Container garden
Madison’s condo dwellers who think they lack the space for a garden don’t know what they’re missing. Imagine entertaining your friends on your deck or patio this summer, surrounded by Paradise. It just takes a little creativity and lots of planting containers and potting soil to feed your green thumb, add some color to your patio and enchant your guests. Let’s take a look at some things to consider when planning for your spring or summer balcony (or patio) garden.

Sun or Shade?

Does the spot you’ve chosen get lots of sun, afternoon sun or is it primarily in shade for much of the day? Shady gardens are a challenge for even those with plots of land but you can find plants that do well with less sun.

Consider the wild red columbine (Aquilegia canadensis), a native wildflower with nodding, bell-shaped red and yellow blossoms and, because it’s native to our woodlands, it does quite well in the shade. Two bonuses come with growing wild red columbine: it’s attractive to hummingbirds and, unlike many shade plants, it has high drought tolerance. If you need additional suggestions, visit the Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center’s database. You can refine your search here according to the amount of sunlight, moisture required and other criteria.

Need some privacy?

Condo living is typically not conducive to privacy. If you need something to block your neighbor’s prying eyes from gazing at your deck or patio, consider the following.

You’ll need big pots for the tall, screening plants. They’re expensive but you can sometimes find them on Craigslist in the farm & garden section. Put “pots” in the search bar. Then, choose ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘Emerald Green’), which grows quite well in containers and grows to 3 to 4-feet wide and 15 feet in height.


Hardscape usually means paved areas, but it can also include fountains, statues and other non-plant items used in the garden. We love LIGHTS! Especially if you hope to serve dinner on the patio, deck or balcony. Little white Christmas lights strung along the railing are the least you can do. How about tall candle holders stuck into your planter boxes, with the candle flickering in the twilight? If you have the space, include a bench or patio table and chairs, wind chimes and garden statuary. Thrift stores, such as St. Vincent de Paul (1309 Williamson St.), Goodwill (find locations here) and Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore (locations here) are the ideal places to look for the latter. Anything that catches your eye, even kitchen items and funky vintage décor tucked between your planters will add charm and texture to your balcony garden.

Photo: By Shakespeare at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0



Posted by Jolenta Averill on
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