Some of the prettiest gardens in
With the lawn confined to the front yard, the back yard had mulched
paths, and yes, usually a tiny pond with a pump to create the sound of
water. One of them had a solar
fountain that only worked on sunny days.
Another had an in ground garbage can containing a tiny pump.
The top was a grate covered with rocks. The center big rock was
drilled through for a pipe and the pump kept water running down the rocks.
Birds and people both like the sound of water, so there was a bench
close by to enjoy it. The
rocks were also enjoyed by Butterflies who could drink from the thin
layers of water on the rocks as it returned to the garbage can down the
Since the yard is small it actually gives you more time and energy
to do more for what you have without costing as much.
First place to start is your soil.
When you add as much compost as possible, plants can be closer
together than in poor soil. In
other words, each plant becomes a showpiece.
If you don’t make your own compost or mulch there is bagged
manure, compost, or mulch. In
one garden she made all raised beds by adding these.
She left only her paths at ground level.
This took several years to build up the soil level, but drainage is
about perfect, and adequate moisture is held by the fluffy new topsoil.
It is almost impossible to have too much compost.
If you go on a tour of Lincoln Rose gardens and ask their secret,
most will say “horse manure.” Make
sure the manure, from whatever source, has aged so the weed seeds have
already grown and died. This can then be added as a new layer on top your
old, and will smother your garden weed seeds.
You can even have trees in these small yards – both fruit and
ornamental! Some might like a
tall skinny tree such as the Colonnade Apples.
My squirrels like them and get nearly all the apples, but both have
gorgeous blooms, are very slender trees, only 4-5 feet wide.
There are a number of dwarf trees that can be grown in pots.
Bonfire Peach doesn’t have edible peaches, but has double pink
blooms and dark red leaves. Other
dwarfs do produce peaches or nectarines.
There is a slow growing Fringe Tree (Chionanthus virginicus) that
sometimes is hard to find with long, white, fringe like petals, blooming
before leafing. It likes
slightly acid soil and can do well in partial shade.
You can have a garden even on a porch!
The last few years container gardening has become very popular.
A neat garden here in
The Cannas are easy to dig as the bulbs are planted close to the
surface of the soil. I have
the six foot tall red leaved ones. After
digging I divide them to make packing them in vermiculite in the basement
easier. Small sections can dry
up. The latter part of March,
I put the sections in damp sphagnum to give them a head start either in
the basement or the garage. My
Dahlia bulbs are treated in the same way.
They aren’t divided until Spring as they tend to dry up.
Vermiculite may be drying, so this winter they went into closed
plastic bags in the garage.
For a background in one of the large pots I planted ‘Bright
Lights’ Swiss Chard. It grew
over three feet tall with yellow and red stalks.
The leaves were huge and rough surfaced to show off those colored
flat stems about three inches across.
This year’s catalog had an orange variety, so I may have to do
several pots this summer. Bacopa
hung down from the edges.
Angelona is another of my favorite pot plants that blooms all
summer in pink, white, lavender, or purple between 12 and 18 inches high.
Now, that there are both sun and shade Coleus they make excellent
pot plants anywhere. There’s
no end to the color variations to choose from.
My “Lace Stockings” with black veins filled an 18 inch pot and
grew about three feet high in full sun.
The newer Perilla Padilla that resembles a Coleus also gets that
large. Both Coleus and Perilla
can give you cuttings to have a bouquet in the house after snow arrives.