Container/raised beds gardening

"Blooms in Bloom: A Guide to Container Gardening Success"


Container gardening is a versatile and rewarding way to cultivate a vibrant garden in limited spaces. Whether you have a small balcony, a sunny patio, or just a doorstep, container gardening allows you to enjoy the beauty of plants, flowers, and herbs without the need for a traditional garden bed. In this article, we'll explore the essentials of container gardening, offering tips and insights to help you create a flourishing and portable garden oasis.

1. Choose the Right Containers/raised beds:

Selecting the right containers is a crucial first step in successful container gardening. Ensure that your containers have drainage holes to prevent waterlogging, and perhaps choose materials like terracotta, plastic, or wood. Consider the size of your plants and their root systems when selecting containers, as larger plants may need more space for their roots to grow. In our case, we simply ordered 2 metre long sleepers (non rail variety) and cut them in half. Doing it this way is likely to yield better, cheaper results than the highly expensive and not especially ready made wooden ones. Underneath our kitchen garden we used weed membrane, over which we placed wood chip, after a year or so, this will have broken down and can also be added to the beds.

2. Select the Appropriate Soil:

Container plants rely on the soil within their pots for nutrients and water, so choosing the right potting mix is essential. Use a high-quality, well-draining potting mix specifically formulated for container gardening. Avoid using garden soil, as it can become compacted and hinder proper drainage. Make sure your beds are deep enough to plant what you're planning 

3. Pick the Right Plants:

The key to a thriving container garden is selecting plants that suit the growing conditions of your space. Consider the amount of sunlight, wind exposure, and the overall climate. Many flowers, herbs, vegetables, and even small shrubs can thrive in containers. Pay attention to the mature size of the plants, ensuring they won't outgrow their containers too quickly.

4. Mindful Watering:

Container plants require more frequent watering than those in the ground since they can't tap into the surrounding soil for moisture. Water thoroughly, allowing excess water to drain from the bottom of the containers. Be attentive to the moisture needs of different plants, as they may vary. During hot weather, you may need to water daily.

5. Feeding Container Plants:

Container plants exhaust nutrients more quickly than those in the ground, so regular feeding is crucial. Use a balanced, water-soluble fertilizer according to the recommended application rates. Fertilize every few weeks during the growing season, adjusting the frequency based on the specific needs of your plants.

6. Creative Arrangements:

Container gardening provides an opportunity for creative expression. Experiment with different combinations of colours, textures, and heights to create visually appealing arrangements. Consider combining flowers, foliage plants, and herbs in a single container for a diverse and aesthetically pleasing display.

7. Container Placement:

Pay attention to the sunlight requirements of your plants when deciding where to place your containers. Most plants require at least 6 hours of sunlight per day, but some shade-loving varieties can thrive in partial or filtered sunlight. Be mindful of the microclimates on your balcony or patio.

8. Protect from Harsh Weather:

Container plants are more exposed to the elements, so take precautions during extreme weather conditions. Move containers indoors during severe storms, strong winds, or excessively hot temperatures. This helps protect your plants from damage and ensures their long-term health.

9. Regular Maintenance:

Container gardens, like any other garden, require regular maintenance. Remove spent flowers, trim back leggy growth, and inspect for pests regularly. Regular care ensures that your plants stay healthy and continue to produce vibrant blooms or harvestable crops.

10. Winter Preparations:

As winter approaches, consider the cold hardiness of your container plants. Move sensitive plants indoors, group containers together for added insulation, or wrap them in burlap to protect them from frost. Winter preparations vary depending on your climate, so tailor your approach to the specific needs of your plants.


Container gardening is an accessible and enjoyable way to bring the beauty of nature to your doorstep. With careful selection of containers, soil, plants, and attention to watering and feeding, you can create a stunning and versatile garden that adapts to your available space. Whether you're cultivating a colourful floral display or growing herbs for culinary delights, container gardening offers endless possibilities for both novice and seasoned gardeners alike. Happy planting!