A balcony garden can be beautiful, but it can also mean a rather expensive trip to the market each Spring. We don't always have the time or space to start seedlings indoors, but a little selection-foresight at those flower stalls means less work and less money spent 12 month from now.
When choosing plants for your container garden don't discount the power of perennials—these slacker-friendly plants come back year after year without much trouble at all. It has been a cool Spring here in Montreal, but already my chives are having a great time, and beside them, the Dianthus have begun their revival and will eventually provide continuous blooms in pretty pink all summer long.
There is a huge list of perennials to choose from, but it is always a good idea to check your particular climate zone to see what plants will work in your region. Also keep in mind that perennials best survive in larger containers, so don't be surprised when your little pot of Basil doesn't make it back next year.
As for annuals? I do still leave space in my planters for a small selection, but having the perennial base makes short work of potting-day and keeps a little extra green where I enjoy it most—in my wallet!
(Image: MaryAnne Petrella)