The best part of having a balcony in New York City is feeling like you can have your own tiny oasis of green (and, in my case, pink, white, orange and yellow, too!)  After 3 summers of planting a balcony garden, you’d think I’d be a pro at it by now.   Not so.  In fact, I’ll admit that I actually went about creating my garden all wrong this year.  But at least I can share my tips for…

♦ how NOT to plant a balcony garden ♦

1. Wheel 3 big bags of potting soil in a rickety shopping cart from the plant store back to your apartment.  Make sure you hit a crack in the sidewalk so that the cart topples forward taking you with it.

2. Buy pretty plants at the Farmer’s market without really thinking of symmetry or your balcony’s layout.

3. Fill every pot you own with your new plants even though the pots you have are too small.

4. Spend hours at Home Depot choosing new pots and then lug them home by yourself on the subway.

5. Use a wooden spoon and your nicest measuring cup to extract plants from the too small pots and replant them in the bigger pots.

(Fortunately, my plants have forgiven me and are actually thriving nicely.)

Here’s what my balcony looks like so far this year…

pedestal pot with white geraniums


close up of white geraniums


my 2014 balcony plantings


miniature rose


herbs tomato and flower pots


orange and yellow dahlias


pink impatients


  1. lilbrigs says:

    That lady bug is precious. I have a decent sized porch in San Francisco and haven’t done anything with it yet!

    • Joana says:

      I got that ladybug watering can in Vermont a few years back. I love it, and I didn’t care that it said “age 5-10 years” on the tag;-)

      I’m itching to put in more flowers, but first I have to get more pots…

      Happy Sunday – Joana

      On Sat, May 10, 2014 at 6:46 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  2. ma says:

    Ah so pretty! Can’t wait to see it! (ps, move the impatiens to the shade, please : )
    Wish my garden looked so neat. I love the new pots!

    xox Mm

    • Joana says:

      Hi Meh-meh,

      Ok, I moved the impatiens to the shade…such as it is on my balcony! I’m hoping to find a plant stand of some sort at the flea market with you on Sunday. I think I need a little height against the divider wall. And I want nicer patio furniture, too (but I only want to pay $20 for it). Just think, you can help me lug it all back!

      Love, J

      On Sat, May 10, 2014 at 10:45 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  3. Oh man… I’m so car reliant where I live, the challenges of planning how to tote everything home in a new york apt setting sounds intense (and a bit humorous too. But only in a humorous way that I’d probably look back and laugh about AFTER the fact, lol)

    Your plants are beautiful. I especially like the orange.

    • Joana says:

      Hi Celeste,

      Yes, it is a challenge at times to schlep things around the city. When we first moved in, we visited the Bed Bath and Beyond (about 30 blocks from our apartment) and decided to walk home with our purchases since it was a nice day. We were quite the sight carrying mops and garbage pails all the way home. 😉

      I actually love NOT having a car. It’s so nice not to have to be paying for gas and worrying about upkeep on a car. Plus, I love having excuses to be outside…

      I hope you are having a very happy Mother’s Day!

      XOX – Joana

      On Sun, May 11, 2014 at 9:14 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


        • Joana says:

          Hi Celeste,

          The next time you come to the Big Apple, I hope you’ll let me know. I’d love to meet you in person!

          🙂 Joana

          On Mon, May 12, 2014 at 7:29 AM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  4. Helen Reich says:

    The most important thing to think about is light conditions. In my experience, nothing is more crucial to plant health than having the right kind of light. With that in mind, leave the impatiens in the sun, contrary to what your mother has suggested! It is a New Guinea impatiens, which requires sun or part shade…..the other kind of impatiens is definitely a shade plant.

    • Joana says:

      Aha! And I just moved the impatiens to the shade. I’m going right back out to rearrange them (put them back in the sun) since I like that arrangement better anyway. The farmer lady who sold me the impatiens did say that they could tolerate the sun. And they seemed to be doing just fine… What does my mother know anyway? 😉

      Thanks for the help, Helen!

      Ciao dearie, Joana

      On Sun, May 11, 2014 at 12:30 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


    • Joana says:

      Let alone know how to spell them! I thought they were “impatients,” but I was too *impatient* to check and see if I was right or not. (Not!)

      I hope you had a nice day off from the “factory.” 🙂

      Ciao dearie, Joana

      On Mon, May 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM, JOANA MIRANDA STUDIO wrote:


  5. June LaRocca Caroll says:

    Love the pots! They are much less threatening to me than the actual ground.
    And in spite of the winter here, many of the annuals actually return. I agree, you need some verticals, and something vinish like the clematis, which I have all but abused and they still come back. I can just see lush vines on that fence! Good luck! And Happy Birthday!!

    much love, T

    • Joana says:

      Hi T,

      Yes, I think I’m a “pot” gardener, too. It’s a little overwhelming to have to take care of a lawn and garden – less so to just have to dead-head flowers and water a handful of pots. My balcony looks even better now. My mom and I went to the flea market together and she bought me a wonderful plant stand (made from a vintage iron grate) as well as a climbing tropical flower and some sedum. I think I’m done buying plants for this summer, but I still need to transplant my tomato into a bigger pot and put the new climbing flower plant into the pot the tomato is now in.

      I’ll post some pictures again when I’ve got those tasks accomplished.

      Love you,

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