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With some good trompe-l'oeil tricks and especially large plants in dwarf versions or specimens contained in pots, it is possible to create a "large" garden on a small surface! Not enough space to admire a hundred-year-old oak tree from your terrace, a giant bamboo forest or a wave of hydrangeas? Contemporary gardens are indeed rather cramped, which does not mean that they are less breathtaking! In just a few tens of square meters, it is indeed possible to bring together some large plants in mini versions, and create a grand atmosphere. Not only will they be easy to control, but they will provide a fabulous trompe l'oeil impression.
To make a lush garden in a small outdoor, there is a wide choice of XS plants: locate in your garden center so-called 'dwarf' or 'apartment' plants such as dwarf lavender 'Dwarf Blue', dwarf agapanthus, borage dwarf, the bougainvillea 'Mini Thai' or 'Pixie', the magnolia 'Little gem' ... Not to mention the dwarf pine 'Pumilio', the false Lawson cypress 'Minima auréa', the western miniature thuja 'Danica', between other little treasures of greenery and flowers! In the bamboo family, there are also several dwarf varieties which are as elegant as their big brothers with a few inches less: the fargesia nitida 'Red Panda' is non-tracing therefore not invasive; or the 'Great Wall' which will not exceed 3 meters in height: ideal for hiding from a vis-à-vis or to hide part of the garden. "Be careful however with the name 'indoor bamboo', underlines Frédéric Rochette of the Moneden.fr site: some are intended for vivariums".
The "big-small trees" in the spotlight
It is not because the space is small that we should not plant trees! On the contrary, well chosen, they will make it possible to forget the partitions and create a 'little forest' effect. In our selection, photinia first, which is an interesting shrub for small gardens because of its slow development and its small evergreens, "and also all the charcoals, adds Frédérique Rochette. In particular the dwarf Japanese charcoal" . As for Jean Pouillard of the Globe Planter site, he advises the fastigiés of small dimensions like the serviceberry, and the cypress of Provence with the very slender allure, thus being able to easily frame the garden; it is one of the great subjects that occupy little space on the ground.
Landscaping specialist in city gardens Pierre-Alexandre Risser agrees: "In a small garden I advise, so that the space seems less small, to put specimens of the shape of a tree in pots by 'bonsaïfiant': it works well with cedars and pines which are conifers ... For a poplar, it can work, however the watering constraints will be strong. The most seen is the Japanese maple which will then reach only 2 to 3 meters and will be pruned at There are also dwarf forms of prunus: weeping cherry trees, like the prunus subhirtella 'Autumnalis' which blooms from November to March and immediately looks like an old tree with minimal bulk. I am also thinking of certain varieties of ginkgo biloba, which at 30 years old is only 1 meter high. The daphniphyllum is an Asian shrub with evergreen leaves, almost translucent in spring, and with a very graphic silhouette ". In small spaces, to change the scale ratio by playing on the trompe-l'oeil effect, Pierre-Alexandre Risser also likes to use the Chinese palm tree (Trachycarpus fortunei), with its large leaves; or the aralia elata (Angelica of Japan), a deciduous shrub that will have the most beautiful effect.
The key: large potted plants!
Growing large plants in pots is a boon for small gardens. Try with roses of course, but also hydrangeas, perennials, ground cover ... everything can be dwarfed in pots to create green or colorful islets, full of charm. We especially like the small maple trees which have everything big and which will be superb in a flashy colored pot (blue or green for example, highlighting their red foliage); or dwarf palm trees to give an exotic touch to your outdoor, like chamaerops humilis, the only one that lives in Europe. And why not try the potted chestnut, like the Parisians? Magnolia, azaleas, oleander, rhododendrons, palm, and flowering dogwood (Cornus florida) are other options that work well in pots. And you can create tufts of large-leaved perennials with acanthus. However, these crops require more attention than for planting in the open ground, they need fairly regular watering (not too much either!) And food: "Acidic soil plants use up their substrate particularly quickly, explains Frédérique It is necessary to regularly add heather earth as well as crushed horn, or a fertilizer every fall, to prevent them from turning yellow. They should also be repotted if necessary because they quickly colonize the pot with a highly developed root system. "
Fruit trees, possible in a small space
To have a perfect Garden of Eden, don't forget the fruit trees. Apricot, peach, pear, apple, cherry, nectarine, brugnon, and even almond trees are available in dwarf versions, 30 to 40% smaller than the classic variety. Columnar or trellised, they are also very pretty and take up very little space. "And for easy peelers, lemon or orange trees, explains Frédéric Rochette of the Moneden.fr site, they will have to be wintered, unless they live in Nice. They are very greedy in nitrogen, you can give them thanks to a good dose nitrogen fertilizer once a year at the beginning; avoid liquid fertilizers, absorbed too quickly and prefer those in granules, they will be released as the season progresses, slowly. " Pierre-Alexandre Risser also advises in this category the Japanese quince tree also called Japanese pear tree.
In Growing and caring for fruit trees , published by Eyrolles - Sang de la Terre, Elisabeth and Jérôme Jullien explain that "growing fruit trees on a terrace or balcony (NLDR: or a small garden, therefore) is possible, and requires the use of dwarf varieties, including the roots (often those of the rootstock) are adapted to growing in pots. (…) ". Their selection: apricot tree 'Aprigold', orange tree 'Four Season Orange', cherry tree 'Bing', nectarine 'Ruby', peach tree 'Crimson', apple tree 'Sun red', pear tree 'Garden pearl', plum tree 'Goldust'.
Tips to make the most of your space
Document yourself with books like I succeed in all my pot cultures Terre Vivante editions, and Bountiful crops in a small garden , published by Ulmer, among other literary wonders of the garden. They will give you all the tips to make the most of the space and make a large garden on a small area. For example, "Make a roe bean teepee, advises Fabrice Chollet, a minimum land use rate for maximum production!". For a Mediterranean atmosphere, the book also recommends agave, rose, virgin cactus and dracaena: all in pots! In Pierre-Alexandre Risser's living gardens at the editions Ulmer, the famous landscaper also shows how, if you just have a small sunny terrace, you can install a pergola and grow a wisteria or a star jasmine on it, which will form after a few years of good care, a small garden in suspension… These two climbing plants can also be led as a half-stem tree in another configuration, according to your preferences. Another idea: in an XL tank, immerse equisetum for a 'natural mini-pool' atmosphere.
In Truffaut from the ecological garden , we discover that it is possible to create a truly separate space by surrounding your garden with a high hedge: the higher it is, the more it will promote a unique micro-climate. Climbing high palisades will make it possible to grow flowering and fragrant climbers like honeysuckle, clematis, roses, but also ivy ... and to use verticality to enlarge its small green space. Some hydrangeas can even go very high! In The garden, a living room by Pierre Nessmann at La Martinière (2012), the journalist-host finally explains that "Creating relief and creating perspectives in a small space makes it possible to forget the crampedness of the place by giving the impression of depth". He recommends the "multiplication of materials on the ground or on the walls and the diversity of plants": it is then a question of creating a "rich and varied decor, more spacious since it takes longer to discover". Last tip signed Pierre-Alexandre Risser: "A mirror on the wall framed with trellis multiplies plants endlessly (…)". To consult: www.globeplanter.com www.moneden.fr