Family Planting: The Giant Garden

Large plants that dwarf little people can be a wonderful addition to a children’s garden.
From: DK Books - Family Garden
Oversized Plants Help Create Giant Garden Design

Oversized Plants Help Create Giant Garden Design

©2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

2009, Dorling Kindersley Limited

Oversized plants in a garden delight children. They do not require huge amounts of space, and can actually make a small space look bigger. There are many varieties of these giant beauties in different colors and textures.

Gunnera is the biggest and most impressive plant and should be given center stage, the other plants complementing it, some in the ground, some in pots. The gunnera will need a lot of moisture at the roots, and should be planted in bog garden conditions for the biggest leaves.

Border Basics 

  • Size: 12x6 ft (4x2 m) 
  • Suits: A hidden corner at the end of a garden 
  • Soil: Moisture retentive but well-drained 
  • Site: Shady 

Shopping List 

  • 1 x Cordyline australis “Red Star” 
  • 1 x Cordyline australis “Variegata” 
  • 1 x Fatsia japonica 
  • 1 x Gunnera manicata 
  • 3 x Astilbe x arendsii 

Sowing and Aftercare 

Gunnera and astilbe will both grow in normal conditions, but they will do better in a bog garden. To create a small bog garden, dig out an area to a depth of about 24 in (60 cm) and line with a pond liner. Pierce this several times and then backfill with the excavated soil. This area will naturally stay moister than the surrounding soil, but the plants will benefit from being watered during dry periods. The fatsia and cordylines will grow well in normal soil, but it is a good idea to improve the soil with organic matter before planting. Red-leaved cordylines are less hardy than the colored-leaved species, so in cold areas, wrap the stem and crown with burlap or tarps over winter.

Next Up

Family Planting: Tropical Garden

A tropical border is one of the most exciting plantings, filled with bold, colorful plants and reminiscent of a child’s fantasy jungle.

Plant a Child-Friendly Garden

Even 2- and 3-year-olds can help plant their own little patch, and watch as life unfolds around them.

Family Planting: Pond in a Pot

Those with a small yard can enjoy the aesthetic and wildlife benefits that a pond can bring.

How to Design a Family Garden

Need a garden that leaves room for kids and adults? Check out this guide for design tips suited to the whole family.

Family Gardening: Create a Miniature Garden

Using small plants to make a miniature garden fires the imagination and reduces the garden to a child’s scale. Plastic farm or jungle animals, fairies, or dinosaurs bring the scene to life. 

DIY Craft Project: Make a Just-for-Kids Plant Stand

Get your kids in the garden with this easy and fun family project. 

Family Planting: Butterfly Garden

If you have a sunny, sheltered border, you have the makings of a butterfly garden. Here's what you need to get started.

Create an Outdoor Gardening Studio for Kids

Keep kids happily occupied during the hectic gardening season by creating a kid-friendly outdoor gardening studio.

Family Gardening: Growing Sunflowers

Sunflowers are colorful giants and are one of the first flowers many children will recognize. A sunflower-growing competition appeals to any age of gardener. 

Sturdy Plants for Yards and Gardens

Yards and gardens that are home to energetic children need plants that can put up with a bit of abuse. No use planting delicate flowers if you are going to get upset every time they get hit by a football!