Small space doesn’t mean small looks in garden

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 15, 2000

Just because you have a small area to work with, doesn’t mean that you can’t have a beautiful garden. On the contrary. Many plants lend themselves well to small or tight spaces. With proper plant material selection, a little ingenuity, and imagination, a small garden situation can have big results.

If you want a colorful and inviting display outside your front door, creative combinations are effective and fun to grow. Container gardening is a practical way to grow small plants in small spaces. Flower pots, hanging baskets, wall planters and window boxes can support a variety of fabulous plants.

When choosing your plants, take into consideration the height, spread, and general culture requirements. Color, texture and fragrance may also be evaluated. Choose plants to border the container, with something taller for the center or back of the pot. For example, a terra cota pot planted with bright peach geraniums is lovely.

Email newsletter signup

White sweet alyssum and blue scaevola spilling over the edge of the pot is absolutely a stunning combination. Just remember to make sure that plants have similar light and water requirements.

Create a theme for your containers. One big pot of rosemary and variegated lemon thyme is a great choice for an herbal container garden. A third plant, such as onion chives or one with edible blossoms may add a final touch. ‘Spicy Globe’ basil, parsley, creeping rosemary, garlic chives, sweet marjoram and oregano are other culinary possibilities. Container herb gardens just outside the door of an apartment can provide lots of interest and flavor.

Colorful foliage plants combined with flowering plants are fun to plant. Tall purple fountain grass and Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ would be interesting throughout the year, reaching their peak in the fall. Tiny, silver, heart shaped leaves of ‘Petite’ licorice (Helichrysum petiolare) would be attractive draping over the edge of this plant mixture.

Planting small plants in small spaces can be fun and a challenging way to test your creative skills. Low growing plants along a path or walkway make for an inviting place to tread.

Small flowers and foliage can create a woven look between stepping stones. Many times small plants can soften the edges of concrete walk.

Tiny ground covers with miniature leaves are appealing and fun watch grow. Traditionally, pennyroyal was planted outside the doorway of a home to ward off insects and mice. This creeping mint forms a dense, fragrant, green carpet with lavender flowers in summer. Baby’s tears and chartreuse ‘Sunshine’ veronica are other standouts for tiny creeping plants. White or purple flowering Mazus reptans is a mat forming perennial that blooms in early spring, and like the others, prefers moist shady conditions.

Strawberry geranium, also known as strawberry begonia, is an attractive, evergreen ground cover that spreads by runners. Dark green leaves etched in silver make this a beautiful plant for a shady spot with plenty of moisture. In spring, delicate white flowers stand above the foliage creating a light, airy look. When planted to border a pot or flower bed of impatiens, it is a wonderful match.

Warm season annuals for small places can be found in any color of the rainbow. ‘Romance Mix’ verbena is a favorite due to it’s rich, vibrant colors. Periwinkle is an easy to grow plant for a small, sunny place. Cherry tomatoes, peppers and marigolds would certainly make an interesting combination for the vegetable gardener. For the, shady location, begonias, impatiens or torenia are ideal for lots of color.

Don’t let a small space discourage you from gardening. Even the tiniest of places can be home to some great plants. With imagination and proper plant selection, your small spaces can yield ‘big’ results.

Gardening Miss-Lou Style is a weekly column written by Traci Maier of Natchez. She can be reached at 445-5181 or by email at