Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Gardening leave

I have a new obsession.

Well, it's not very new, for years I've been creating miniature collections of plants as displacement activity when I ought to be heaving nettles and other thugs out of the borders. But I wanted to find some new plants to include in my tiny gardens and that's where the obsession grew from. Naively I thought that a quick hunt round the internet would produce lots of other people with a similar interest, and that I would soon be armed with loads of new ideas.

That's when I discovered that, as usual, I am out of step with the rest of the world. Apparently, people who make miniature gardens aren't primarily interested in the green contents of their containers. Instead they spend a great deal of time finding tiny garden benches and the miniature equivalent of fishing gnomes to go in them. I get the impression that any old plant will do as long as you can clip it small enough. Whereas the only non-plant elements I am prepared to add are interesting bits of rock or the odd piece of sea-glass.

So I've been researching tiny plants - sometimes frustratingly, when I can't find out how tall things will ultimately grow. I can foresee years of battling to grow oddities from seed, or losing treasured plants over winter - my gardens are expected, so far at least, to fend for themselves all year round, and I already know that gentians and lewisias don't do well. I may have to relax my rules slightly for the latter, and build little rocky grottoes to protect them from the wet!



I love this blue glazed bowl, and  just adore the way the tiny blue starry flowers (Pratia pedunculata) have spread all over. In fact, I'm busy transplanting bits of it to other containers, I don't mind if it takes over completely.

If anyone else is particularly interested in this gardening cul-de-sac, I have a board on Pinterest where I'm collecting my ideas - I'd welcome suggestions for plants that can be kept tiny or, if you know of books that cover this form of gardening.

11 comments:

  1. I have no ideas or anything, everything in our garden seems to be thuggish, but I just think what you've created there is absolutely lovely. I was just thinking that a coastal themed one would be lovely, except that the only coastal plant I can think of is thrift and that's thuggish too. LOL!

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    1. Cath, I have thrift in two containers, and it's not too thuggish up here - one is white and growing alongside clove pinks, it's done wonderfully, flowering for ages. I do like the idea of a coastal theme and shall give it some serious thought - in fact, ideas are beginning to emerge already, based on the local dune plants. It would have to be for next year now, but thanks for a great suggestion!

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  2. I love the blue dish, what a gorgeous colour! Miniature gardens - what a delightful idea. That's a beautiful one you have there, Geranium Cat. I'll see if I come across any ideas in my books and travels as I look for plants for my garden. How high can the plants be for your containers?

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    1. Thanks, Susan! I think that 6-8 inches is about my limit on height - that's what I've been looking for during my reserach. Shrubby plants or miniature trees could be a little taller - I don't mind remaking gardens when plants outgrow them, so I do sometimes use conifers, and I'm exploring the idea of creating "bonsai-type" trees. I don't want to do "proper" bonsai, that's OH's territory :-) - fiddly stuff!

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  3. I can just picture how some people will clutter up their miniature gardens with all sorts of stuff, from benches to gnomes! Yours is much nicer, with the emphasis being on the flowers.

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  4. Simply lovely and a grotto would be fab!

    Do I spot an erodium there? I used to have a collection of them in troughs. Some of them can spread more than you'd want for your baby gardens. I also had a plant whose name I can't remember, rats. It has tiny white flowers which are scented at night and I think the name begins with Z. What am I like? Perhaps it will ring bells with you...

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    1. Erodium it is! And yes, they can be a bit spready, but winter here helps to sort that out. A collection on troughs sounds lovely.

      Not sure about the scented white flowers - I'll look out for possibilities. Sounds nice.

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  5. I too have blue containers in which I grow sempervivums. These succulents come in all shapes and colours and are very easy care. I like to add heart shaped white pebbles that I find on the beach when I walk my small dog. Jenny.

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  6. I'm a bit erratic about sempervivums - I have one very nice small clump, and lots that have died! I love the spider-web ones though.

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    1. Perhaps it is because I live in Cornwall and the climate is more suitable for them? How about alpines, saxifrages are very lovely and minature grasses? In one of my pots a heather has self seeded, it will have to come out because it will carry on getting bigger.. Also of course dandelions!!!! Jenny

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