What should I plant? What ever you like. There are so many choices out there that you have to take advantage of the flexibility balcony gardening provides. The chance to mix it up every year or every month if your pocketbook allows. The chance to make mistakes and have some fun. Jump in with both feet and make a splash on your balcony.
For some of the weeks during the growing season the balcony garden is about foliage and not flowers. A blend of foliage textures creates the foundation for colour. I try to make sure that each trough has a nice mix of greens and leaf forms to add interest and bridge the gap between blooms.
Perennials, annuals, vines and bulbs. Mix them together or plant individually to highlight foliage. The choice can be overwhelming. But that’s part of the fun. So is trying something new every year.
I have to admit that I’m not a big fan of annuals. I don’t know them that well. I try to use annuals, I just don’t try that hard. My experience is with perennials and roses. That’s why I like alpines – I can apply my knowledge. I do love colour – it influences many of my final plant selections and combinations.
I like to mix perennials, annuals, bulbs and edibles in containers and work on getting a combo that not only looks good, but grows well through the season. Sometimes it works. I have found some combinations that are bullet-proof and pretty. I also have favourites that I need in my garden every year like dianthus, hens and chicks and wooly thyme.
I’ve had some success with bulbs don’t seem to be able to winter over fall bulbs – actually thought that might be possible. But spring bulbs planted in containers with annuals can work well. And I’ve had great success with a number of different vines. Perfect to twist and loop along a balcony railing or up against a brick wall or simple bamboo trellis.