No matter how tiny the yard, or how big the landscape, there’s always room for one more flower garden. This is one time size doesn’t matter. Whether you want a pocket of bright blossoms or a container of color, flowers fill the bill. Mild winter areas mean you have a longer growing season. Many flowers such as snapdragons considered annuals in frost prone locations are perennial when frost isn’t a problem.
Use a birdbath, fountain or piece of garden art as the focal point of a small flower garden. Plant a succession of plants so you’ll have bloom all four seasons. For example, spring bulbs are followed by summer zinnias (Zinnia elegans) and fall mums (Dendranthema x grandiflorum). Use potted poinsettias (Euphorbia pulcherrima) for the holidays.
Unusual Container Gardens
Do more than create a small flower garden in a terracotta pot. Use unusual containers to set off the flowers. A child’s wagon is a movable garden. Poke holes in the bottom for drainage and plant directly in the wagon. Or fill the wagon with potted plants, then cover the soil and pots by tucking sphagnum moss around them. Instead of throwing away that weather beaten wood chair. Cut out the seat and put a pot in its place filled with trailing flowers. Create a seating area with two chairs and a bench all converted to planters. Just about anything can be used as a flower garden container if it has drainage holes and will hold soil.
If you’ve ever been to the themed entertainment parks you’ve probably seen the tiny landscapes creating miniature gardens complete with cottages. Do the same using a bird house for the cottage. Plant baby tears (Helxine soleirolii) which has tiny white flowers for the lawn around the cottage. A miniature rose bush (rosa) trimmed into a tree provides shade. Select tiny flowering plants such as sweet alyssum (Lobularia maritime) and lobelia (Lobelia erinus) for hedges. Another option is a spring bulb garden using miniature daffodils (Narcissus pseudonarcissus), tulips (Tulipa gesneriana) and Iris (Iris). Buy pre-chilled bulbs or refrigerate the bulbs for eight weeks before planting in mild winter areas.
Steal the idea from formal gardens where plants are planted in intricate designs. It might be too much to keep a large garden maintained in the design but a small one is a snap. Choose geometric shape for the garden. Circles work well. Plant a border of low growing flowers around the edge of the circle. Make an X in the circle with another kind of flower. Fill in the triangles of the X with a third kind. Another option is to spell out initials or a word with contrasting flowers.
In upscale restaurants flowers do more than act as the centerpiece. Flowers are served in salads, stuffed and decorate desserts. Create an edible flower garden with small flowers such as pansies (Violax wittrockiana) — which taste sweet, nasturtiums (Tropaeolum) which are spicy and miniature roses. Don’t use any pesticides while the flowers are growing.
Photo. Julie Anne Workman