Monday, June 17, 2024

Layered garden for a small space

Plant daffodils in the bottom layer as they like to be planted deeply.
Grape hyancinths contrasts with cushion spurge.
Every garden is so much richer for having a few of bachelor’s buttons.

Plant some obedient plants in the shady areas.

What’s layered gardening? It’s making the most of limited space.

We all tend to think horizontally when we garden, planting things side-by-side and leaving space for plants to spread their wings. But there is more ‘depth’ to your space than you might think.

True, you can garden at higher levels, using hanging baskets and planting vines. But think also about the subsoil level of the garden.

If you have limited space (and even if you don’t), you can add interest and excitement to your garden space by layering your plantings.

What to do

1. Dig several holes. Each eight to nine inches deep and as wide as you need to accommodate the plants you intend to install. Leave a foot or so of space in between the holes.

2. At the bottom of your holes, plant lilies and daffodils, side by side. Cover this with two or three inches of soil. Add Tulipa kaufmanniana, a small species tulip that blooms early, and Darwin or Appledoorn tulips, which are taller hybrids that bloom later.

3. Add more soil until you are just 2 inches below the surface. Toss in some scilla, grape hyacinth, Tulipa tarda, Iris reticulata, snowdrops or other small bulbs. Cover with soil.

4. Between your series of planting holes, plant some perennials. If the site is sunny, try some tall blue delphiniums, some perennial baby’s breath (Gypsophila) some clumps of pink monarda, some spiky blue veronica a clump or two of purple coneflower. So you’ll have colour into fall, add some Autumn Joy sedum and some bright yellow rudbeckia.

5. If the site is likely to be shady later into the summer, plant some purple obedient plant, scarlet Maltese cross, yellow false sunflower, blue or white monkshood, red, pink or white astilbe, or pink astrantia.

6. Finally, sprinkle some self-seeding annuals on top. Try some bachelor buttons, some baby’s breath, some of the shorter varieties of cosmos, love-in-a-mist (Nigella) if the site is sunny. For shade, toss in some forget-me-not seeds.

Your garden will be full and floriferous until late autumn.