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