I've been noticing a trend in the garden world that is loosely related to the ubertrend of vertical gardening. Shelf Gardening (as I am calling it) solves the same challenge of creating a lot of planting space in very little square footage, but provides a whole new range of options for adding your own sense of style.
Yesterday I wrote about this trend on my own blog and shared a variety of inspirational shots (you can check them out here) — but as I get more excited to try this out for myself, I have gathered even more ideas that you might also want to play with.
The fun in this type of gardening is that every element can build a different look. The shelves can be industrial, rustic, modern, big, small, tiered, wide, narrow, set out on a grid or long and even. Why not take inspiration from Bookshelf porn and just replace books with potted plants? The only caveat is that I would take care to choose something that can withstand the weathering that comes with being outside. But you may choose to make this style of garden inside...because it could just as easily be done indoors in front of a sunny window, like this one from houseplant guru.
The containers add another layer of opportunity to make this something uniquely special. Many examples use classic terracotta, but I've also seen versions that have a vintage mix of planters as well as terracotta mixed with modern white planters (which is much more sophisticated).
This garden by Walter Hood which was featured and photographed by Susan Cohan on her blog keeps the look minimal by repeating the same shape and size container and plant.
On the other end of the spectrum, you could take a que from history and play with the idea of Auricula Theaters. Bramble and Bean has a nice round up of Auricula (primula) Theaters in gardens around the world. The characterful little faces of primula flowers have always seemed so right for featuring in this way.
My personal favorite, though, is the one I photographed recently in Kevin's Garden (top picture) — the mix of the red geraniums overflowing from what might otherwise seem a like rather fussy white metal shelf (were it being used in a different setting) makes for a great solution in the narrow garden hallway that connects the main part of his garden with his storage shed. You hardly notice that it is also quite functional, housing out of season orchids (he lives in LA so you you can do that sort of thing in the garden) and extra pots.