The Tiny Office Garden

Last fall I moved into my tiny office in the back yard, and this spring Kirk put up one small finishing touch: the lattice around the foundation. That means I could plant a little garden by the stairs:

This is a tough spot, because it is shaded for most of the day by the maple tree in the compost yard. Some areas get strong afternoon sun, but I would call the exposure partial shade to full shade in spots. One full shade area is along the side, where I planted hosta and snakeroot:

The snakeroot has very dark leaves, which is hard to see against the compost. Here’s a better look:

Both of these shade-loving plants should eventually fill in. They’ll also have fragrant flowers in the summer (hosta) and fall (snakeroot), so I’m hoping the fragrance blows right in the windows of my office. The hosta variety is "Guacamole," which is supposed to have a nice scent. This whole garden is about smelling good!

Around the front (which gets a little more sun) I have a pair of red dianthus plants, which smell like cloves. They have been blooming for weeks so far, which is a good sign.

Behind the stone step is creeping thyme; in front is some tiny Corsican mint. Both should fill in as a ground cover around that stone steps that will smell good when you step on it or brush past it.

There’s also a planter here to add a little height. the dark purple flower in the center is heliotrope which smells like cherries (when it’s fully in bloom, that is). There are also small pansies and she filler plants.

The rest of the garden is filled with lavender, catmint, annual stock, another snakeroot and nicotiana. There’s also a spindly rosa mundi that is a piece of one that was growing out of bounds in one of the regular garden beds, but I’m not sure it will survive. It has little leaf buds and the canes are still green, but the leaves seem to shrivel and dry before opening. If it doesn’t work out, I’m not sure what I’ll put there instead — it’s probably a little too shady for roses to do well, so I don’t think I would try again if I had to buy a plant.

Near the steps there are also hyacinths, but they have been deadheaded and will soon die back to the ground. The stock and the dianthus are what you can smell right now, and the make for a nice greeting in the morning as I walk to work. I’m definitely interested to see how the colors and scents change as the summer wears on!


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