Gardening without a garden


Once upon a time, you needed fields, barns and possibly a tractor to live the country life. But not anymore. In her new book The Rurbanite, Alex Mitchell shows you can grow vegetables, keep ducks and commune with nature right in the heart of the city. And, as she explains here, you don’t even need a garden to get growing!

City gardens: fit for a pharaoh


For urban gardeners a patch of outdoor space provides a precious oasis from the rush and stress of busy city life. And, while ancient Egyptians faced very different pressures, they viewed their gardens in much the same way – as a place to escape from the outside world and to relax physically and spiritually.

Turn a balcony into a garden

by Rhiannon James

A balcony may be small but it’s precious. It’s an effortless escape to the great outdoors; an urban eyrie; our own private piece of sky. Balconies are now considered so vital to the wellbeing of people living in cities in fact, that almost every new flat built in London will soon have to include one (if it doesn’t come with a garden).

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012: the gardens (3)

by Rhiannon James

Many city- and town-dwellers don’t have a garden to call their own and so this year, the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is also celebrating the community spaces which give everyone a place to grow food and flowers.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012: the gardens (2)

by Rhiannon James

The conceptual category at RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show is the place for designs that reflect on themes, ideas and issues beyond horticulture and two young city-based designers have used their gardens to reflect on two of the most difficult periods in London’s recent history.

RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show 2012: the gardens (1)

by Rhiannon James

The world is arriving in Britain this month for the Olympics and the gardens at the RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show have got into the international spirit. While the World of Gardens section at the show presents a globe-trotting journey from Jordan to the Azores, the smaller gardens have brought inspiration from around the world home.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show 2012: the gardens

by Rhiannon James

It wouldn’t be Chelsea Flower Show without a weather-related crisis – last year it was the wind and this year of course, it’s the cold and the torrential rain. Chelsea designers and nurserymen are made of stern stuff though and have battled through floods and frosts to deliver an array of gardens with plenty of inspiration for urban spaces.

The perfume garden

by Helen Babbs

Helen Babbs follows her nose to discover the secrets of creating a successful urban scent garden, and finds out what makes fragrant flowers so appealing.

Garden design goes online

by Rhiannon James

Once upon a time, if you wanted to redesign your garden, the choice was clear. You could either call in a professional garden designer to manage the project or do it yourself with sweat, tears and squared paper. Now though, the web is providing a middle way.

Garden for birds: tips for urban plots

by Linda Harrison

There’s nothing quite like being serenaded by birdsong in the middle of a city. But some timid avian visitors can remain elusive in urban gardens, no matter how chilly the weather is or how much food you put out.