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