Garden Plants: some ideas that combine aesthetics with functionality and sustainability
The plants we decide to plant in our house’s garden are often related to our personal taste for some species due to their behavior at a given season, but also for their function in terms of space and according to your needs.
With this article we want to show you some ideas that combine aesthetics, functionality and sustainability. It is also important that you know what you should not plant in your garden.
We picked some species from each stratum: hedges, vines, shrubs and trees to get you inspired and so you have some ideas when you contact your landscape architect:
Hedges are a frequent element in the garden. They have an important spatial function because they allow to limit properties, create some privacy or simply limit spaces in the garden.
To choose the most suitable species you need to take into consideration several factors, including the soil and climatic conditions in which your garden is inserted.
The popular boxwood hedges (Buxus sempervirens) has been attacked by fungi but we can always try alternatives. Commonly known as boxwood holly, this species works well and can also be carved into a sculptural appearance.
Metrosiderous (Metrosideros excelsea)
The fire tree, as its common name indicates, can reach tree size, but it can also be conducted as a hedge, since it tolerates pruning well. Its growth is slow. With shades of greyish green this species is perfect for areas where wind and salt are abundant.
Bay laurel (Prunus lusitanica)
Bay laurel is an autochthonous species, considered a relic of the Laurel forest (a forest that dominated the area of the Mediterranean in the tertiary period). It is a species appreciated as ornamental by its leaves and flowers, being able to be pruned so as to form high hedges.
There are several bamboo species which are used in gardens due to their aesthetic properties. However, these are species you should not plant in your garden especially if you do not have any restraint. The propagation of these species is very rapid, as they assume an invasive character and you will have difficulty to get rid of them.
Vines, among other attributes, decorate walls and embellish the garden. We chose the following examples:
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
This plant is able to attach itself to fences and walls. It stands out mainly for the colorations that its foliage acquires, going from red, to green and gold throughout the year.
Grape Vine (Vitis vinifera)
Known mainly for its fruit (grapes): the vineyard also has very interesting decorative properties. As in the previous example the variation of color throughout the seasons is an outstanding attribute for the garden. This plant imparts a Mediterranean style to the space.
Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
Jasmine also has the ability to climb and can decorate walls and columns, its flower is simple and beautiful and the pleasant smell does not go unnoticed.
Passion fruit (Passiflora sp.)
In addition to the famous properties of its fruit, the passion fruit plant is a vine with a beautiful flower, which due to its resemblance to Christ crown of thorns is known as the “Passion Flower”. The tropical touch to your garden.
Shrubs have an important role because in addition to being the main responsible for giving life to the garden along the seasons, they allow a varied composition of space.
Hydrangeas (Hydrangea sp.)
This plant lacks presentations, hydrangeas are trendy again and form beautiful flowerbeds that do not go unnoticed. Very interesting is the fact that the colors of the flowers, especially in the case of pinks and blues, are related to the pH of the soil.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
Myrtle is a shrub with a greenish foliage and whose fruit is a bluish berry but it is by its intense and pleasant aroma that it stands out. It is an autochthonous plant in Portugal and cultivated in the Mediterranean region, where it is a symbol of peace and love. It’s a thick bush and it can also be carved.
Lavender or Rosemary (Lavandula sp.)
Very easy to grow, lavender appreciates the direct sun exposure and tolerates well soil depletion, almost fertilization free. It is an aromatic plant that forms fantastic thick bushes with stains of green from its leaves and purple from the flowers, it is undoubtedly a good choice for your garden.
Japanese camellia (Camellia japonica)
With persistent leaves, dark green and shiny on the top side, its particularity is its pure blossoming during winter, when most shrubs only show their branches.
Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna)
If you like to have life in the garden, especially some birds, insects or butterflies, the hawthorn is a good option. A shrub with red berries that feeds several bird species, by planting it, you will be enhancing biodiversity.
Trees give another dimension to the garden and provide shade. However in order to have a tree in your garden you need to have some space available. If you have little space consider planting smaller trees like fruit trees.
It always feels good to have small fruit trees at home, some good examples are a lemon tree, an orange tree or a plum tree. But there are other choices, such as:
Olive Tree (Olea europaea)
A rustic and adaptable tree, the olive tree is increasingly used as ornamental. Its greyish green gives the garden a unique look. Olive trees are also increasingly cultivated in pots.
Mountain-ash (Sorbus aucuparia)
This is a deciduous tree native to some of the Portuguese mountains. It is used as ornamental in parks, gardens and even in streets. Its fruits (berries), are red when ripe and will attract many birds to your garden.
These were just a few suggestions of plants for your garden, we are at that ideal time to think of what you want to plant and get to work, you will not regret.
Amália Souto de Miranda