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Small Garden, Big Plants, No Problem

March 6, 2012

So, you have a small garden, this does not mean that you must have small plants and shrubs. In some cases having small low plants may only emphasise just how tiny the garden is. The key to creating an illusion of space is to invest in plants with some height. With many people experiencing a warmer climate, it is now possible to grow some more exotic plant. Bamboo for example not only brings height to your garden, but also creates excellent privacy as it can be grown similar to hedging. There are over 1000 types of bamboo in existence, but there are only two things you really need to know before you purchase this type of plant. For the small garden it is best to avoid the rhizomes of running bamboo. Although they make great hedging, their root system will quickly spread and take over. The root system is shallow, spreading across lawns, underneath patio and will quickly dominate water supplies, killing off others plants in the garden. A more friendly type of bamboo for the small garden is clumping bamboo. As the name suggests, this type of Bamboo grows in clumps with minimum spreading to other parts of the garden. This type of bamboo grows much slower then the running bamboo, but over time will spread in a controlled fashion. For those who wish to use containers, it is advised to either re-pot as the plant increases as the strong root system will eventually break the pot.

Banana plants are another popular plant that is relatively easy to grow and manage, and can bring a real feeling of the tropics to any garden. As with most plants, they can be bought over the internet, but also check for local specialist garden centres where you can see the plant up close and choose the size and maturity that is right for you.

Once planted, make sure you water and add fertilizer during the summer months. With the unset of autumn, it is of the utmost importance that the banana plant is wrapped up using a combination of straw and a quality garden fleece. Cut of the main leaves and wrap the plant including the crown to keep frost at bay. The banana leaves can be chopped up and dug into the surrounding soil allowing the plant to re-ingest the nutrients.

One final suggestion for tall plants in a small garden is a bay tree. When purchasing, look for bay trees labeled, Laurus nobilis, or Bay Laurel as the leaves from these tress can be used for cooking. Other strains may be poisonous. Bay trees can be planted straight in the ground, or in a container pot. For the smaller garden, it is important to keep the tree pruned back, other wise it can grow up to 60ft. But do not let that put you off. There are many positives for growing a bay tree, as mentioned there is the culinary use of the leaves, apart from pruning, bay tress are quite happy to be left alone. Are not too fussed about what soil they grow in, but will thrive better in well-drained soil. Their root system is shallow and can withstand times of drought, but do appreciate a good soaking from time to time.

Finally, with your plants chosen, now allow your imagination to flow free by establishing a theme for your garden. Although many garden centers offer a range of ornaments, for something truly original, have a hunt round car boot sales and reclaiming yards. gather together an anchor, some chunky drift wood and old rope and your ships away!

So, there you have it, three very different types of plants, that can bring height, shape and texture to a small garden, a little bit of imagination and the promise of some sunshine later on and you’ll have a small garden that is perfectly formed.

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2 Comments
  1. I had a small courtyard garden in London and it was stuffed with tall, big plants. I loved the feeling of privacy and seclusion it gave me.

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