grow, marvel, eat, laugh, persevere

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Fern's California Balcony Garden

Name: Fern Richardson
Location: Orange County, CA
Size: 40 sq ft.
Age: 6 months

Bio: I have been gardening since elementary school. After a family trip to Yosemite, I came back with a book about creating backyard habitats and busily set to work "transforming" my parents' backyard (they're non-gardeners). I moved out when I was 18 to go to college and I have been gardening on apartment balconies ever since. In 2008 I started Life on the Balcony, a blog about container gardening after I had an "aha moment." I realized I was waiting to "really" garden until I had a home. How silly is that?! After that, it really transformed how I viewed container gardening. I didn't just have a few plants in pots anymore, I wanted to combine them artfully to make something beautiful. The rest is history.

Garden Survey:

Type: Balcony container garden

Style: "Modern eclectic." I have no idea what that means, but it sounds about right.

Inspiration: I devour books and magazines. I also read a lot of blogs, subscribe to tons of gardening newsletters, scour Flickr for photos...You could say I'm a little obsessed.

Favorite plant: My favorite plant changes so often. Right now I am really loving a black-foliaged dahlia, a yellow 'Bishop's Children.'

Biggest challenge: Watering. During the summer my pots need water once a day, that means lugging a 2 gallon watering can back and forth at least 4 times.

What your friends say: Only one friend has seen my current garden (Adriana of Anarchy In The Garden). She seemed excited about the apple tree. And laughed that I have some daylily divisions growing in a large Taco Bell cup.

Biggest embarrassment: Other than the daylilies in a Taco Bell cup? It's kind of hard to top that!

Proudest DIY: I grew all of my seedlings this year in recycled containers. I'm pretty excited to keep some of the plastic products I used out of the landfill.

Biggest indulgence: Premium potting soil. It costs more than twice as much as the cheap stuff, but the results are so worth it!

Best advice: Don't give up when you kill a plant. All green thumbs started with black thumbs.

Resources: aHa! Modern Living (I have the soil scoop from this shop and I use it ALL the time!), Botanical Interests, Ikea (great prices on pots), Armstrong Garden Centers, Roger's Gardens. 

Garden Tour:

Thank for participating, Fern.  You've inspired me to take more chances with my container gardens.  

If you would like to participate in Virtual Garden Tours, please email me at myskinnygarden (at) gmail (dot) com.  


  1. Thanks for sharing your garden, Fern! I love the frog pot and of course that cute black cat. If it happens to be a female, my orange tabby James says "holla!" ;-)

  2. Gina--Thanks for having me!

    Monica--My kitty is in fact a girl. I told her that a handsome orange tabby said "hi." She looked at me for a second and then licked one of her paws. Not sure what that means in cat lingo?

  3. What a pretty garden; thanks for letting us see it! I'm very impressed by the apples.

  4. What a wonderful balcony garden! Thanks for sharing Fern!

  5. Thanks Diane & Laura!

    Diane--Amazingly enough, the apple has been pretty easy to grow. Pruning it into a pleasing shape is another story though... ;-)

  6. Nice Tour Fern! I love the picture with the cat poking his head into the shot.