Just because you don't have your very own noble acreage out back doesn't mean you can't put your withered-up, pathetic little urban green thumb to work. All you apartment or "loft"-bound city folk can still make the most of the flowering season with your own miniature balcony or deck garden. Here's some divine inspiration from the goddesses of spring -- us!
1. Gourmet florists East of Eliza will do up your very own naturally lovely balcony concoctions like this Hypertufa bowl with curry plant grasses and purple leaf clover (1960 Gerrard East, 416-691-8038, $70). Hypertufa, by the way, is a mixture of cement and three mosses that allows minerals to be released over time, helping the plants retain moisture and promoting blooming.
If you have to water the damn things all the time, you might as well use a cute watering can (2, IKEA, 1475 the Queensway, 416-646-4532 and 15 Provost, 416-222-4532, $2.50). If you don't have the patience for real blooms, try a reasonable facsimile thereof (3, IKEA, $7.95). And you don't even have to go far to get some green -- your local grocery store probably has a good basic selection. Just put it in the pot and fluff. (4, Tropical fern, Loblaws Gardens, Queen's Quay Market, 10 Lower Jarvis, 416-304-0611,and others, $19.99). Chase the buggies away in style with a purple spiral incense coil (5, IKEA, $5.95).
Go beyond your average plastic balcony planters with elaborate wrought-iron containers planted with moss, Spanish lavender, Martha Washington geranium, fuchsia, vinca and Million Bells petunia (6, East of Eliza, $130), a Hypertufa trough planted with echevaria stonecrop and hens 'n' chicks (7, East of Eliza, $95) or a slate-finish metal container planted with heliotrope, ivy, pansies and Osteospermum Spoonbill -- and no, we don't know what that last plant is, either, that's just what the fancy florist told us (9, East of Eliza, $80). For those with simpler tastes, try some plain old pretty mums in a bright little ceramic pot (8, flowers, Loblaws, $3.99; pot, IKEA, $4), a hanging strawberry plant (10, Loblaws, $12.99) or a technicolour hydrangea (11, Loblaws, $19.99).
And you're going to need to sit and admire the view, so kick back on a snappy small balcony table (12, IKEA, table $89, chair $35), have a drinkie-poo (13, IKEA, jug $3.50, tumblers $2 and tray $5.95) and watch the sun go down.With files from Alan Wan