In my last article that appeared in the Times Wednesday 24th May, I discussed the difficulty of plant selection for smaller blocks due to the availability of the green space that remains after the home is constructed.
Continuing on from that article is a selection of plant species that you can choose to enhance that smaller space.
There has been great interest in the golden flowering trees that are in full bloom in the parks, Council gardens and footpath plantings in the Logan and
Beaudesert zones. Gardeners have been keen to identify this magnificent plant and to purchase it for their gardens. I am referring to the native ‘Golden Penda’ Xanthostemon chrysanthus. For those of you with smaller gardens you should only plant the smaller growing form that was developed a few years ago and given the common name ‘Fairhill Gold’. This beautiful form only grows to 3 meters with a spread of around 2 meters. Well suited to smaller spaces and can be pruned after flowering to help maintain its shape. (The original Xanthostemon chrysanthus has the potential to grow to 8 meters plus with a spread of 8 meters so check the plant tag to confirm which form you are purchasing.
If you want to grow a nice flowering easy to grow hedge or garden specimen, the rich red flowering Metrosideros ‘Little dugald’ would be a good choice, tolerating both full sun or part shade. Growing from 1-2 meters and with a meter spread. Once established will handle light to medium frost. When used as a garden specimen, just a light clip after flowering to keep a compact habit.
For low growing hedging or as a border plant, the outstanding and compact Acmena ‘Allyn majic’ is an ideal plant for small gardens. Grows to 50cm with a similar spread. Small leafed evergreen that produces bronze colourful foliage during its many growth flushes. Tolerant to moderate frost, and handles full sun to part shade. Makes an excellent tub specimen for sunny patios and is disease and pest resistant.
The multicoloured leafed dwarf Nandina domestica nana is another very tough low growing plant that suits use as a border plant in full sun. Very tolerant to poor soil types and handles high traffic areas that you get along pathways and driveways, due to its flexible stems and foliage.
For the more shaded zones you can choose from the many Gardenia forms. One I have used in previous landscapes is Gardenia florida a beautiful glossy leafed small shrub that produce scented white double flowers. Easily maintained to a meter high.
Another is Gardenia ‘Buttons’ that is tolerant of deep shade and full sun. Produces white more open semi double flowers throughout spring and summer. (I have seen good flowering even during winter in our zone.) ‘Buttons’ has a naturally tidy shape and very low maintenance needs. Soils for all Gardenias needs to be moist but well drained and slightly acidic. If you are not sure about your soil type, talk to a professional nurseryman.
In the next article I will give some valuable tips on sustainable gardening for smaller gardens. “The mini backyard orchard”.
Jon (Plantman) Lovett