Garden Photo of the Day

Downsized But Still Gardening

After moving into a condo, this gardener is still at it

Today we’re visiting Anna McLeod’s garden—which is perched on a ninth-floor balcony! Never say you don’t have the space to garden.

My husband and I gave up our house and moved into a condo so we could travel, but I could never give up my love of plants and gardening! So now I garden in the urban jungle in pots. So far I have four different Japanese maples (Acer palmatum, Zones 5–9), a plum tree (Prunus sp.), a bay tree (Laurus nobilis, Zones 8–10), and many pots. We live in Vancouver, British Columbia, in Zone 7/8. Our space faces the southwest, so it gets extremely hot on the ninth floor and can be very windy. My husband installed a drip-line water system on a timer, which makes life much easier. And since I’m in a wheelchair, it’s tough to carry watering cans around. We will be adding more pots and more perennials, but this is our little garden oasis. Hope you enjoy the photos!

A view of the patio, with pots overflowing with plants. Small trees like Japanese maples are great choices for container gardening, because they thrive in containers but don’t outgrow the space.

A comfortable bench for sitting and enjoying the garden and the view.

Hanging baskets are a great way to add more plants to a small garden by making use of the vertical space.

Just because you are gardening on a patio or balcony doesn’t mean you can’t grow food! Look for dwarf fruit trees (this is a plum) that won’t outgrow your space.

A new Japanese maple settling in, ready to grow and fill in this garden.

Succulents are great options for containers and for sunny, windy spots because they are tolerant of drying out. If you put in an automatic watering system, like Anna has, watering will be much less of a chore, but be sure to check the soil periodically to make sure it isn’t staying too wet or too dry. Each plant needs different amounts, with succulents like these using a little, and larger plants needing a lot more.


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View Comments


  1. LauraJaneS 04/30/2019

    Looks great Anna! That second last shot makes me want to go walk out and visit Vancouver. Hope spring has found you.
    -Laura from Ottawa.

  2. User avater
    meander_michaele 04/30/2019

    I love your photos and feel inspired by your story...a great lesson of "Where there's a will, there's a way." Your plant adorned balcony area is beautiful and, oh, my, those hanging baskets are so, so gorgeous. How wonderful that your husband installed a drip irrigation system so the watering of your beauties isn't a chore.

  3. User avater
    treasuresmom 04/30/2019

    Wow! Love those JM's. Well, I love it all.

  4. btucker9675 04/30/2019

    Beautiful patio garden! I have just under a half acre yard to garden, but still have many pots on our back porch, including two Japanese maples. Keep on gardening!

  5. carolineyoungwilliams 04/30/2019

    Anna, Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful flowers, fruits and words of encouragement; I enjoyed them all. You have proven that you can do anything that you set in your mind to do. Your will and determination will be my example to press on in spite of any obstacles that may come my way today. Enjoy your travel. Celebrate life.....

  6. cheryl_c 04/30/2019

    Anna, thank you so much for showing us that moving to a condo does not mean we have to give up serious gardening! Your balcony is so inviting, and I love that you are planting trees on the 9th floor! If we are healthy enough to live long enough, we will all be faced with those downsizing decisions and you have given us a model that is inspiring. Thank you!

  7. Mashabear21 12/02/2021

    This is so beautiful.

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