I’ve always had a love for the little plants, alpine miniatures in particular. They’re dwarfed next to their cousins, designed that way probably to better survive exposure in their harsh homeland. Plants like these are scrappy, though, you can tell. Reproduction is a big focus, and so their flowers are often large and showy compared to their leaves, and the plants take hold and tangle in unlikely places. To see an example, look no further than the alpine Baby’s Breath, Gypsophila cerastioides, or the Arenaria we have in the store.
What does it all mean? It means that plants like these are great for planting in raised beds, troughs or rock gardens, since their rocky origins have made them accustomed to hanging from steep, windy hillsides and cliff faces.
Part of my love is admittedly greedy. You can jam more kinds of plants into a trough or rock garden when some of them are small and hang off the side. More space means more plants, more species, more color, and more diversity in the levels you use in your garden.
Our landlords and neighbors, the Mapeses, have actually done something similar. They’re growing vegetables for their farmer’s market in hand-made wooden containers raised up in step fashion, red and yellow cherry tomatoes hanging from plants that dangle over the edges of their containers so that shoppers can pick their own fruits and veggies to take home. Practical? Sure, and beautiful to boot – wonderful variety, visible at a glance. All the space is used, and the product is an elegant cascade of produce and color.
Leave a Reply