A tiny green oasis

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Sustainability & Environment
Plants in pots

Living in a unit or townhouse with minimal outdoor space doesn’t have to mean living without a garden. Even a small space can be made into a beautiful green sanctuary just for you.

Watch the space.

Before you go out and buy your plants, take a few days to observe the space. Note how the sun moves throughout the day and where it lands. Do you get all-day sun, all-day shade or a combination of both? Consider if the space is sheltered (does it have a roof?) or is it exposed to the elements? Look around at other gardens and think about the type of space you’d like to create. Do you want a cottage-style garden? Edible plants? Some privacy screening? A mass of greenery or a single but striking tree? Pots and planter boxes are the most convenient way to grow plants on a balcony or in a courtyard. Plus, pots can be easily moved to another spot if a plant isn’t thriving. Just consider the weight of the pot and the potting mix when choosing what size pot to use. Plastic pots are lighter than terracotta or ceramic pots. You can extend your garden upwards by installing a vertical garden, some hanging baskets or a wire or trellis for climbing plants. Herbs, lettuce varieties and some of the smaller tomato varieties can be grown in pots or vertical gardens.

So, what to plant?

For a harsh, sunny location succulents such as Pigface or Blue Chalksticks can be a great option. Two of the prettiest natives, Kangaroo Paw and Flannel Flowers, can easily be grown in pots in a sunny spot. Hardy natives such as Coastal Rosemary and Correa are also great, as are Mediterranean plants such as Lavender and Rosemary.

Carpobrotus, commonly known as pigface, ice plant, sour fig, and Hottentot fig, is a genus of ground-creeping plants with succulent leaves and large daisy-like flowers. For less sunny areas, try shade-loving Xanadu Philodendron or the oldfashioned Mother-in-Law’s Tongue. If the area is shady and sheltered a Native Ginger or Bird’s Nest Fern can make a striking feature plant. A hedge is great for creating privacy or to have a formal look. You can grow natives such as Coastal Rosemary or Correa, which can be pruned to create an attractive and super-hardy hedge. Traditional hedging plant such as Japanese Box or Indian Hawthorn are also good options. For a more modern, architectural look use a strappy plant like Matt Rush or the softer-looking Tanika Matt Rush.

For a hanging basket in a sunny spot try Pigface, Yellow Buttons or the exotic Silver Falls Dichondra. In shade, Fairy Fan Flower or Native Violets work nicely. The native Snake Vine or the exotic Chinese Star Jasmine or Heartleaf Philodendron are on vigorous climbers that will grow in full sun or part shade. Whatever you do, be sure to leave room for seating, so you can sit and enjoy your tiny Eden. If you need any help choosing your plants, visit the Randwick Council Nursery and any of our experienced staff can help point you in the right direction.

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