Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Enjoy a Tabletop Feast of Flowers; Space-Starved Londoners Can Fill Up on Colour. Stuff Old Filing Drawers or Even Biscuit Tins with Plants and Perch Them on Tables Indoors and Out

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Enjoy a Tabletop Feast of Flowers; Space-Starved Londoners Can Fill Up on Colour. Stuff Old Filing Drawers or Even Biscuit Tins with Plants and Perch Them on Tables Indoors and Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Pattie Barron

TABLETOP gardening is the way forward for townies with little space. You get all the satisfaction of creating a planted landscape, but on a smaller scale. This kind of gardening is all about the detail both in container and its contents, because the finished result will be admired up close.

London gardener and stylist Emma Hardy has all the moves. "Broaden your buying to perennials as well as annuals and you have a far wider choice of flowers and foliage that will last longer than a season," says Hardy, who has dreamed up 35 projects for small spaces into a book, Tiny Tabletop Gardens.

"Look beyond the usual terracotta pots for a container that's a good colour or shape and that you can knock holes into the base, such as galvanised tubs, old biscuit tins, wine crates and wire baskets. I find great stuff at car boot sales and markets like Spitalfields and Kempton Park."

One such find, an old metal filing drawer, is the basis for a centrepiece of black, purple and white pansies, petunias and violas, topped with moss, while a faded wooden box becomes a treasure chest filled with gold, courtesy of apricot calibrachoa, orange Iceland poppies and the airy flowers of Geum Totally Tangerine.

At this time of year, a waist-high planter that spells spring in high style can be made from an old wooden stool topped with a roomy window box, both painted white and planted with a mix of alpine clematis, fritillaries, pasqueflower and dark Queen of Night tulips.

"If you only have room for a window box, then make it a fabulous one," says Hardy, who suggests pushing aside the predictable bedding and instead creating a longer-lasting, foliage-rich display of heuchera, heucheralla and tiarella, all of which have the prettiest feathery flowers. Two smoky-shaded hostas are shoehorned in too, and, in a window box on a ledge, are more likely to remain free of slug and snail damage.

You could even have a rose garden, simulating the effect of a profusion of roses by setting a tub on an upturned plastic flowerpot within a larger tub, creating two levels so that the six miniature rosebushes form a pyramid of flowers, finished with trails of ivy. …

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