Plant Witch

2018 Urban Patio Garden Tour

patio fairy garden with upcycled furniture container garden of herbs, flowers and succulents

A Tour of the Patio Container Garden with Herbs, Flowers, and Succulents Featuring Faerie Garden Accents and Upcycled Furniture

I’m in love. It’s real and deep. And we will spend so much time together this Summer! … It’s my patio garden — and it is amazing.

The Patio Garden – The Overall Effect

If this looks like it was a lot of work, it’s because it really really was! Hahaha. But worth every bit of effort because it’s like having an extra room of the house, when the weather is nice. I wanted to take pictures that showed what it looks like from the different sides of the patio half walls. I built up using veritical space with various “upcycled” items. More vertical space means more room for containers! Here are some ideas for building that all-important vertical space if you have a patio or porch garden.

The Modular Wire Cube Wall for Building Vertical Container Garden Space

modular wire cube shelving from target to build container garden vertical space
wire shelving for porch garden to help build space for container gardening
wire shelving for porch garden to help build space for container gardening

I have had these modular wire cubes from Target for a while. I brought them out of doors to use on the porch garden at my old apartment in Roslindale, Boston. I kept them for the same purpose for the patio garden at my new apartment in Federal Hill, Providence. Wire cubes are a great way to build vertical space if you’re container gardening, because the all-important sunshine can come through at all angles. The only trick with these ones is the height of them. I have to keep the tall-growing plants on the top shelves. I put the smaller growing plants in the inner cubes.

The Upcycled Headboard-as-Trellis Wall with Recycled Milk Crates and Childen’s Chairs for Building a Vertical Garden

Fairy Garden for the Patio Garden using upcycled headboard for trellis
children's outdoor chairs and milk crates help build veritical space for a container garden
using outdoor plastic children's chairs and old milk crates to build vertical space in an upcycled furniture patio container garden

Another way to build space is to use plant stands. Rather than use the traditional ones, I got creative. First I used old milk crates, accumlated from who-knows-where. Next I used these color children’s chairs from Ocean State Job Lot as plant stands. They were not only less expensive, but they add a bright pop of color and a great little whimsical touch to the container garden. They’re super cute!

The Totally Trash-Picked Wall of “Upcycled” Furniture

using old furniture as a plants stands and strorage space for an outdoor container garden on a city patio
upcycled wooden chairs to build vertican space for container garden in urban porch garden

Yep. I totally picked everything along this wall out of other people’s trash. I am happy to be an eco-friendly and extremely frugal upcycler. Old wooden chairs make a great addition to a patio garden if you’re looking for ways to build more vertical space. The wheeled plastic cart has three plants on the top shelf and the lower shelves work as a kind of mini-garden shed for storing mulch, cleaning supplies and garden tools.

The Little Front Garden

postage stamp from garden for triple decker apartment in federal hill
hanging plant and stained glass window detail from apartment in federal hill providence
russian sage and petunia with decorative garden stake urban small garden
peacock and butterfly garden stakes and petunias

The front of the house has a little bit of garden space, as well. I found a ton of clearance plants at Lowes and planted those for the “annual” part of the garden. I planted the Russian sage last year and they’re doing well. I’d planted a phlox plant last year but it didn’t come back, so I planted dianthus for a perennial this year. Hope it makes it back. It’s very pretty. I added tchotchoke from the Dollar Tree and Christmas Tree Shops to fil in space until the plants bloomed. 

Succulents in My Faerie Garden

Oh, you know I love my garden tchotchkes. Adding a little fairy garden magic in each pot of the patio container garden means marking the mischief managed with a little or a lot of faerie magic through decorations. Whether it’s old sentimental ceramics from my childhood, cute bargain store critters like owls and butterflies, old beautiful stones collected from past gardens and yards I’ve dug up to plant in, or actual fairy garden decorations, every container has a little something in it beside its plant. You know, to say, “a pagan who loves the earth planted this.”

Herbal Garden for Container Gardening

mojito mint container garden plant with fairy garden tchotchke
Mojito Mint fromĀ Muddy River Herbals. It’s THRIVING! The ceramic tiger was painted by my father.

I started off gardening season by going to the excellent herbal convention in Somerville, MA, Herbstalk. At that event, I bought a ton of herbs, including ones I hadn’t grown before, from my friend Jenny of Muddy River Herbals. Jenny and I worked together at Allandale Farm many years ago. She’s a great person and an excellently skilled gardener and garden/ herbal educator. Go to Muddy River Herbals for more from Jenny.

Here is the full rundown of herbs in this year’s patio container garden:

  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • Basil
  • Parsley
  • Oregano
  • Calendula
  • Lavender
  • Dill
  • Cilantro
  • Chive
  • Scallion
  • Mexican tarragon*
  • Tulsi*
  • Catnip*
  • Arnica*
  • Spilanthes*
  • Ashawaganda*

* denotes my first time growing these plants

I absolutely love fresh herbs. They make cooking and making tea in the growing season so much more bright and delicious. If you’ve never tried container gardening but always wanted to, I definitely recommend starting off with herbs. It’s very rewarding, and a lot of these plants are fairly low maintenance.

Speaking of low maintenance, I left an herb off this list. In fact, it gets it’s own section in the patio garden. Shunted, if you will, to the front end to the porch, because it is such an opportunistic plant (language permaculturists like to use instead of “invasive”), so it sort of has to be quarantined so as not to take over the other plants…

The Lemon Balm Melissa Quarantine

Lemon balm, also called melissa, is a really delicious lemon flavored herb in the mint family. It’s great in soups, teas and all kinds of other recipes where a lemon flavor would enhance the taste. Not only is it a delcious herb, it’s also really good for you. It helps with skin conditions, antibiotic resistance, anxiety — all kinds of possible health effects. Even if you doubt these health benefits, since herbal medicinal healing is often looked on with skpeticism, it doesn’t hurt to consume it, because it’s so yummy. It’s also the absolutely easiest herb to grow. These FIVE CONTAINERS started out from one little plant.

I planted this little lemon balm plant in my garden in West Roxbury, Boston, seven years ago. I dug it up and planted it in a container and brought it to the Roslindale garden in 2013. Now, in 2018, it takes up FIVE containers.

Flowers in My Patio Fairy Garden

I love my little garden gnome. He used to have a motion sensor that would make him say things like “Some gnomes get to travel the world. Look what I get? THIS?! Ugh.” Hahahaha

The little containers all have single annual plants in them. The plants were in the clearance section of Lowes, 6 for $1. This is my big bargain hunter tip. Always go to the back corner of Lowes and check the clearance section. Most of the plants just need to be deadheaded, but it’s easier for them to unload them for cheap than pay to maintain them. Kind of like how slightly dented fruit is totally edible but not perfect so it will leave the grocery store display floor (sadly). And then you just plant them, deadhead (as in pinch off the dead flowers), mulch, and water–and Voila! Thriving little plants for the garden as $.15 a plant!

Annuals in the garden this year:

  • Petunias
  • Begonias
  • Celosia
  • Marigold
  • Impatiens

Perennials in the garden this year:

  • Dianthus
  • Daisy
  • Coral Bells
  • Lavender
  • Spilanthes
  • Calendula

Weeds That Aren’t Weeds

I have three “weeds” that planted themselves in my containers: mullein, purslane and dandelion. Honestly, they’re great herbs! So I just let them hand out and stuck some decos in there for fun. Give some consideration to your alleged weeds. They may just be worth keeping around!

An Extra Room During the Warmer Weather

outdoor dining patio in urban patio garden with glass circl patio table and plastic chairs

The best thing about having a patio garden like this is it is making me a morning person…sometimes. I have been doing my best to get up early and make my tea and sip it in the garden to start off the day. It’s also a good place on the weekends to sit and read. I showed a friend the patio and he said, “If I had this, I don’t think I’d spend time anywhere else!” Even if I don’t get to sipping my morning tea out there, I still say hi to all the plants before I leave and check on them when I get home. They know they are loved, which is why I think they’re doing so well, so far!

Thanks for taking a tour of my patio container garden featuring fairy garden decorations, herbs, annuals and perennials. Hope you enjoyed and maybe got inspired to do your own. It’s one of the best hobbies during the growing season!