Container planting - my gardening inspirations

Gardening is something that I have been itching to learn more about. I dream of owning a house in the country with a garden where I can grow wild flowers, have a little herb garden, grow vegetables all year round and maybe a fruit tree or two. I'd love to have borders of flowers and a tree to sit under just like those lovely gardens you see in Country Living magazine and gardening books. A big dream but perhaps I can do something on a smaller scale within our courtyard and grow similar plants in containers...

You may have noticed over the past few weeks I've been writing a number of gardening posts...well, as part of my goals for the year I wanted to start gardening again. I know that I need to learn the basics to make it a success and have spent a bit of time trying to learn from books, asking friends and family for advice, and looking at

Last year Mr C and I had a delivery from the wonderful organic garden company called Rocket Gardens. We were given a generous gift of a Patio Container Garden...ooh it was so lovely getting the delivery of lots of baby plants, carefully placed on a bed of hay in a huge box. We planted the plug plants in our containers and watched them grow...however shortly after they arrived we had an unwanted visitor that managed to dig up lots of the plants. Following this many of the plants died as they didn't have chance to establish themselves...our little visitor put me off our garden space a little! However after the visitor was no longer able to dig up our remaining crops, many plants did grow thanks to the dedication of Mr C who took it upon himself to tend the tomatoes! We had a constant supply of rocket and mixed lettuce as they grew really well in our containers. We had one huge courgette, some green tomatoes and we had a few French beans!

I vowed that this year would be the time to try hard and learn more about growing plants and how we can make the most of our urban garden space. With the sun finally arriving and the weather warming I have a real desire to make it work. I'm keen to make our space tranquil, a place to grow things we can eat and admire and also improve our space to entertain friends. To get started I looked through a number of books that I have for some inspiration.

I especially like Organic Crops in Pots - How to grow your own vegetables, fruit and herbs. The lovely photos of bountiful crops, querky containers and achieveable projects really inspired me. Then there are the more practical books by the 'gardening god', Alan Titchmarsh, and his 'How to Garden' series. I have the Vegetables and Herbs and Container Gardening books and found them packed with practical details.

After looking at the books I set about making a list of plants that I thought would grow well based on a few years of experience, what may be suited to our environment and space, but also what I was keen to tend and eat over the next few months!

I also had a think through the many gardening mistakes that I have made over the past few years, I don't want to let these happen again this year! I tend to forget about my plants and not regularly tend to them, this means that they get attacked by bugs, shrivel and die, and are therefore beyond rescue. I told myself that if I am going to invest in new plants that I must go on a slug hunt each day and remove the nasties, find good locations for the plants with plenty of sunlight and water regularly...

Inspired and raring to go, I took a trip to our stunning little garden centre a few minutes drive from our flat. The Riverside Garden Centre in Bristol is tucked away near the river and some old industrial buildings. The Riverside Garden Centre have such a lovely collection of everything you need for an 'urban' garden and plenty of healthy looking plants tended by their helpful staff.

I was armed with my list, as I knew I would be in danger of getting carried away. I treated myself to two big blue pots to make our space more cheerful, and bought a new Burgon and Ball trowel which blew a hole in my budget...I know I will use them year on year so it is worth the investment. I selected a range of herbs, vegetables, fruits and plants suitable for container gardening.

I saw so many beautiful flowers and little plants that I wanted but I will wait until next month to make a few more purchases as buying new plants can be expensive! I definitely need to try and grow more from seed! I'm hope to grow some red and white geraniums in window boxes and have some more flowers in pots to attract some bees!

Take a look at how I got on with the gardening in my next post where I kick start the summer by getting our courtyard looking tidy and a little bit more summery!