If you have been following along these past few months you know we have been doing mostly small gardens of townhomes. Here is another one that is completely different than others we have featured. I love a blank slate but as spaces go this one was very tiny. You might know already I love a challenge. We were invited to redo the tiny patch of grass off a slate patio of a Mediterranean style townhouse. Instantly I am thinking fountain, succulents and flowering natives. The problem is we are in Houston which is actually sub-tropical. Here is a before shot to give you a sense of the space. Behind the fence are tall buildings and power lines. The owners wanted something with height to help them feel less exposed. The challenge with that is most shrubs and trees that grow tall also grow wide. Here is another before as we are look to the right.They didn’t want any grass, YEAH! They also wanted a transition from the patio that they could spill out onto when they had guests or wanted to sit in the sun. To add to the feeling of a drier climate we used decomposed granite as the hard surface. We created slightly mounding beds around it for planting to help the plants that need good drainage.Here is the plant list and key…sorry the letters are upside down : )
Quantity -KEY Material Size (In Gallons) Location
1 XX Olive, Arbequina 30 TSF
3 MS Mexican Sedum 1 TSF
4 BD Blue-chip Buddleia 2 TSF
3 PR Pavonia Rock Rose 2 TSF
2 BB Little John Bottlebrush 3 TSF
2 LM Lindenheimer Muhly 3 TSF
1 POM Pomegranate (dbl flowering) 3 TSF
2 R Rosemary, Prostrate 3 TSF
5 JS Jerusalem Sage 2 TSF
8 XX Fig Ivy 1 Mag
1 ES Esperanza 3 Mag
To your right if standing on the patio. I love the pop of lime green that the Mexican sedum give. The idea is it will fill in and cascade over the edge of the mound.
You might wonder why an olive tree in such a small space. This variety of olive, Europaea ‘Arbequina’ (Arbequina Hardy Olive) originally from Spain only wants to be between 12 and 15 feet tall. It has a slight weeping shape with dark shiny green leave. It is adaptable to a variety of soils and climate but does best in zones 8 and 9. This is one of the self-pollinating olives but pollinators will help increase the yield of olives that ripen in November. The fruit of this tree has a high oil content and can be used to make oil. It is said to produces an abundance of small, dark tasty olives that are also good for eating. It may need a nip here or there to keep it in the space but once it clears the fence it has more room to spread out.
Left hand corner anchored with young pomegranate shrub/tree.
Double Flowering Pomegranate,Punica granatum Flore Pleno. This is a non-fruit baring pomegranate that can grow to 15’ tall. It needs a bit of trimming to keep its shape and create a fuller shrub. It will be happy in this space getting morning and mid-day sun.
Up close of Jerusalem Sage. This is a new plant in our market. I love the soft fuzzy leaves and the beautiful yellow flowers.
“Jerusalem Sage, Phlomis fruticosa is an evergreen perennial with soft
grey-green leaves and beautiful yellow flowers from late spring through summer. Very
drought tolerant –needs exceptionally good drainage & full sun. Jerusalem Sage can be used as a low maintenance, medium height shrub. Deer & rabbit resistant. Great
nectar plant for bees and butterflies! Cold hardy into the low 20’s. 2’h x 3’w.” – from Treesearch Farms PDF
Close up of fountain.
This is the Estancia Wall Fountain in Limestone from my favorite fountain shoppe Statue Makers here in Houston. It is 58.25”H x 46W x 26.24 D and weights 898 lbs. The sound is lovely and easy to hear from the patio. It is meant to give you the sense of being in a little courtyard in the south of Spain. We planted fig ivy along the fence that will grow up and make a green wall behind the fountain and help with the illusion we are creating.The plants blooming in the back ground are the Buddleja ‘Blue Chip’ LO AND BEHOLD and there are trailing rosemary flanking the fountain on each side. These too are meant to fill out and cascade over the edge.
Not a big garden space but certainly far more interesting than a strip of lawn. It will gain character as it fills in and spills over the decomposed granite. And the best part is the homeowners are very please!