Round Colour For The Small Garden
16 June 2003
Small is beautiful. The limiting size of a garden
is no excuse for it being uninteresting and
dull. There are small trees suitable for pot
Where size matters is recognising that plants
do become larger. If they are incorrectly spaced
they will become overcrowded spoiling each other
in the process. Prunus Ama-no-gawa will form
a beautiful, pale pink, spring flowering cherry
tree up to 25 ft in height but after 20 years
it may only have a spread of 3 ft.
Bulbs take up little space but are invaluable
for splashes of colour. There is a succession
of species which will provide colour and interest
throughout the 12 months of the year. They can
form a second
low carpet of colour under taller growing deciduous
For a spring display there are many shrubs to
choose from but my favourites include Cytisus
praecox (broom), Cheanomeles x superba (quince,cydonia
) and Ledum groenlandicum (Labrador tea plant).
late spring the evergreen Mexican Orange blossoms
are magnificent. Choisya ternata and C. ‘Aztec
Pearl’ have fragrant white flowers and
aromatic foliage. C. ‘Sundance’
produces bright yellow leaves. They will probably,
in time, grow too large for a small garden but
can be successfully grown in containers for
many years. They also tolerate hard pruning
to keep them in shape. Summer is the time for
roses and there are varieties to suit the smallest
of spaces. Don’t be fooled
by patio and ground cover roses. They can be
very vigorous quickly covering a large area.
Grown up a wall or timber framework they use
little space but provide maximum colour in summer
and autumn. The smaller
hebes such as H. ‘Youngii’, H.ochracea
‘James Stirling’, and H. ‘Red
Edge’look good all year round especially
when flowering in summer.
Annuals come into their own from June until
September and it is possible to have a riot
of colour in a flower pot. Where space permits
erect wire support for sweet pea. The more you
cut the flowers the
more you get and they are beautifully scented.
Autumn brings a late flurry of herbaceous plants
including the asters (Michaelmas daisies), Golden
rod (Solidago) and Red hot pokers (Kniphofia).
Dwarf Japanese maples (Acer palmatum and its
varieties) outclass most other plants for autumn
leaf colour and are happy in a large container.
The tiny rowantree, Sorbus reducta, only grows
to 2-3 ft with superb autumn leaf colour and
red berries. Winter may leave you with less
to pick from but what you get is magic. Christmas
confusa is small and evergreen with tiny white
flowers and a fragrance to equal the most expensive
perfume. Jasminum nudiflorum with its bright
yellow flowers and dark green stems is happy
to climb up a support.
Gaultheria mucronata is evergreen with tiny
leaves and large clusters of berries ranging
from white through pink to deepest red and purple.
Small garden -you have maximum colour and minimum
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