Posts tagged "vertical gardens"

Vertical Herb Garden: Living, Spinning Spice Rack

Shirley Bovshow's "Living Spice Rack" that spins and is portable.

You can make a vertical herb garden, a "living spice rack" that spins, using a repurposed tomato cage!

Vertical gardens are very popular these days because it allows you to free up your floor space without sacrificing space for gardening.

One of my favorite pasttimes is coming up with ideas to repurpose materials in the garden that most gardeners already have.

This is the case with my "Living Spice Rack" design.


Materials For Shirley Bovshow's Living Spice Rack

I imagined a lightweight, portable, and affordable vertical garden system to grow lots of herbs indoors, during the winter, or outdoors yearlong in mild climate areas.


1. Tomato Support Cages

I had to look no further than my metal tomato cage which was on it's way to the garden shed once tomato season was over.



The tomato cage with its gridlike design and sturdy composition is the perfect structure to hold a number of metal hanging baskets filled with herbs!



If you prefer wood, you can use an inexpensive wood vegetable support trellis like this one- cost $6


2. Casters and Plant Dollies

Assortment of Casters-plant-dollies-wood-plastic-edenmakersblog

Casters and plant dollies, ($15 +) are the centerpiece of the living spice rack, enabling you to spin and move the rack as needed!



Buy some metal planting baskets and cocoa liner and fill them with your favorite herbs before attaching to the tomato cage with gardening tape.

The baskets should wedge into the tomato cage openings, mine are snug.

Make sure to select the right size metal planter by checking to see that it isn't too large or small for the opening.

That's it!


Watch Video: "Vertical Herb Garden That Spins and Functions Like a "Living Spice Rack!"

Watch the videos of the Living Spice Rack that I did for my "Way to Grow" show on Digs channel and take a look at the segment I did for the Home & Family Show on

the Hallmark channel recently!



  • If using indoors, make sure to place a saucer underneath the large, main planter to catch draining water.
  • Water your living spice rack starting at the top so that the overflow water will drain onto the planters underneath it.
  • Select a large container to hold the tomato cage. It should be wide so that the rack is not top heavy and topples.
  • Spin your herb rack every few days for even sunlight exposure.
  • Enjoy!



Winter Herbs and Greens for Your Living Spice Rack

  • Parsley
  • Cilantro
  • Chives
  • Sage
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Arugula
  • Radicchio
  • Lettuce varieties
  • Kale
  • Swiss Chard
  • Rosemary

Plants for Narrow Spaces

columnar cereus plant

Planting in narrow garden beds is as much an art form as a challenge for many garden designers, myself included!

The dilemma begins at the garden center.



plants in pots


Beautiful, petite shrubs in one-gallon pots and streamlined trees in 15 gallon containers can be deceptive.

All plants grow tall and wide, just like babies and puppies, so you better know what you are planting before digging in!



You need "vertical plants!"


If you have a small, narrow yard the trick is to find plants that grow taller than wide.

Think about it.


You can fit more NBA basket ball players and super models in a small yard than sumo wrestlers, right?



columnar cereus plant



Columnar Cereus is a great example of a tall plant that fits into a narrow garden bed.

Burglars beware!

You won't be entering through these windows!



Tips and  creative ideas for selecting plants and trees for your small space


  • Select tress that have a narrow ,slender, or columnar shape. Palm, Cypress, Gingkos and Crape Myrtle trees fit into this category. Research trees that are ideal for your climate.


palm tree trunk decor

Metal art decor dresses up a plain looking Palm tree trunk.




hawthorne bush transformed to small tree


  • Transform a tall, woody shrub into a small tree by removing some of the low, lateral branches.


Wisteria tree image from

  • Train a woody vine such as this Wisteria into a small, blooming tree!



metal support

This reinforced metal cage is used to support and train the "Wisteria tree"



golden goddess bamboo hedge


Need a privacy hedge?

Golden Goddess clumping bamboo fits beautifully into this very narrow planting space.



papayrus against wall

Cyperus papayrus is a lush, tall leggy plant that looks dramatic against a wall or in tight garden spaces like this one.



lavender against wall


Narrow pathways and tiny garden beds like this one are perfect for aromatic lavender.

Brush up against it and be rewarded with perfume!

Lavender is pliable and if it gets too wide, trim the outer stems back.


ornamental grass and sweet potato


Strappy plants and ornamental grasses are also ideal plants for narrow areas.

Remove foliage around the perimeter to control it's "girth size"

Girth Control!


plant a vine over an arch


Plant your favorite vine over an arch to direct the eye upwards in a small garden.



vertical wall garden


A vertical wall garden can make a huge impact on a yard that is mostly concrete or patio!

Plant cascading evergreen and flowering plants.



three tiered garden containers


Maximize the impact of seasonal or annual flowers by planting them in stacked containers that are placed within the small garden bed.

This is a great example of a three tiered container garden vignette.




Here's an example of one of my small garden designs with plenty of tall, vertical elements and plants.

A water fountain is flanked by climbing roses in the background, tall, airy, Kangaroo Paw hedges, strappy daylilies and white tree roses

Keep in mind that if you don't have room for rose bushes, tree roses are a wonderful compromise.


So, don't tell me your yard is too small to be interesting!

It's up to you, go out and garden and don't be afraid to be creative!


More resources for small gardens:

Garden designers, Rebecca Sweet and Susan Morrison tackle the issue of small garden design in their new book about vertical gardening:

Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces


Please visit the following blogs from members of the Garden Designers Roundtable which I am proud to be  a member of.

We're  all writing about vertical and small garden design this month!


Lesley Hegarty & Robert Webber : Hegarty Webber Partnership : Bristol, UK

Pam Penick : Digging : Austin, TX »
Rebecca Sweet : Gossip In the Garden : Los Altos, CA »
Scott Hokunson : Blue Heron Landscapes : Granby, CT »
Susan Morrison : Blue Planet Garden Blog : East Bay, CA »
Tara Dillard : Vanishing Threshold : Atlanta, GA »