Monday, February 6, 2012

Indoor Gardens for Small Urban Spaces

When I was living in a small studio apartment in New York City, friends used to wonder why I always kept the curtains closed -- until they saw my view. My one window overlooked the back wall of another building, and it wasn't a pretty sight. But curtains are just one solution for covering up a less than inspiring view. Another is to create an indoor garden in your urban home.
If you've never had a garden before, don't worry. Employees at a florist shop or plant nursery usually have a wealth of information that they are more than happy to share. You can help them make informed suggestions for your future garden by doing a little home research before you go. Here are a few things to consider:
Light or Shady? Some plants need lots of sunlight. Some prefer shade. So make a study of the site of your planned garden. How many hours of sunlight does it get? Is that light strong and direct, or is the light blocked by other buildings? Is the average temperature hot and dry, dark and damp, or something in between?
High or Low Maintenance? Urban gardener, know thyself. How much time do you want to devote to your new green friends? It's important to be realistic because although some hardy plants need just a little water and light to thrive, others are more finicky and will shrivel up and die if they don't get exactly the right care.
Stationary or Climbing the Walls? Most people think of potted plants when they think of indoor gardens, but why not let your imagination soar? If you dare, use that old curtain rod as a support for a trailing vine to add color and interest to your windows.
Lemon or Lime? Just because you live in an urban environment doesn't mean you can't have a small orchard growing in your home. Ask your local plant expert about how to install temperature and light controls if your apartment isn't naturally warm and sunny. And by the way, bonsai trees are another great option for small spaces.
With so many indoor gardening choices you can turn even the smallest of urban spaces into an oasis of green. Just take a few minutes to observe the light and climate conditions of your future garden's site. Then consult with your local gardening experts to get that indoor garden growing in your home.
Lara Fine is a home design aficionado. Her areas of expertise include finding creative home decor solutions for small spaces and recreating period looks on a budget.

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