Keen gardeners usually have more plants on their wish list than space to plant them in. So often I hear the lament "I need a shoehorn to get one more plant in this garden". I am a firm believer that gardens, just like clothes closets, need to be regularly cleaned out. The plants that don't perform well in your garden or take up more than their fair share of space can be reduced in size or removed. Many gardeners have also down sized from much larger properties. They still want a nice selection of interesting plants but are working with a much smaller space.
Fortunately plant breeders have done a great job of "shrinking" some of your favourites. I love Monarda (bee balm) in our huge borders but I know that not everyone can afford to have a two-meter swath of it. How about 'Grand Marshall' or 'Grand Parade' which have just as much flower power but take up far less space. Many of these smaller varieties do not need division as frequently because their rate of growth is slower.
If you love Ligularia, but can't find a spot for this great big shade lover try 'Dragon's Breath' or 'Little Rocket'.
Twenty miniature hostas will fit in a one-meter square space. Five little hostas and a couple of the smaller ferns make a perfect shade container planting.
Echinacea 'Pink Double Delight' blooms for eight weeks and five plants take up less space than two of the bigger varieties. 'Little Annie' and 'Pow Wow Wild Berry' are also great Echinaceas for smaller gardens.
'Chocoholic' is a brand new pint sized Actaea (a.k.a.,Cimicifuga) which will have just as much impact in a planting as its larger relatives.
Dwarf conifers can be included for texture and year round interest. They grow so slowly they will never outgrow their designated space. Even balconies can hold many of these pint-sized charmers.
GardenAway doesn't have a specific search for conifers, however a search for compact needled evergreens or compact broadleaf evergreens will provide you lots of ideas for your small space. Click the Refine button on the Search Results for more options (e.g. hardiness zone).
You can save any of the plants you find or the searches above by clicking the Clip button on the search results page or the plant page. Learn more about Clipping.
If you are space challenged don't despair -- choose the right varieties and you can throw that shoehorn away.
photo courtesy Walter's Gardens