Prize: $500 American Express Gift Card
Have you been following Apartment Therapy’s Gardening School? It’s designed to help even the blackest thumbs build up the confidence to get out in the garden…and it’s working! It’s inspiring to see all your amazing pics in the #showusyourseedlings feed. So inspiring that we want to help your dream gardens get growing with a $500 AMEX Gift Card to spend on supplies! Here’s how, along with a few ideas for planning and planting.
Californians luck out with an abundance of outdoor spaces and growing seasons year-round. But even if you’ve got a small deck in the Midwest, you can draw inspiration from mid-century California cool. Succulent container gardens are great for their drought resistance and portability. Use large cacti to create height, fill low bowls with trailing succulents and rosettes for texture and set planters on risers for architectural appeal. To take it to the next level, see: How to Grow a Citrus Tree in a Container.
If you have a small side yard or a patio, an English Country Garden can give you that romantic cottage look within a limited space. Be warned: roses and wisteria aren't low-maintenance, like succulents, but they're great if you love to garden. Let your patio or path structure your garden, and plant pockets of fragrant flowers (honeysuckle, lavender, hyacinth) along the edges. For more, see: Planning Your Planting: Tips for Making a Garden Plan.
The Tuscan Style mixes natural materials like terracotta and wood with signature plantings, like rosemary and citrus trees. To modernize the look, use succulents and herbs in tiered planters or containers. People often associate Tuscan gardens with big backyards, but terraces are perfect for this style, since the mix of stone, clay, edibles and ornamental plants makes a big impact in a small space. For more, see: Choosing the Right Plants for Your Space & Lifestyle.
If you live in an urban area, why not make the most of materials like cinder blocks or concrete to build a planter wall? It's architectural upcycling! Note that if you're growing edibles or herbs in these kinds of structures, you'll want to set a smaller container within the cinder block to prevent the soil from absorbing any unwanted materials. For more, see: The Secret to Success: It's All About the Soil.
Even on a tiny balcony, this style can feel calm and lush at the same time. Hang curtains on your terrace to create an enclosure, use hurricanes with candles for ambience, add simple seating and use a double-duty ottoman for storage and surface space. The trick is to keep the palette simple: whites, woven grasses and green plants like palms, ferns and bamboo. For more, see: Shop to It: The Gardening School Shopping List.
Tips to Get Growing
Whichever garden style you choose, you can't get it growing without the right potting mix and plant food. For anyone starting a container garden, Miracle-Gro has two recommendations:
1. Miracle-Gro Potting Mix: It works for indoor or outdoor plants, includes premium plant food in the mix and keeps plants fed for up to 6 months.
2. Miracle-Gro Water Soluble Plant Food: Just mix it into your watering can (per the instructions) and give it to your plants every 1–2 weeks to keep them happy.
How to Enter
To enter to win a $500 American Express gift card, fill out the form below. The sweepstakes begins June 4, 2016 at 10:15 am ET and ends June 16, 2016 at 11:59 ET. One winner will be chosen at random. By entering the Miracle-Gro Sweepstakes, you are accepting the official rules.