Green Balcony in the winter in Vancouver

Discussion in 'Small Space Gardening' started by from elsewhere, Sep 11, 2009.

  1. from elsewhere

    from elsewhere Member

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    Hi There!
    I was hoping someone would be able to suggest some plants that would do well on a fire escape/balcony which faces west in Vancouver. There is a metal awning over the fire escape/balcony which partially protects it and in the summer it gets full sun from about 1pm until basically sunset.
    I would like to have something green out there with some kind of color - something other than evergreen shrubbery - that can take away some of the doldrums the grey rainy skies can bring during the winter season. Is there anything that I could place there that would survive the rain?
    Also, I wanted to put a potted rowan tree there too - unless it wouldn't do well under those conditions - whaddayathink?
    Many thanks for any suggestions....
     
  2. Ron B

    Ron B Esteemed Contributor 10 Years

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    Look for ideas at an independent garden center. Ones here often have display planters near access routes, as well as planted containers made up to sell for fall/winter use.
     
  3. dt-van

    dt-van Active Member 10 Years

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    Potted bamboo is a nice evergreen choice because the lighter colour and texture are quite different from our dark green rhodos & conifers and although most are fully hardy here they have a tropical feel. They are available in a wide height range with different colours of stem and sometimes varigated leaves.
    I once saw a great small space balcony arrangement which used bamboo plants in 2 or 3 nice large 'oriental' style pots, a backdrop screen made of bamboo poles of varying heights to block an unsightly view, and a sculpture to create a soothing meditation garden look in a very tiny space. They also had a few large decorative rocks. In this case the balcony was very narrow and had no room for furniture but was lovely to look at from inside the house. Their sculpture was a buddha but you could choose something from China, Thailand, Hawaii, Indonesia or whatever suited your theme. If you balcony is protected by a roof you could use grass mats for flooring to further develop a tropical theme. You could have a smaller pot and splurge on one colourful blooming pot plant each season (a cyclamen, chrysanthemum etc) to further brighten the view.
     
  4. suz12

    suz12 Member

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    In our old apartment in Vancouver, we had a small (3x10 ft) north-west facing balcony where we had a rhododendron, western cedar, and western hemlock for year-round greenery. In the summer, we also had a cherry tree, vine maple, strawberries, runner beans and a bunch of other herbs and veggies - we were amazed at what grew with relatively little direct sunshine.
     

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  5. wcutler

    wcutler Renowned Contributor Forums Moderator VCBF Cherry Scout 10 Years

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    This fire escape - is it supposed to be an escape route? You're thinking of using a section that's not between you and your access to the ground, right?
     
  6. canadiyank

    canadiyank Active Member

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    suz12 - that looks amazing, I love it.
     
  7. stoneangel

    stoneangel Active Member VCBF Cherry Scout

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    Try a Fatsia Japonica. Large, shiny, palmate leaves. I think it grows to 6' tall. It grows well in pots and likes semi-shade. If you are able to; try a clemantis. Another great climber is a passionflower. It's an vigorous evergreen and has spectacular flowers. It's easy to grow, but requires a lot of water to flower properly. If you get any direct sun, try the shrub, Choisya (sundance). The foliage turns a golden yellow in the sun. It produces small, fragrant, white flowers in the early spring.
     
  8. stoneangel

    stoneangel Active Member VCBF Cherry Scout

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    Here are some shots of my north facing balcony.
     

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  9. Dana09

    Dana09 Active Member

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    Check the winter hardiness of some of those suggestions before you buy.
    Last winter I found that any bamboos I did not have at the very least - touching the ground - they were killed by the severe winter.

    Passion vine was killed back to ground level and re-grew in Aug. That's with it totally planted in the ground.

    So, if you don't mind them dying in winter go for it, otherwise check.

    They're green but how about some mounding 'evergreens' . I found a couple for my fountain area for winter & their shapes, colour and cascade effect catch the eye in a nice way. They make for a nice back-drop for the summer flowers too.

    D

    Which variety of passion is this one?
    Colour?

    Thks
    D
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2009
  10. stoneangel

    stoneangel Active Member VCBF Cherry Scout

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    I'm not certain. Here's a pic.
     

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