My daughter wanted to put in a garden. Now, this doesn’t sound so bad at first, but seeing as how impulsiveness is one of the symptoms of her disability I could see how this might turn out — she gets all excited and turns half my yard into a vegetable and flower garden then loses interest and I’m left with all the work of keeping it up for the rest of the summer and fall. No thanks.
Not that I’m against gardens – I love plants. I just know my limitations and I’m starting to know hers. So, with that in mind, I told her we would make her a great container garden for her room instead.
So, how did we do this?
Step 1. What kind of light is her garden going to get? Her room had a window that was facing the east, but also had a neighbor that blocked some of the light. So, definitely a shade-plant environment.
Step 2. How high maintenance was she willing to go? Some plants can literally survive on nutrients from the air, while others require nearly daily check-ins. My daughter leaned heavily towards the former variety.
Step 3. How much space did she want to give her garden? We needed to think not just the container, but the plants. I have a ficus tree in a container that is older than my marriage (we will celebrate 25 years this summer). The pot is only about 18 inches in diameter and maybe 2 feet high, but the tree is almost 6 feet tall and about 4 feet in diameter. Did she want a tree or a tiny flower?
Step 4: What kind of container did she want to put her garden in? Her container needs room for soil and roots, plus a hole for the water to drain away in the bottom. Otherwise, it can be anything. I have seen people use ceramic or plastic pots, boxes, hats, vases, coffee mugs – just about anything. What is her style?
Step 5: Pick the plants. Remember they will get bigger, so give them room to grow. For my daughter we went with a couple of simple ceramic pots filled with succulents. These need very little care, do well in low light and can survive with very little water – a great choice for her. The ceramic pots also help prevent water evaporation. They brighten up her room and I don’t have to worry about going in and finding either a jungle run amok or murdered plants all over the place. It’s a win for everyone!
Send me some photos of your container gardens. I’d love to see them!