How to Garden in Tight Spaces

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Now why am I lying on the ground in this square?

Steve McShane, McShane’s Nursery.

This small square represents how much space the average American has to garden with [and] the larger square, Californians. Now, we are blessed but many of us are underutilizing this space in our lives. So the purpose of this segment is container gardening as it relates to gardening in tight spaces.

Let’s start with the finished product, over here we have a great assortment of arrangements. threes, fours, fives; different levels of heights. incorporating perennials with annuals and maybe even edibles goes a long way!

Even more important: look at the variation available to us. Whether it be a medium sized pot, something a little bit smaller, offering variety goes a long way. I’d also recommend considering a water feature like say this disappearing one right here. Perfect for a tight space. Maybe even some brass. Think about it as theatrics, we are planning and putting together a picture for our guests.

Now if this upscale arrangement is not quite your thing, the good old wine barrel goes a long way. When you purchase a wine barrel, make sure there are holes drilled in the bottom. Ask the nursery or garden center to do it for you. Then once you’ve got your wine barrel in place, always add plenty of drain rock. Those rocks will ensure that over time the holes do not get plugged with soil or whatever else.

Now a lot of people come to me and ask, ‘what about gardening in hot spots?’ Hot patios. Well that’s where succulents and sun loving, trailing perennials come in. Look at this beautiful arrangement here. Plenty to offer, a lot of beauty and in this case, terra cotta.

Notice how we are completing the picture. Tight space is now people friendly with this arrangement and this bench right there. Now when going for a container garden I always recommend using something like this, pot feet. These terra cotta ones or maybe a glazed pot foot or something as cute as this bunny will keep that planter up off your deck or off your concrete surface so it does not stain. Again, notice the use of perennials, edibles, flowers, even this edible nasturtium can be added to a salad.

It is that easy with a tight space. Are you using your tight space? Let us get to the action.

So let us say you are going to put together a container garden. This medium sized pot here is ready to go. I always recommend starter fertilizer in the case of a sachet like this, it is as easy as that. Using a high quality potting soil goes a long way as well. Pay attention to the ingredients. Things like chicken manure, worm castings, bat guano.

Generous amount of potting soil. In this case I have chosen a geranium and some lobelia, the two colors go fantastic together. You pull the geranium out, break up the roots a little bit [and] get it into place. Say a couple of lobelia on the outside. In time that lobelia will trail down the side and explode with color.

We’re going to finish it off with some potting soil around the outside and before long our arrangement is looking killer.

One last point: when you are done potting it, give it a generous amount of water and do not forget to feed your landscape. I choose this organic blend, but organic or conventional added to your plants and your garden will keep them healthier and living a lot longer.

Make use of that tight space, consider container gardening and I’m glad you are a part of the mission to keep our beautiful world even greener.

Hidcote Manor Garden (NT)

Hidcote – the most influential English garden of the 20th century – and Lawrence Johnston, the enigmatic genius behind it. Hidcote was the first garden ever taken on by the National Trust, who spent 3.5 million pounds in a major programme of restoration. This included researching Johnston’s original vision, which in turn uncovered the compelling story of how Johnston created such an iconic garden.

Until recently, little was known about the secretive and self-taught Johnston. He kept few, if any, records on Hidcote’s construction, but current head gardener Glyn Jones made it a personal mission to discover as much about the man as possible to reveal how, in the early 20th century, Johnston set about creating a garden that has inspired designers all over the world.


Hidcote is an Arts and Crafts garden in the north Cotswolds, a stone’s throw from Stratford-upon-Avon. Created by the talented American horticulturist, Major Lawrence Johnston its colourful and intricately designed outdoor ‘rooms’ are always full of surprises. It’s a must-see if you’re on holiday in the Cotswolds.

Explore the maze of narrow paved pathways and discover secret gardens, magnificent vistas and plants that burst with colour. Many of the plants found growing in the garden were collected from Johnston’s many plant hunting trips to far away places. It’s the perfect place if you’re in need of gardening inspiration.

Find a quiet spot and sit on one of the ornate benches and watch green woodpeckers search for their lunch or listen to the calls from the buzzards circling overhead. Time it right and you might catch a glimpse of the elusive hummingbird moth.

Meander through the intricate gardens and into the Wilderness. This secluded stretch of tall trees is just right for a picnic. Take a glimpse beyond the boundary and see the garden blend effortlessly into the countryside beyond.

The Monarch’s Way path runs close-by. Follow it for a brief time from the car park and into the chocolate-box Cotswold hamlet of Hidcote Bartrim. You’ll be treated to traditionally thatched stone cottages that were once home to Johnston’s gardeners.


Hidcote Manor Garden

Hidcote Manor Garden is a garden in Britain, located at Hidcote Bartrim village, near Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire. It is one of the best-known and most influential Arts and Crafts gardens in Britain, with its linked "rooms" of hedges, rare trees, shrubs and herbaceous borders. Created by Lawrence Johnston, it is owned by the National Trust and is open to the public.


The Americans, Lawrence Johnston and his mother, settled in Britain about 1900, and Lawrence immediately became a British citizen and fought in the British army during the Boer war. In 1907 Johnston’s mother, Mrs Gertrude Winthrop (she had re-married), purchased the Hidcote Manor Estate. It was situated in a part of Britain with strong connections to the then-burgeoning Arts and Crafts movement and an Anglicized American artistic expatriate community centred nearby at Broadway, Worcestershire.

Johnston soon became interested in turning the fields around the house into a garden. By 1910 he had begun to lay out the key features of the garden, and by the 1920s he had twelve full-time gardeners working for him.

After World War II Johnston spent most of his time at Jardin Serre de la Madone, his garden in the south of France; and in 1947 he entrusted Hidcote to the National Trust.

Character of Hidcote garden

Lawrence Johnston was influenced in creating his garden at Hidcote by the work of Alfred Parsons and Gertrude Jekyll, who were designing gardens of hardy plants contained within sequences of outdoor "rooms". The theme was in the air: Vita Sackville-West and Harold Nicholson’s Sissinghurst Castle Garden was laid out as a sequence of such spaces, without, it seems, direct connection with the reclusive and shy Major Johnston. Hidcote’s outdoor "rooms" have various characters and themes, achieved by the use of box hedges, hornbeam and yew, and stone walls. These rooms, such as the ‘White Garden’ and ‘Fuchsia Garden’ are linked, some by vistas, and furnished with topiaries. Some have ponds and fountains, and all are planted with flowers in bedding schemes. They surround the 17th century manor house, and there are a number of outhouses and a kitchen garden.

Johnston’s care in selecting the best plants is reflected in the narrow-leaved lavender, Lavandula angustifolia ‘Hidcote’, in the Penstemon ‘Hidcote Pink’ and in the hybrid Hypericum ‘Hidcote Gold’, acclaimed as the finest hardy St John’s Wort, Alice Coats records.
By Dave Catchpole on 2013-08-10 09:48:07