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Plants for Small Spaces- part one

December 16, 2008

Most of us don’t have the luxury of sprawling estates on which to garden. The average sized lot of a quarter-acre or less requires that we give some serious thought to plant selection, so we can acheive the look we want while still having a usable space. I have a few go-to plants that I love to use. I know that they’ll stay small, grow slowly, and give me the look I want without demanding continuous shearing. As I snap photos of plants I’m using, I’ll post them here. This first one is a great choice:

 

Buxus sinca v. insularis 'justin brouwer's'

Buxus sinca v. insularis 'justin brouwer's'

The plant you see lining the walk is Justin Brouwer’s Boxwood. It’s a slow-growing variety with a fairly compact eventual size. I was told that the ones in the photo were planted well over a decade ago. I like using them along walks and bed edges, particularly where we can have looser-textured plants behind them as a contrasting element.

Buxus microphylla v. japonica 'morris dwarf'

Buxus microphylla v. japonica 'morris dwarf'

This other variety of boxwood is called Morris’ Dwarf, and it’s truly is a dwarf variety- the eventual maximum size, according to the grower, is approximately 12-15 inches tall and wide. They’re great for knot gardens and decorative (small) borders, but just be warned: dwarf plants don’t come cheap, and with such a small size it takes a lot of plants to create the border.

If you want to see these great boxwoods for yourself, they’re a part of the formal gardens behind George Washington’s orangery at Mount Vernon. The Justin Brouwer’s boxwoods are along the outside edge, and the Morris’ Dwarf are a part of the patterns within the gardens.  It’s a great time of year for a field trip!

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