Small Garden Design Tips

Creating and enjoying a garden even in the smallest of spaces

Archive for the ‘flower garden design’ Category

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Dress up your dinner plate with flowers from your small garden.

“>Hanging Nasturtium - edible flowers for small gardens

Can the flowers you grow do double duty?  If you plant edible flowers, enjoy them as they grow in your garden and then use them to dress up your dinner plate too!

Are you growing chives in your small herb garden?  Then you already have edible flowers to add to your culinary creations.  Chive blossoms can be used in salads and vinegars.  Pick the flower heads apart and add to a salad for a light onion flavor.

A common edible flower is Nasturtium.  Nasturtiums are easy to grow and incorporate into small garden designs.  They work well in hangers or containers.  The climbing variety lends well to a vertical format and they come in multiple colors – yellows, oranges, and reds.  I’ve added them to a dinner plate for great color and peppery taste.

How to know which flowers are edible?  You should always be careful before eating any flower. Check out this Edible Flowers Chart  for guidance.  You’ll find that rose petals, lilac, and lavender are other flowers that can be incorporated into your recipes.  Even the flowers of weeds have found their way into recipes…dandelion wine anyone?


Peonies…a sign of spring.

Posted by admin on May 13, 2012 under flower garden design, small garden design

“>After the first bulbs of spring bloom – crocus, hyacinth, tulips, jonquil – the beauty of the peonies, a sure sign of spring Peonies for Spring Small Garden Designsbegin to bloom.   With their sumptuous flowers in colors ranging from white to yellow, light pink, dark pink and red, peonies are a perrenial favorite.

Peonies grow with lush foliage providing large blooms that are often fragrant.  They grow from 2 to 4 feet in height and provide booms that are great cut flowers.  With few pest, they make a great addition to any small garden design for adding blooms from spring to early summer.

Peonies love sunny areas and can survive for years undisturbed.  They usually require little to no maintenance, although they may need dividing if they become overcrowded.  At the end of the blooming season, cut down the foliage.  Because they’re perennials, the peonies will re-sprout and bloom the next season.

Notice ants on your peonies?  Whatever you do, don’t break out the insecticide or despair.  Ants are seem to be attracted to some peonies, especially the unopened blooms.  They won’t do harm.  Once the blooms open, the ants seem to go away.

Looking for more info on peonies?  Check out the Frequently Asked Questions at the  Heartland Peony Society.

New Planting Zones for Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Jan 28, 2012 under flower garden design, small garden design

Did you know the USDA has updated the Plant Hardiness Zone Map for 2012?  Seems the USDA has remapped the planting zones for the United States.  Learn more by visiting the interactive USDA Plan Hardiness Zone Map.

Spring Bulbs start growing in January
Bulbs sprouting in January in Philly area

What does this mean to small garden design?  It means that planting zones around the country have been adjusted to the gradual warming that seems to be occurring around the country.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed a change where you live, but I have noticed a big change this year.  As you can see by the picture accompanying this article, it is the end of January and here in the Philadelphia area, my hyacinth, crocus, and tulip bulbs are sprouting quickly!  Should the unusually warm weather take a turn, all my spring bulbs will be freeze and there goes my beautiful spring bulb small garden design!

Are you experiencing the same thing where you live?

Vertical Gardening Book Review

Read recent review in Los Angeles Times with authors Susan Morrison & Rebecca Sweet of Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces.

Vertical Small Garden Design

The authors discuss vertical gardening craze and their new book.  The article also provides pictures of vertical garden ideas for small garden design!





Vertical Gardening – Small Garden Design Ideas

When space is limited, going vertical can provide you the space you need to create your small garden design.  Many plants, vegetables, and even herbs can be coaxed to grow vertically, making them perfect for a small garden design space.

Vertical Small Garden Design Ideas
Vertical Gardening – Grow, Not Out, for More Vegetables and Flowers in Much Less Space, by Derek Fell


Vertical Small Garden Design
Garden Up! Smart Vertical Gardening for Small and Large Spaces, by Susan Morrison


There are various methods for creating a vertical small garden design.  Here are some ideas I’ve come across. Building a Vertical Pallet Garden Vertical Gardens can be Lush Masterpieces Vertical Garden goes Green with Recycled PET Bottles As with container gardening, the options for vertical planters can be endless…shoe bags hung to hold individual plants, old rain gutters, wooden frames, and more.  Check out some of the books devoted to Vertical Gardening. Do you have any vertical gardening idea that you can share?




Flowers for Small Garden Design – Annuals or Perennials?

Posted by admin on Jun 28, 2011 under container gardening, flower garden design, small garden design

When it comes to picking flowers for your small garden design, there are two broad categories of flower types – perennials and annuals.

What’s the difference?  Perennials will grow back year after year.  Annuals typically only last for one growing season and must be planted again every year.  I say typically, because some annuals will reseed themselves.

In this short article, I will touch on just a small sampling of the many choices you have for perennials and annuals that work well in gardens that get full sun to partial sun.

Columbines add a dash of color to an early spring garden

If your small garden design is going in the ground, consider a small perennial flower garden designed to provide beautiful blooms year after year.  The flowering plants you have to choose from are endless.

Choices for early spring…there are endless varieties of bulbs for tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, irises, and lily varieties to choose from.   Peonies are also an early spring bloomer.  They make great borders, grow low compact almost like bushes, and are hardy for colder regions.  Another early spring bloomer that comes in a variety of colors from pinks and yellows to blues is columbines.

For late spring and summer, daisies and flowers in the daisy family such as Echinacea or purple coneflowers, yellow and red gaillardias, and black-eyed Susan, which are actually biennials, all provide great color.  Dianthus can be found in a variety of colors from white, pinks, reds, and purples to all combinations of mixtures.  Asters and mums are great for late summer and fall with a great selection of colors to choose from.

White Daisies
Daisies are perennials that return year after year
Daylillies in a rock garden
Daylillies in a rock garden

Many perennials will spread and can fill your garden space over time.  Instead of planting all perennials, another option is to mix perennials and annuals.  This way, you can have some plants returning each year while experimenting with different annuals to add variety to your small garden design each year.  Experimenting is what makes small garden design so much fun!

Are you working with a small garden design on a deck or patio?  Try container gardening for your flower garden design, and consider annuals.  While perennials will grow back every year, they also tend to want to spread, which makes them difficult to maintain in container gardening.  Also, if you live in an area where you get cold weather or freezing weather, the flowers may not survive the winter in a container.

The varieties of flowers to choose from are endless.  Some annuals for full sun areas to consider…pansies in early spring, grazania, geranium, marigolds, petunias, zinnia, cosmos, and portulaca…the choices are endless.

Hanging Nasterium
Nasturtium flowers are not only colorful but edible too!

Summer has just started.  If you still want to plant flowers, it’s not too late.  Consider planting annuals that will bloom into the fall – asters, mums, and marigolds, just to name a few.

What new annuals and perennials have you tried in your garden this year?  Leave a comment and share your experiences.

Railing Planters for a small garden design
Railing pot with portulaca, grazania, and vinca










Spring Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2011 under flower garden design, small garden design

Spring is officially less than a week away!  A recent trip to the Philadelphia Show, the crocus blooming in my front small garden design and the hyacinth that are quickly sprouting, have me actively thinking about the rest of my small gardens.  I am beginning to plan what to plant this year.

Small garden design - hyacinth rock garden

Small Garden Design containing hyacinth and daffodils

I have already planted some lettuce, micro greens, and arugula.
Lettuce likes cooler weather, so you can put in the seeds now and you will have
lettuce before you know it!

Have you started thinking about what you’ll be planting this season?
I am always looking for new ideas, so share some of yours by commenting.






Small Garden Design for Attracting Butterflies

Posted by admin on Jan 21, 2011 under container gardening, flower garden design, small garden design

Butterflies are beautiful.  When creating your small garden design, it is flowers that will attract butterflies.

Butterflies are insects.  Insects are cold blooded and rely on the environment for heat.  The best place to find butterflies are basking in the sun to warm up.  The dark spots on butterfly wings help them absorb the heat from the sun to keep them warm.  Sunny areas will bring the butterflies out, while shady areas provide a place for them to hide in cloudy weather.

The type of butterflies attracted to a garden depends on your location and the nectar or sweet liquid found in flowers, that your garden provides.

The best way to decide on what plants to include in your small garden design to attract butterflies is to first research the types of butterflies that are native to your area.  Then find out what flowers and plants they like to feed on and lay their eggs on, since these will be native to your growing area, they will be easy to grow and maintain.

Butterflies are attracted to flowers.  Planting flowers in varying tall and short heights is not only aesthetically pleasing to your eye, but will attract different butterfly types.  When planning your flower garden design, keep shorter flowering plants to the front of the beds, borders, and walkways.  Examples of some short height plants that attract butterflies include impatiens, lavender, and verbena.  Taller flowers such as cosmos and sunflowers should be kept toward the back of your flower garden design.  Medium height flowers such as zinnia, coreopsis, coneflowers, and black-eyed-susans are also great for attracting butterflies to  your small garden.

Regardless of where you live, there are a few basic elements that any butterfly attracting small garden design should have.

  1. A sunny location. Being cold blooded, butterflies need the sun to help them stay warm for flight and feeding.
  2. Nectar producing plants. Butterflies are attracted to flowers in purple, red, yellow, orange, and pick with flat-topped or clustered flowers and short flower tubes.  A small garden design that contains flowers that bloom from spring through the summer into autumn will provide a continual food source.
  3. Planting flowers in groupings. Butterflies are attracted to nectar plants in clusters.  This is because they are near-sighted.  It is easier for them to see splotches of color than to see one bloom here or there.  Even when designing a small container garden design, grouping of three or more nectar plants in a pot will help attract butterflies.
  4. Avoid pesticides. Butterflies are sensitive to pesticides.  You don’t want to kill off butterflies, caterpillars, or their eggs by using pesticides.

An added benefit to attracting butterflies to your flower garden design that attracts butterflies…it will also attract hummingbirds.

Plant Bulbs in Autumn for a Spring Small Garden Design

Posted by admin on Oct 7, 2010 under flower garden design, small garden design

Now that autumn has officially arrived, as we think about readying our gardens for winter, we also need to give thought to our early spring small garden design.  It is time to plant early blooming spring flower bulbs such as crocus, tulips, hyacinth, jonquil, daffodil, and iris.

Planting bulbs in groups or clumps provides a natural looking effect.  You can achieve this natural effect by digging a large hole and placing several bulbs in the hole.  Try mixing multiple bulb types.  You can plant larger bulbs at the bottom of the hole, add a layer of dirt then plant the smaller bulbs.

Another method for creating a natural looking small garden design with bulbs is to take a handful of bulbs, toss them in the air and plant them where they land.  Rule of thumb for bulb planting depth…plant bulbs about three times deeper than the size of the bulb.

Planting bulbs in the early fall gives them time for root development.  The bulbs will develop over the winter and start sprouting in early spring.  Make sure you pick fresh, firm bulbs for healthy spring blooms.  When planting, remember to plant with the roots down and the nose of bulb up.

Now, with the autumn leaves turning and beginning to fall from the trees, it is the perfect time to start planting bulbs for an early blooming small garden design.

Small Garden Design – An Autumn Pick Me Up

Posted by admin on Sep 25, 2010 under flower garden design, small garden design

It is now officially Autumn… Small Garden Design - Pansies

In the Northeast United States, this is usually the time for things to wind down when it comes to the garden.  With warm days and cool nights, many summer plants will start to die or go dormant.  But wait…there are lots of plants that can add color to your small garden design for the autumn or fall season.

This is the perfect time to spruce up your small garden design by planting some chrysanthemums or more commonly mums.  Mum come in a variety of vibrant colors like red, orange, maroon, purple, and pink.  Many people buy mums for the fall and plant them as if they were annuals.  They are perennials and can survive the winter, especially if well established before winter arrives.

Asters are another autumn bloomer and perennial.  Blooming from late summer into the fall, they are daisy-like flowers in white, purple, lavender, pink, and red.

Sedum, also known as stonecrop, is another hardy perennial that does well in cool weather.  There are hundreds of varieties and look good in rock gardens and flower borders.  There are trailing varieties that look good in hanging baskets.

Pansies are a favorite for cool weather.  Available in a wide variety of colors and while they look delicate, they are actually very hardy.  Pansies will provide beautiful color to your small garden design well past the first frost.  Use pansies in hangers, containers, and as edging.

Marigolds may be one of the most versatile flowers.  They are easy to grow, range in color from yellow to deep orange/red.  Plant marigolds in the spring.  They bloom throughout the summer and will into the fall.  Remove the dried seed heads to keep the plants blooming through the seasons.  You can save the dried seed heads and plant the seeds the following season.

When planning a small garden design that blooms from spring to late fall, consider incorporating some of the plants mentioned for a vibrant pick me up during autumn.