screening or hedging plant. The right Bamboos in large pots is a good mobile screen for you deck or around your swimming pool, move them to where you need them. Bambusa ventricosa Budda Belly,Bambusa ventricosa Kimie yellow Buddy Belly and Bambusa vulgaris wamin Buddy Belly are the best Bamboos to grow in pots. Other species will also grow in pots, but will need a lot of care.

Indoor Crocus Bulb|Space Gardening


Crocus flowers are among the first to herald spring, sometimes popping their bright blooms through the snow. Fortunately, we don’t have to wait till spring to enjoy these glorious flowers. Growing crocus indoors is easy to do by forcing them into bloom mid-winter. Start the process in fall — October is an ideal time. A crocus bulb is actually a corm. Corms produce beautiful cup-shaped blooms in purple, lavender, white or yellow — plain or striped — each with a bright orange stigma. All have slender, upright leaves that are green and white striped.


Crocuses need a cold treatment for 12 weeks to bloom. If you bought pre-chilled corms, you can skip this step.

  1. Choose a shallow pot (at least 3 in/7 cm deep) with drainage holes in the bottom. Fill the pot loosely with potting mix. Set several corms side by side — close but not touching — pointed end up. Set corms so that their tips are even with pot rim. Do not press the corms into the mix. It should be loose so the roots can grow through it easily. Cover with additional potting mix until just barely covered.
  2. Water thoroughly and discard drainage.
  3. Move pot to a dark, cool, but not freezing, (40°F/4°C) location such as a basement, unheated garage or refrigerator. Avoid storing corms near ripening fruit or vegetables which give off ethylene gas which can damage the corms. Keep them in cold storage for about 12 weeks. Keep the medium barely moist.
  4. When shoots reach about 2 in (5 cm) tall, bring the pot out of cold storage and place it in a slightly warmer (50°F/10°C) location with low light intensity. Over the next few days, gradually move it toward a sunny window. Turn the pot every day for even growth. When in full bloom, keep crocuses in a bright location out of direct sun to prolong the bloom.

Crocus Care Tips

crocus, crocus bulbs, crocus flowersOrigin: Hybrids with corms originating from Europe, North Africa and Asia

Height: Up to 8 in (20 cm)

Light: Keep in a dark location during cold treatment. Cover pot with a box, pot or black garbage bag if necessary. After shoots appear, move to bright light with some direct sun as directed above.

Water: Water sparingly until growth appears, then water enough to keep soil evenly moist. Flowering plants are thirsty, so check them often.

Humidity: Average room humidity.

Temperature: Cool to average (40-60°F/6-16°C)

Soil: Any good potting mix.

Fertilizer: Feed monthly with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted by half from planting until start of blooming. Do not fertilize while plants are in bloom.

Propagation: Corms will not bloom a second time indoors. They do produce offsets, but they take a few years to mature. If you want to keep them, allow the foliage to die back naturally, then store them in a cool, dry place. Plant the corms in your flower garden in the fall and let Mother Nature take care of them. They’ll bloom when they’re ready.


Types Of Ferns To Grow Indoor|Space Gardening

crocodile fern

Crocodile Fern

1. Crocodile Fern:

We love this fern’s interesting texture. The bright green fronds have a decidedly reptilian look and it’s not tough to see where the common name comes from. It makes a bold statement: At maturity, each frond can reach 3 feet long.

Name: Microsorium musifolium ‘Crocodyllus’
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 4 feet tall and wide


Lemon Button Fern

2. Lemon Button Fern:

Lemon button fern produces cute, golden-green fronds with rounded edges (that give it the buttonlike appearance). It’s an easy-to-grow fern that fits in well with a lot of decorating styles.

Name: Nephrolepis cordifolia ‘Lemon Button’

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: To 3 feet tall and 4 feet wide

maidenhair fern

Maidenhair Fern

3. Maidenhair Fern:

Among the most loved ferns, maidenhairs offer fine-textured fronds on black stalks. The arching fronds emerge light green and darken a bit as they age.

Name: Adiantum raddianum ‘Fritz Luth’

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

rabit's foot fern

Rabit’s Foot Fern

4. Rabbit’s-Foot Fern:

This slow-growing fern offers dark green, fine textured fronds and fuzzy stems that creep down over the pot or along the soil. These stems are what gives the fern its delightful common name.

Name: Humata tyermanii
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

staghorn fern

Staghorn Fern

5. Staghorn Fern:

Among the most spectacular of ferns, stag horns don’t need to be grown in soil so you often see them mounted and grown on walls or posts. They offer deep green, antler like fronds that definitely make a statement in your home’s decorating scheme.

Name: Platycerium bifurcatum

Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity

Size: To 6 feet tall and wide


Birds Nest Fern

6. Bird’s Nest Fern:

Another of our favorites, bird’s nest fern is a slow-growing plant with bright green fronds that radiate from the center of the plant, creating a vase or bird’s nest shape. It’s versatile and easy to grow.

Name: Asplenium nidus
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 5 feet tall and wide (but usually 1-2 feet indoors)

silver brake fern

Silver Brake Fern

7. Silver Brake Fern:

Create a distinctive look in your home with this fern. The crested fronds are almost spidery and bear a bright silvery stripe down the center.

Name: Pteris cretica ‘Mayi’
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 2 feet tall and wide

kangaroo paw

Kangaroo Paw Fern

8. Kangaroo Paw Fern:

This interesting fern offers shiny, dark green fronds in an unkempt mound reminiscent of Medusa’s hair. Like rabbit’s-foot fern, it bears creeping stems that may grow down the side of its container!

Name: Microsorium diversifolium
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 2 feet tall and wide


Boston Fern

9. Boston Fern:

The most common indoor fern, Boston ferns are long-lived plants that can reach more than 5 feet tall and wide at maturity (though indoors they rarely reach that size). Fern breeders have released a large number of varieties — from selections with golden fronds to fantastically frilled fronds. Shown here is ‘Fluffy Ruffles’.

Name: Nephrolepis exaltata ‘Fluffy Ruffles’
Growing Conditions: Medium to bright light and high humidity
Size: To 7 feet tall and wide (but usually 2-3 feet tall and wide indoors)

Smoke Bush|Space Gardening

Growing Smoke Trees In Your Garden


Have you ever seen a smoke tree (European, Cotinus coggygria/American, Cotinus obovatus)? Growing smoke trees is something people do to make great looking shrub borders or even just as a pretty patio or accent tree in a front yard garden. When in full bloom, they have gorgeous reddish brown or dark mauve feathery flowers that make the tree look like a puff of smoke.

Planting smoke trees is easy enough. These trees make a great landscaping addition to most front yards. A lot of people prefer to use them as accent trees similar to the Japanese maple. When the smoke tree blooms, it makes a great accent.

Planting smoke trees throughout the border of your yard is another excellent idea for a pretty border that separates your yard from your neighbor’s that both you and your neighbor will enjoy.

Tips for Growing Smoke Trees

If you are planting smoke trees in your yard, you will want to know how to grow a smoke tree. This is simple enough. Purchase a good tree from your local garden center. They grow well in a high pH soil and should be located where they can get full sun or partial shade; however, they do prefer full sun and will bloom at their best in full sun.

When the smoke tree blooms, it is a beautiful tree. The puff of smoke that is the flowers will last most of the summer before it starts to fall off and fade for fall foliage. Again, the smoke tree blooms are like feathery, fuzzy flowers and look like a beautiful cloud of smoke.

Growing smoke trees is easy but you should be careful not to damage the bark. The bark is thin and easily damaged. Therefore, be careful not to hit it with a lawnmower or other gardening equipment while gardening. Weed whackers can also do harm, so again, use caution.


Pruning a Smoke Tree

The plant will also droop as it gets larger, so pruning your growing smoke trees is very important. Wait until late fall or early spring to do so after the tree is done blooming. You don’t want to stop the tree from blooming as the smoke tree blooms are the best part of the tree.

Pruning your smoke tree will make sure it grows up strong. Further, keeping the soil alkaline should help your tree be healthy as well. You can get food for the tree or treatments for the soil if you feel you need them from your local garden center.


Sunflower House|Space Gardening



Building a sunflower house is an easy and rewarding project. The seeds of the giant varieties, when planted in a square or circle formation, create the perfect setting for a reading nook or gathering space!And don’t forget to leave a space for a door…


  • A packet of sunflower seeds – choose a tall variety like Mammoth or California Greystripe
  • Stakes
  • String or twine
  • A hoe
  • Compost for fertilizer

sunflower fort
Note: seeds should be planted after the last frost date in your area.

  1. In early spring, locate a suitable location with good soil, flat ground, and at least six to eight hours of direct sunlight during the growing season.
  2. Decide (with the help of your child) whether the sunflower house is going to be a square or a circle. Decide the shape of your sunflower house and decide how big you want it to be.
  3. Now that you have your site picked out and the shape chosen, stake off the agreed design in the chosen location.  Tie a string to one of the stakes and stretch it around the perimeter to designate the walls of the house – remember to leave an opening for the doorway, approximately two-feet wide.
  4. Remove any rocks, grass, and weeds from inside the perimeter – have your child help!  To make the “floor” of your house weed-free, place flattened layers of cardboard inside the marked area, then cover the cardboard with seedless straw or mulch.  Later you can plant a cover crop inside the house to form a comfortable “carpet”!  Using the string around the perimeter as your guide, use a hoe to clear the perimeter area.
  5. Use a trowel to dig a small hole, 1 inch deep, every foot along your market outline.  Have your child place two seeds in each hole, following the packet instructions.  Cover the seeds with loose soil.  If birds are a problem, cover the seeds with window screening secured with rocks while they are germinating.  Water seeds thoroughly.  When they sprout, remove the window screening.
  6. Fertilize the flower as they grow: you can use a blend of liquid kelp and fish emulsion.


  • Plant corn interspersed with the sunflowers.  This is a great example of companion planting!  The corn drives some varieties beetles away from the sunflowers, and the sunflowers in turn protect the corn from fall armyworms.  Choose any kind of corn you like, although multi-colored looks especially festive.
  • Plant a carpet of white clover inside the house to create a soft “carpet.”  Also consider planting some herbs like spearmint and chamomile inside and around the house to give off soothing aromas.
  • Alternate the tall sunflowers with a shorter variety so the children can better examine them