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  • Writer's pictureJulia Watson

Small Stuff

Updated: Feb 9, 2021

The blue of Anagllis monelli pops when combined with a magenta petunia.

I've been talking about planning a garden in several posts, so now is a good time to give you some ideas for little plants you need to fill in and tie things together. The big things are important - your trees and large shrubs that give the garden structure - and middle size things are easy - roses, fuchsias, dahlias, etc. But sometimes we forget the charm of having little things to grow under and around. Over the years I've tried many things, and I have a short list of what's worked well for me. All of these plants are low-growing, suitable for growing under roses and perennials or at the edges of flower beds.

1. Erigeron. Very basic, a bit weedy, but those little daisy-type blooms are charming. A vigorous grower, yet non-invasive.

2. Sweet alyssum. I suppose some gardeners would sneer at this because it's so common, (and between you and me it re-seeds so easily some might call it a pest) but I like it. The fragrance is beautiful.

3. Alpine strawberries. I like the variety 'Golden Alexander' for its chartreuse foliage.

4. Sisyrhinchium. Native to California, also called blue-eyes grass. See below for a photo of Sisyrinchium, Alpine strawberry and alyssum, growing together in my yard.

5. Anagallis monelli. I love the gorgeous color of this plant. It gets leggy and untidy looking, but I forgive it because of the color.

6. Bacopa. A creeping groundcover with charming white flowers. Not invasive.

7. Campanula. There are many types; look for the low-growing ones.

8. Lobelia. Easy to grow from seed; sometimes it re-seeds but never becomes invasive.

9. Lithodora. In my garden it was slow to get established, but now it's become a dependable perennial for me.

10. Omphaloides. There's nothing more charming! It's an annual, but re-seeds itself every year, so I never planted it again after buying one plant from Annie's Annuals.

Sisyrinchium, alpine strawberries and sweet alyssum.
Sisyrinchium, alpine strawberries and sweet alyssum.

white flowers Erigeron
Erigeron - an essential filler plant in my garden.
flower bouquet
Omphalodes works in the garden and in bouquets too.

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