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Vertical Gardening Ideas For Small Spaces

Vertical gardening is nothing more than using vertical space to grow vegetables or plants. Traditionally, gardeners have done similar things with climbing plants like squashes and beans. However, modern vertical gardening includes non-climbing plants. Vertical gardening saves space, makes harvesting easier and is generally easier to maintain. Although this method of gardening also has its limitations such as needing strong support systems and moisture issues, this method is also much more forgiving and if used correctly, can produce bountiful harvests. Below we have listed a range of vertical gardening tricks and methods you can follow to begin your vertical gardening journey…

Fabric Pockets

Designed for vertical gardening, fabric pockets are suited to this style of gardening and will suit almost all vegetable growing. Usually sold online or homeware stores, these inexpensive pockets can be found virtually anywhere during the spring and summer months. Simply secure them onto the chosen surface using the appropriate wall mounting screws. Be sure to line the individual pouches with some a hard substrate such as gravel before adding compost. Now, get creative with the look!  

Hanging Pots

The simplest and most obvious form of vertical gardening is hanging or balcony pots. However, what most people overlook is the drainage and location of the pots. To provide a bountiful harvest, you need to ensure your pots have adequate drainage holes and placed in a brightly lit area. You must also ensure your pots are securely fastened as any nasty gales can become disastrous, especially in the UK.


Plastic Bottle Planters

Time to pull up the sleeves and get creative! This eco-friendly vertical gardening method is perfect for those who are environmentally aware. Although they may not look as appealing as plant pots, reusing plastic bottles is a great method of upcycling whilst reducing household waste. To turn your bottles into planters, you’ll need to attempt some DIY, by cutting out a section for the plants, drainage holes and introducing some support with string or wiring.

Wooden Pallet Planters

If you have been a member of the gardening community for some time now, you will have noticed the love for reusing pallets – they are like gold dust! This environmentally friendly method is yet again a great method for reducing household waste and saving money. You can often source various sized pallets from distribution or furniture companies for free; all you will need to do is plan for the transportation to your garden. Herbs or succulents look especially effective in these DIY planters.

Chicken Wire Planter

By simply cutting a triangular shape from the chicken wire, you can begin to form a cone shape planter. By stapling or tacking this onto pallet wood, or a wooden beam, you can complete your planter by introducing moisture holding substrates such as moss and soil. Hanging plants and fruit such as ivy or strawberries will thrive in this make-shift planter.

Jam Jar Planters

Jam Jars are the perfect herb planters – keeping the herbs sheltered and safe. By reusing your glass jars, once again you will be reducing the amount of household waste produced, whilst saving some precious pennies. We would advise using this method under a sheltered environment only; to avoid water collecting in the jars. Using metal wire to cup and attach the jars to a wall or structure can provide an artsy fun affect too!

Tin Can Planters

Tin cans, like jam jars, are the perfect cheap solution to DIY vertical gardening. Again, we suggest using tin cans for herbs and smaller plants. Ensure you drill some holes at the base for proper drainage to avoid rot. A mere two holes either side assisted by some garden wire will support your tin cans efficiently.

Piping Planter

As you may have seen, using piping as planters is a popular method of vertical gardening in the DIY gardening community. Industrial piping is cheap, efficient, and spacious – plus there is a variety of sizes and parts to suit your space. By cutting holes in some PVC pipe, you can create glorious vertical or horizontal planters. Some have even gone as far as creating a ‘spiralled staircase’ design. Our personal favourite is the ‘floating’ piped planters made with chains and piping. If you opt for the piping method, ensure to introduce proper drainage. The perfect plants for piping gardens are cabbage, lettuce, beans, and strawberries.

Chest of Drawers Planter

By far our favourite method of vertical gardening is the upcycling of an old chest of drawers! This can create a real feature piece to the garden whilst providing several layers of space for planting. To save further space, you can even just stack and attach the drawers themselves. We suggest planting a mixture of flowers and herbs such as Dwarf Dahlias, Ivy, Pansies, Begonias and Geraniums. Adding a pop of colour to the drawers such as yellow, pink, or blue will help attract insects too.

We hope you found some of these ideas helpful for your vertical gardening journey – and remember, the best vegetables to plant in vertical planters are herbs, succulents, salad greens (lettuce or cabbage), courgette or cucumbers, beans, strawberries, tomatoes, and ferns.

Feel free to share your vertical planters with us on our socials!

Good luck!

Blog post by Lucy Canoel

Which Type of Gardener are You?

Siberian Dogwood ShrubWhether you've just started gardening in the last twelve months, or have been growing your own veg on an allotment for years, you've already fallen into a certain type of category of gardener.

Over the years I've dabbled in growing fruit and veg. I've used raised beds and cold-frame set-ups and have acquired certain typical gardener characteristics.

Usually, just when I'm ready to psyche myself up for a day full of back-breaking digging, it all grinds to a halt - I forget to buy essentials like seeds.

Here are some 'typical' gardener types -

The "Oh, Crap!" Gardener, The Mad Scientist, The Accountant, The Dreamer, The Doomsday Prepper and The Librarian.

1. The "Oh, Crap!" Gardener: Basically forgets to buy stuff like the all important seeds just before starting to dig.

2. The Mad Scientist: Reads up on everything, has tons of gardening books and experiments in the garden.

3. The Accountant: Knows the costs of all the supplies, keeps records, shops around and chooses the most productive plants & shrubs.

4. The Dreamer: Is all caring about the environment and can happily while away time in the garden doing absolutely nothing like admiring the wildlife.

5. The Doomsday Prepper: Is totally practical and will find the most efficient way to complete a task even when fancy tools may not be to hand.

6. The Librarian: Likes helping others and very collaborative - definitely a community gardener. There's book inside them for sure.

So which type of gardener are you?

Find out more about your gardening character from Damon over at

Tell me your gardening character below in the comments now - Don't be shy...

So What's the Most Popular to Grow from Seed?

I've dabbled in the past at growing my own vegetables and herbs with varying success. It probably didn't help that I was trying to grow from seed without the use of a raised bed so it wasn't a massive success.

Of course the inevitable happened. Weeds slowly but surely started to take over and I lost the battle in spectacular style. However, I've not given up completely and here's some interesting information about growing your own and perhaps what to start with.

Click the image below to see the full size graphic...

Most Popular Vegetables and Herbs

Garden seed information supplied by

Inspirational Show Gardens from RHS Tatton Park - 2012

All of The Royal Horticultural Society garden and flower shows prove to be extremely popular and are the go to events for amateur and professional gardeners alike. This year the Tatton Park Flower Show included some great ideas allowing the average gardener to take home and recreate many aspects of them; albeit on a smaller scale.

Vegetable Exhibitor - Olympics 2012

The RHS Flower Show Tatton Park

The show itself is one of the most recent on the RHS roster and is held at Tatton Park near Knutsford in Cheshire. Originally the show was first planned for 1998 but ended up making its first appearance one year later in 1999. This debut was headed by Max de Soissons the organiser of the show with previous experience as RHS manager for the BBC Gardeners’ World Live show in Birmingham.

Fast forward to 18th – 22nd July 2012 and the show still contains many of the original flower and garden show competitions and awards that continue to inspire all gardeners.

Barrie Thompson Garden Designer

Awards and Competitions include the Young Designer of the Year Award and the RHS National Flower Bed Competition. There are a number of other high profile awards for show gardens, visionary gardens and traditional ‘back to back’ gardens. Highlights also include the floral design studio, plant plaza, floral marquee and the arts and heritage pavilion.

Highlights of the Show Gardens 2012

The gardens are perhaps the highlight of the show simply because of their scale, beauty and diversity. The plants and flowers are undoubtedly the stars but the garden designs are always inspiring and thought provoking.

The RHS show had five categories with specific briefs that the designers and producers needed to present and adhere to in their planning and final design. The prize categories for Best in Show awards included Best Show Garden, Best Visionary Garden, Best Orchestra Garden, RHS National Young Designer of the Year and Best Back to Back Garden. There was also an award The RHS People’s Choice smaller garden winner.

Best Show Garden – The Mornflake Garden (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed and Built by Janine Crimmins - Sponsored by Mornflake Cereals

Mornflake Garden - Gold Medal Winner

The design was inspired by the traditional oat milling in Cheshire. The idea was to reflect the history and future of milling so the garden itself has traditional and modern aspects to it.

The garden promotes British craftsmanship and material that is traditional but used in a modern way. The garden contains magnificent dry stone walls done by local craftsman containing York stone.  The water feature is an integral part of this garden and it is originally inspired by a mill pond.

Mornflake Garden - Day 1

The feature conveys the power of water cascading down a weir that was essential to milling in days gone by. The surrounding walls convey the effect of ripples that expand out from the centre of the pond.

The plants were chosen to represent an oat field but in a modern setting with grasses and perennials. This natural feel was obtained by selecting free flowing plants and grasses. To create elements of surprise there is colour and texture planting interspersed throughout the garden.

Mornflake Garden - Day 6

This garden manages to combine great elements of British craftsmanship and the traditional milling industry to produce a super garden with a Gold Medal Award.

Best Visionary Garden – Untie the Wind (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed by Sheena Seeks and Built by Seeks Gardens

Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind

Sheena Seeks is a bespoke garden designer and is based in Edinburgh. Having previously won several RHS medals she has again delivered a really interesting garden with a very strong theme using unique design elements.

The garden is clearly inspired by wind instruments. The title of the garden is from Shakespeare’s Macbeth where the witches are said to have the power to 'untie the winds'.

This garden really does manage to evoke the scale and magic of music with its large shapes and forms. There are bold elements with the huge black pipe that takes centre stage magnifying sound within it. Silver pipe ‘sound waves’ add real contrast with silver colour against a backdrop of sand and green foliage.

Best Visionary Garden - Untie the Wind

This garden manages to be unique while creating some great ideas for the smaller garden with its waves of grasses and pockets of colour.

Best Orchestra Garden – To the Beat (Gold Medal Winner)

Designed by Owen Morgan and Built by Mosaic Garden Design & Landscaping

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

As with all show gardens the planning and implementation is a pretty monumental task. This is Owen’s third RHS show and has previously won a silver medal and exhibited last year as a finalist in the RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year Competition.

Owen spent a long 7 months with his team to create the quite magnificent ‘To the Beat’ gold medal winning garden.

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

The design represents aspects of a drum as the title of the garden suggests. The centrepiece is a rippling pool that represents the drum head with the circled planting ‘vibrating’ out as waves.

The power of the drum can generate a mighty sound and an intense feel.  The garden represents this within the dramatic colourful waves of late flowering red and yellow Summer plants.

Best Orchestra Garden - To the Beat

The result of To the Beat is a colourful and engaging garden with dramatic elements. It clearly represents a musical theme and contains aspects that the casual gardener can use to great effect.

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty (Silver Guilt Medal Winner)

Designed by Tristen Knight and Built by TKE Landscapes

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty

Tristen Knight is the proud winner of this year’s prestigious title and is the senior garden designer at Aralia Garden Design.

The Brownfield Beauty Garden was inspired by his love of 18th and 19th century architecture. The mechanical theme is reflected in the use of many industrial elements. RSJ steel joists are used to contain the water flow within the garden that has some strong visual elements.

RHS National Young Designer of the Year – Brownfield Beauty

There are large metal Venetian like screens that divide the garden and can be open and shut in keeping with the modular theme. This modularity creates real flexibility within the garden and this was just one of the inspiring elements of this garden.

Brownfield Beauty - Day  1

It’s not all harsh and industrial though as a softer look and feel is created through the use of tasteful planting. The traditional red and yellow hues of Summer plants are all well represented and go some way to combat the brownfield transformation.

Brownfield Beauty - Day  11

The original redeveloped industrial site has truly risen from the dead in the form of this Brownfield Beauty.

Best Back to Back Garden – Peak Reflections (Silver Guilt Medal Winner)

Designed by Charlie Williams of Nook Design GK Wilson Garden Services Ltd

Best Back to Back Garden - Peak Reflections

The Back to Back garden shows are unique to the Tatton Park Show. These small gardens, measuring just 6M x 4M, are based on the Victorian housing schemes that sprung up all over the North and Central areas of the country.

The smaller scale of these Back to back Show Gardens are still full great ideas for planting and small-scale hard landscaping. The amateur gardener has the opportunity to implement many of the ideas that the Peak Reflections Garden has to offer in particular.

The Peak District in Derbyshire is one of my favourite areas of the country because of its accessibility and the many changing landscapes. The White and Dark Peaks in particular provide a real contrast in their differing landscapes with changing light and feel. As such, I have a slight bias towards this garden and what it represents.

The Peak Reflections Garden brings in clever features using water to provide a reminder of former railway lines, dry stone walling representing local crafts and history, along with great ideas for planting.

Despite all the different colours of planting and textures in the garden there is still a sense of harmony.

The long thin water channel, between the grass and plant bedding, provides darker contrast and reflects the sky above. This also gives the visitor another view of the nearby planting to give extra interest to the garden.

The beautiful dry stone walling is common place in the Peaks and acts as an enclosure for the garden. The wall looks amazing – simply inviting you to hop over it to explore the wonderful fields beyond.

This is a beautiful small garden that’s functional but contains clever planting along with simple design.

Sources: - Royal Horticultural Society - Garden Design Sponsor - Garden Designer - Garden Designer - Garden Designers - Garden Designer - Garden Designer - Garden Designers

Christmas Present Ideas For A Gardener

If you're thinking about what to buy the Gardener in your home for Christmas this year, we thought we'd start you with a few great ideas with options from just a few pounds through to those offering more serious projects for the New Year to get the juices flowing.

Seed Pack

The Seed Pantry offers a Kids Seed starter pack, which is a great gift for friends & family to begin growing food at home with the kids. Four different seed varieties are included within the pack; Pumpkin, Cress, Sunflowers and Sweetcorn, offering a choice for everyone to have a go and see the results of their efforts. Together with eco-friendly pots and mini compost disks, everything is included in the package to get you started, all that’s needed is to add water. This is the ideal introduction to the garden if you're keen to get young children interested in gardening.

WormerieFor something a little different how about a Wormerie? A wormerie is a self contained system that’s used to compost kitchen waste which offers perfect for the garden organic compost. From a few odd scraps from the kitchen through to fallen leaves in the garden, a wormerie can help to offer great quality compost all year round.

Wigglywigglers offers two variations of tray wormery, the all new Worm Cafe and the Can-O-Worms. The Worm Cafe is a simple to use and efficient rectangular wormery for kitchen waste and allows easy access to the compost. The Can-O-Worms is a round wormery, ideal for soft organic waste such as peelings from vegetables, tea leaves, stale bread and even vacuum cleaner dust! Both styles are proven, offer fantastic performance and are bound to be a sure fire hit with any keen gardener.

Chicken Coop

If the gardener in your household has ever considered keeping chickens, why not treat them to an Eglu Classic Chicken Coop from Omlet? The Eglu Chicken Coop is a stylish practical addition to any garden, offering comfortable living space for up to four or five chickens. Fitted throughout with roosting bars and an integrated nesting box, the Eglu has the ability to keep chickens warm in winter and cool during summer - and a happy chicken is a chicken that lays eggs! With a choice of colours available, the Eglu Classic offers a superb gift choice if you are looking to buy something special for the chicken lover in your life.

Hand ToolsFor something a little more utilitarian take a look at what specialist garden tool manufacturers Burgon & Ball can offer. Their range of specialist garden hand tools are perfect for those fiddly jobs in the garden, and a superb choice is available to suit whatever your budget is.

Teak ArmchairOf course, when all the hard work is done what better way is there than to sit back, relax and admire all that has been achieved in the garden. With a contoured seat & smooth fold away action, the Henley folding armchair can be taken anywhere in the garden and utilised. A perfect gift for the gardener from us here at the Garden Furniture Centre to keep and cherish this coming Christmas.
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