Monday, November 16, 2009

Miniature Plants Used in Train Garden Offer Inspiration for Gardeners with Small Spaces

Almost two years in the making, The Oregon Garden’s new Train Garden officially opened on October 27, 2009. Dwarf conifers and other mini plants adorn the rugged route that the miniature “G” scale Southern Pacific diesel-style engine takes through The Oregon Garden.

“We wanted to add a more active element to the Children’s Garden that would put our miniature plants in context for the kids,” said Jeff Pera, assistant horticulture manager for The Oregon Garden. “We also see the miniature plants as inspiration for people who are planting in small spaces, such as patios or balconies.”

The train, which may be seen in operation daily from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., consists of a diesel-style engine, two boxcars, two flat cars and a caboose. It is about one-twentieth the size of an actual early 1970s Southern Pacific train that did run through Oregon’s Silverton region at one time.

Plants used in the train garden:

  • Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nanus’— Dwarf mondo grass is a miniature grass that resembles popularly used ornamental grasses. It grows in a small clump and stays about three to four inches tall.

  • Ulmus parvifolia ‘Hokkaido’— This dwarf Chinese elm gives the impression of a full-sized elm tree. It is deciduous and only grows two the three feet tall.

  • Calluna vulgaris ‘White Crown’ and C. v. ‘Dark Beauty’— These heathers look like landscape shrubs in comparison to the other plants. They also bloom and add nice color.
Other plants used include dwarf and miniature conifers such as Picea glauca ‘Haal’; Abies balsamea ‘Nana’; Chamaecyparis pisifera 'Plumosa Compressa'; and Chamaecyparis lawsoniana ‘Treasure Island’. These conifers were chosen because they are slow growers, they don’t grow taller than four feet, and they are evergreen, which achieves the desired “forest” look.

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for the dwarf conifers! Great to see that the Oregon Garden has added this feature.
    Ed Remsrola-