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We truly are spoilt for choice when planting in small areas or narrow garden beds. Within our indigenous palette of plants, there are many small trees from which to choose: river indigo (Indigofera jucundum), wild pomegranate (Burchellia bubalina), wild laburnum (Calpurnia aurea), white pear (Dombeya rotundifolia) and Croton gratissimus, to name a few.
Perennials such as Agapanthus africanus, Clivia miniata, Tulbaghia violacae and daylilies (Hemerocallis spp.) are ideal for restricted areas, with ornamental grasses (Carex, Melinus, Eragrostis) adding texture to any planting scheme. Small shrubs such as hebe, salvia, Guara lindheimerii and several of the smaller Plectranthus species are ideal, as are rosemary, comfrey, borage, dill, fennel and some of the smaller lavenders.
There is no need to sacrifice interest simply because your planting areas may be restricted. Play with height, texture, colour and fragrance, and complete the picture with interesting groundcovers.
Avoid plants that you know will eventually outgrow their space. If there is a plant without which you simply cannot live – and we all have one of those – plant it into a large container in order to contain its eventual size.