General Gardening

Start a Friendship Garden on Your Windowsill

Crassula Plant WindowsillA "friendship garden" is a small section of a garden consisting of plants received as gifts from friends or family members, or plants grown from seeds or cuttings of friends' plants. You may have a clone of a plant from a friend or family member who lives halfway around the country – or halfway around the world! Tending to and enjoying your friendship garden will remind you of all the people in your life who mean a lot to you. Even decades later, the memories will still grow on in your garden.

A sunny windowsill is the perfect spot for a small friendship garden. Start your garden today by asking some friends and family members if you can take cuttings from their plants. And you can help them get started on their gardens by offering them a piece of yours. If they live far away, it is easy to participate in a seed exchange with them.

There are many public friendship gardens (see Public Gardens Listing), which are a symbol of bringing different people together. Charlotte, N.C., Georgetown, Ky., Phoenix, Ariz., San Diego and San Jose, Calif., and Washington D.C., are just a few cities with friendship gardens.

Not only are there friendship gardens, but there are actually friendship plants! The Subtropical Botanical Garden in Sochi, Russia, is home to the Friendship Tree, a symbol of international friendship. People from 167 different countries have grafted citrus sprigs to it. Each graft has a metal tag attached to it with the grafter's name and the date it was attached.

Do you have a friendship garden? We want to hear about it! Tell us about it on Facebook or send your story and a photo of your garden to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Friendship garden stories and photos may be published on

Gardener's Library: How to Grow Practically Everything

How to Grow Practically Everything book is a must-have for every balcony container gardener's bookshelf. Click on the book’s title or photo to visit and learn more.


Gardener's Library: Garden Up!

Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces is a must-have for every balcony container gardener's bookshelf. Click on the book’s title or photo to visit and learn more.


Protect Your Balcony Floors with Raised Containers

 Jude Adamson

A simple tip to keeping your balcony floors in good condition is to keep your plant containers off the floors. Setting them directly on the floor can cause a lot of water to sit on the floor, which can slowly lead to damage.

There are products you can buy, called pot risers or pot feet, which you can place underneath the pot. These work well, but you can also use plant stands, plant container caddies or rollers (very handy if you want to move plants around or have heavy plants), or improvise and place other items below the plant's pot. Just make sure that the container plant won't easily fall over!

If you use dishes underneath your plant pots, it will protect your floor but may also collect water after it rains or if you overwater. Water that is left in the dishes may attract mosquitoes and other garden pests, and it will keep the potting soil too moist and may eventually lead to root rot. I personally use plant dishes under my plant pots, and I drain the water onto the floor or into another pot so the plant doesn't sit in stagnant water for too long.

In the photo above, the containers are raised with simple bricks. Any item that is sturdy, level and will not break down outdoors in the elements will work as a plant riser.

Now go out there and get your plant pots off the ground!

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