ISSUE 13  |  Rite of Spring

Required Reading: The Balcony Gardener

March 30, 2012 10:30 AM

BY Cambrey Thomas

In my New York City apartment, I have a tiny bit of personal space and an even tinier bit of space for a garden. Whatever I grow has to fit either on a window ledge (the one not occupied by my AC) or the fire escape. I could possibly garden on the roof, but I’m not certain we’re even allowed up there.

In her new book, The Balcony Gardener, Isabelle Palmer instructs the spatially challenged on the fine art of thrifty urban beautification. With ease, she transforms castoffs into planters and fills them with hardy, long-lasting flowers, practical screen plants (to shield nosy neighbors), and themed collections (peppers and herbs for a curry box or medicinal herbs for teas).

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Above: Palmer suggests saving cans and olive oil drums (or asking a friendly restaurant) to repurpose as rustic planters.

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Above: Empty glass jars, a few lengths of wire, and an urge to undertake a simple DIY project are all you need to make mood-setting lanterns to illuminate your balcony garden.

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Above: Rounding out the book is a handful of recipes that use the herbs and other plants you grow in cocktails and simple dishes; The Balcony Gardener is $13.57 at Amazon.