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Name: Afsaneh Tajvidi
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Garden size: A windowsill
Afsaneh Tajvidi's Toronto condo doesn't have much sunny space for potted plants, and this windowsill was one of the few spaces she could spare. "Living in a condo, you need to look for plants in small sizes and types that don't grow very fast," she says. "I guess that was my philosophy for my windowsill garden: small plants in small pots." Above is a shot of her garden in January, where it still gets plenty of sunshine in the middle of the winter.
Right now Tajvidi has a jade bonsai and several cacti and succulents growing on her sill. The image above shows the garden's growth from September to November — she also changed out some of the plants for a fresh new arrangement.
The biggest challenge has been creating the right environment for her plants. Often, she'll place a bowl of water nearby to create some humidity. She also rotates each plant 45 degrees a day to let the sunlight reach all sides. "Play beautiful music for your plants too," she says. "They love it and grow better if they hear good music."
Photos courtesy of Afsaneh Tajvidi
Location: Alberta, Canada
Garden size: 6 feet by 20 feet
This lush garden is set precariously on a 16th-floor balcony of a high-rise condominium. Because Canada has such a short growing season, owner Jeannie often chooses her plants based on durability. In the spring, she'll plant the entire garden with annuals and then let the plants dry out in the fall. "In the winter, the snow creates natural sculptural shapes and the dried plants give something for the hoar frost to cling to — it's quite beautiful when that happens," she says.
Currently Jeannie is growing two small Amur maple trees, which she chose because of their sturdiness and gorgeous fall foliage. Most of the garden is visible from the home's kitchen, dining room and living room, so Jeannie wanted it to be as colorful and lush as possible. "Consider the microclimate of your space when choosing plants," she suggests. "Small spaces get hotter than larger gardens, so consider how much light, shade and wind you get."
Name: Paul and Zoe Wilson
Location: Bloomsbury, central London
Garden size: A small fire escape
For many city dwellers, a fire escape is the only outdoor space they can call their own. Paul and Zoe Wilson made the most of this tiny metal structure to grow herbs and vegetables for their home. (Note: Check local laws before you add anything to your fire escape, as many prohibit plants and other items.) With a little coordinating, they were able to grow lettuce, courgettes, tomatoes, radishes, basil, parsley, mint, rosemary, geraniums and lavender — quite the list for such a small space.
Name: Priscilla Torres
Garden size: 6 feet by 14 feet
Growing up in New York City, Priscilla Torres was never able to find an apartment with the space for a garden of any type or size. "The first thing I did when I moved to Florida was start planning a balcony garden," she says. Although it's not spacious, she's been able to create an oasis of Meyer lemon and key lime trees, herbs, aloe, succulents and leafy ornamentals.
Name: Sarah and Dave Kramer
Location: Somerville, Massachusetts
Garden size: 200 square feet
Sarah and Dave Kramer had zero gardening experience when they first bought their house outside of Boston, but after years of living in small apartments, they were thrilled to have an outdoor space. Despite the fact that most of it is paved, Sarah went plant-crazy in the single raised bed, exposed strip by the fence and dozens of containers. "I just kept on buying and filling cheap plastic pots in amazement," she says.
Sunny horizontal space quickly ran out, but Sarah wanted to keep planting. "The rickety wood fence with its peeling paint seemed to mock me," she says. Inspired by a TV show on the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, she used clothesline rope to create her own mini hanging garden. "Since each hanging pot prevents those below it from getting the full benefit of any rainfall, it's important to consider water needs as well as plant height when organizing vertical space. My current garden development musings revolve around rain collection and drip-feed watering," she says.
Photos courtesy of Sarah Kramer
Name: Rebecca Sheridan
Location: Oberohringen, Switzerland
Garden size: 260 square feet
Stunning views of the Alps, beautiful forests nearby — Rebecca Sheridan's balcony seemed to have everything except privacy. A main road just in front of the house was an unsightly addition to the view, and the open layout felt intrusive. Sheridan wanted to grow plants that would allow the view to be enjoyed but that would create a sense of intimacy.
Lavender, morning glory, nasturtiums, cosmos and sweet peas fill up the boxes and wind around arches on the B-shape deck. While the height of the plants made the spot feel cozier, the winds that sweep through the valley would often knock them over, so Sheridan secured them safely to the balcony.
Photos courtesy of Rebecca Sheridan
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