The Insider: Miniature gardening (minus the garden)


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The Independent Online

Who needs flowerpots? Whether you're planting indoors or on a windowsill, patio or balcony – or even in a garden with (like mine) minimal flowerbed space – take tips from a lovely new book, Teeny, Tiny Gardening by Emma Hardy (£14,99, Cico). It is stuffed with inventive ideas for weeny things you can turn into quirky planters. Such as…

Shell out

I love Hardy's super idea for using eggshells, which are great for indoor foliage. Remove the tops from the empty shells, pinhole the bottoms for drainage and (tea)spoon in compost. Choose small-rooted plants such as miniature violas or forget-me-nots and display in good egg cups or an old-fashioned wooden holder.

Fancy a cuppa?

For a "pretty desktop garden", says Hardy, plant in teacups with saucers. Don't fancy drilling the cup bottoms for drainage (or have no saucers)? Then use gravel beneath your soil and beware over-watering. Hardy suggests little Alpine plants such as fritillary, primrose and winter aconite.

Bag it up

Plastic woven shopping bags lined with bin bags and drainage crocks make excellent colourful indoor or outdoor pot replacements – striking in a charcoal- or white-painted room.

Tin-win situation

"I love the idea of a garden you can move round with you as you go about your day," says Hardy about planting wildflowers in antique biscuit tins. Where hinged, lids can be propped against a wall, and planting tall things at the back looks best.

Glass act

Terrariums can look a little über, but Hardy's pretty drinking glasses filled with sand, fine gravel and doll-sized succulents look lovely. (You'll need cactus compost and direct sunlight too.)

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