With minimal expenditure and willingness to learn, it’s entirely possible to cultivate new life on even the tiniest sliver of windowsill, balcony or courtyard.
For every cactus requiring industrial quantities of vitamin D, there’s a woodland creeper that will thrive in dimly-lit darkness. The trick is knowing your conditions. Does your space offer abundant daylight? Then you’ve got a long menu of tropical plants to choose from. If your outdoor patch is worthy of a walk-on part in a Nordic crime drama, scour your local garden centre for any number of plants that shun the sun. You could try Heuchera, an ever-green plant with crazy range of food-themed names to suit their eccentric colours. Although they’re named after cookies and cream, cherry cola, caramel and sugar plums, be warned, they’re unfortunately not edible. However they thrive in the most challenging locations, they have rich colours all year and sprout bright flowers that will be magnets for bumblebees in summer.
Herbs have specific needs, too, so choose wisely. Rosemary, thyme and lavender grow wild on the sides of dry, sandy cliffs, so if your kitchen windowsill is more Mile End than Mediterranean, check the labels for crops that enjoy low lighting, like parsley, mint and chives.