The Pink Button Tree

The Pink Button Tree: April 2013

Friday, 19 April 2013

Amsterdam :: Inspiring Urban Container Gardening

Last weekend we headed off to Amsterdam for a long weekend away. I fell in love with the city and felt really inspired while I was there. I loved the tulips, the elegant bikes with baskets, picturesque canals and bridges, and the simplicity of Dutch design seen in the little boutique shops and cafes. We spent lots of time soaking up the laid back city atmosphere over many coffees, pancakes and beers.

With many of the residents in Amsterdam's inner city living in apartments or houseboats, space for growing plants is at a premium. But the residents have made the most of all the space they have using practical and simple container gardening carried out in the smallest of urban spaces...

The city's canals were lined with simple square containers packed with tulips, brightening grey pathways and ensuring the urban dweller is greeted with floral treats as they walk the many canals...

A single pot of pansies provides a softening feature to a set of grey stone steps leading to a front door...

...a collection of plants balanced in a mixture of containers on the roof of houseboat, bring an urban garden close to the waters edge...

...a pot of cheerful daffodils sun themselves on a blue bench...

...and more daffodils in a simple terracotta pot on a wooden seat greets visitors with a bright mass of yellow contrasting against the black front door

An impressive collection of container plants are packed onto a street level space...

...and when you look up at the tall town houses there are pots of purple pansies with the best roof top views high above the city...

I hope that some of these pictures and ideas will inspire you to start container gardening, however little space you have at home. They certainly inspired me!

Today is the last day of National Gardening Week but tomorrow I'll bring you my final post of the week celebrating my new love of container gardening.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, 18 April 2013

Planting seeds for our edible garden

Over the past few weeks I've been planning what I would like to grow this summer in our courtyard garden. Our little space is quite a shady, we don't get a lot of direct sunshine so growing some plants can be a little hit and miss! There are a few spaces in our courtyard that get sunshine so I try and arrange pots and containers to make the most of the light. I'm planning to make more of the sunny spaces this summer and I'll keep you posted with my plans and how things are growing.

I bought a few packets of seeds to kick start growing things in our containers. I decided I wanted to start to create an edible garden with some variety to what we are growing. I'm having a go at growing lettuce leaves, radishes, spinach, spring onions, beetroot, courgettes and carrots from seed. I've also planted some nasturtium seeds too, so that we can use the flowers in salads. Our rocket planted last year is still growing but I think I'll sew some new rocket seeds soon to ensure we have some fresh leaves and the flavour of the leaves is not too bitter.

Following the instructions on the seed packets I've planted some of the seeds directly into newly dug soil within the containers we have. I've also sewn some seeds in seed trays and left them to grow in front of our window in the lounge, making the most of the warmth in our flat. I'm pleased to say that the radishes planted both inside and out are starting to sprout. The lettuce seeds are trying to grow too.

All the other seeds are lying dormant at the moment. I'm hoping the weather will continue to get warmer so that the seeds will start to make an appearance.

Over the next month or so I'm going to plant some chillies and some new herbs in our window box. I'll keep you updated on the progress of our edible garden. Let's hope the weather is better this summer and we get a better crop. I'm really looking forward to having home grown salad leaves and dressings made with herbs sourced a few steps away from our kitchen.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

April in our courtyard garden

I have a real love of container gardening. It's a new passion of mine that has recently grown over the past few years. This week it's National Gardening Week and I'm going to celebrate it by bringing you a few gardening themed posts!

I love getting outside in our small courtyard garden.Over the past few weekends we have had the relief of mild weather at last. The sun has been shining and being out in the fresh air pottering round the courtyard has been great for clearing my head and starting a fresh for spring. Recently there have been tiny noticeable changes to our courtyard space signalling that spring has well and truly arrived.

I’ve been poking around our plants checking to see what is still alive and what is growing. Our blueberry bush has new leaves, the mint has burst into life, the clematis has small leaves appearing, the chives have grown...

 the lillies I separated last autumn are all growing happily in their new pots, and my three strawberry plants are still alive and have a few new bright green leaves growing. In my cold frame the home grown geraniums are still alive and growing from last year...

Our bulbs are blooming with the daffodils and the blue and white grape hyacinth being the first to flower. The tulips have started to grow but no flower buds are appearing just yet. I cant' wait to have these flower too so we can have different pops of colour brightening the courtyard.

I’ve been busy sorting our space, digging the soil in the empty containers and pots ready to start growing new plants, sweeping up, tiding dead leaves and dead parts of plants and moving a few empty pots and containers around.  I moved a few of the pots around so that we could see some of the flowers from our lounge and put a few small pots of Grape Hyacinths to the window ledge while I decide what to add to the window box. I had the company of another lovely Robin both afternoons who was darting around the courtyard enjoying the worms, twigs and bugs I was stirring up.

I found a few hooks on our outside walls that I’m temporarily using for my two hanging baskets. I moved one of the small strawberry plants into one and hung it from a fixing on the wall. I hope the new location will mean the sun will get things moving and we will have a better crop this year. I’ve put some netting over the basket in the hope that any crop doesn't get eaten by visitors!

I've also been busy planting a few seeds too but I'll tell you about that tomorrow!

Labels: , ,

Sunday, 7 April 2013

Daffodils - A simple gift

Take a bunch of daffodils, tie them together with a pretty piece of gingham ribbon and give them to a friend to say thank you and brighten their day.

I recently took this lovely bunch of daffodils when I visited a friend for lunch.

A simple gift to say thank you.