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Plants for Small Spaces- Part 4

March 10, 2009

dawson_0301_2006-004

More plants for small spaces! This one here is Harbor Dwarf Heavenly Bamboo, or more accurately Nandina domestica ‘Harbor Dwarf’. It’s a compact, tidy little evergreen that, at most, will get 3 feet tall and wide- but that’s pretty big for this plant. Like most nandina, any blooms are inconsequential, but it does get attractive clusters of berries. It’s a good, solid performer that certainly won’t overtake your space. As far as maintenance, please- I’m begging you- prune the individual canes to slightly different heights to preserve a natural appearance. Don’t just run the power hedge clippers over the top; there’s nothing sadder-looking than a nandina that someone has tried to shape like a boxwood. This little speciman is never going to get wild and unruly on you, so you can allow the structure to be a little “loose” and it will just get more attractive every year.

Jasminum nudiflorum

Jasminum nudiflorum

I know what you’re thinking: “My gosh, what an unruly mass! Has he lost his mind?” Well, not in this instance, and here’s why. Winter Jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is actually a pretty small plant, about 2.5 feet by 2.5 feet. What you’re looking at here is a massing of several, with some deciduous shrubs behind them making things look a little crazier than they are. The exciting thing about winter jasmine is that it blooms SO early. It’s typically the first flowering shrub to pop in the spring, and the Chinese call it “Yingchunhua,” which means Welcoming Spring Flower. The biggest concern with winter jasmine is that it will root where it touches the ground, sort of like forsythia, so you just need to keep an eye on it in the garden.

So with such a wild look, is it something you’d actually use in a spot where a plant for a small space is important? Absolutely! I’ll take pictures this spring- I interplanted winter jasmine and cotoneaster on top of a retaining wall, so that the bright yellow flowers will stand out against the dark green foliage of the cotoneaster. You could do the same thing with a backdrop of azaleas or blue hollies as well. Prune it back after it flowers, and it’s an easy plant to maintain.

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