New Garden? Try These Plant Combinations

Green Japanese Maple Foliage

Try this Plant Combination.

Here’s a recipe for a beautifully fragrant garden.

Many of you come in to see us and you’re starting from scratch. You’ve got a brand new open space with nothing in it  You would think that would be easy right? But sometimes it’s often harder to choose which plants go together when there’s a new space to fill.

Following on from the first article here on plant suggestions. Here’s another plant grouping  idea – These plants are classic and won’t date. They all work together beautifully and bonus! – If you like fragrant gardens, you’ll love this one. The flower colours in this plant group are all white with a splash of red.


Magnolia Little Gem –  Plant these and they’ll grow into small trees that will delight you with their intermittent, year round, large white flowers. You could Plant these down a fence line, or make a screening hedge. Little Gem’s rarely give you any trouble and are very easy to grow.

magnolia LIttle Gem Rock Dust







Gardenia – beautifully fragrant white flowers from late Sring all the way to late Autumn. This one grows a about 1m x 1m. Plant in full sun or part shade. Great to underplant as a low growing hedge underneath the Magnolia Little Gems

Gardenia Florida







Chinese Star Jasmine – star shaped white flowers in late Spring and smaller flushes again in Summer and Autumn.  Use as a climber, or let ramble as a groundcover. Looks gread clipped into shape or hedged. This plant is well bahaved and easy to manage. Star Jasmine is quite a tough plant too, can cope well climbing up steel structures and handle the hot afternoon sun all while looking stunning.

Chinese star jasmine








Mini Agapanthus – Double Diamond

Agapanthus have been around forever. And there’s a good reason why. They’re tough as old boots and look really nice in the garden, especially in Summer time when they put on a lovely flower show. This one is a miniature agapanthus. Double diamond has ruffle like flowers and they only grow to 50cm. Foliage is small too. Great for a border, or ground cover.

Agapanthus double diamond







Prunus Nigra

Now add Prunus Nigra – (ornamental flowering plum) for a splash of deep plummy, burgundy colours. Work in odd numbers. If you’ve room for more, add 3!

Prunus nigra Flowering Plum in the Garden






OR add…

Japanese Maple

for a beautiful, graceful small tree. This one is the green Japanese Maple. It handles our weather beautifully, and is such a beauty in the garden. This one has foliage that emerges at green with hints of red in Spring time. Turns reddish in Autumn. Adds that extra bit of charm.

Green Japanese Maple Foliage


Plant Super Stars – Try These When You’re Not Sure What to Plant

plants that love summer cycad revoluta

When you’re not sure what to plant.

Try these plants, if you have no idea where to begin.

Plant selection is subjective of course, do what you like – but sometimes when you’ve got a blank canvas,  the choice can be overwhelming. We love these plants for many reasons – they’re timeless, they match in well to lots of house styles and won’t date. Relatively low maintenance, these plants blend in well together. They can be used in formal garden styles or here and there in a not so formal way.   They stand up well on their own and can form a basic garden structure if you’re starting your garden from scratch or are thinking about doing some renovating.

Cycad revoluta

sago palm

They’re big and beautiful. Actually, even when they’re small and growing, they look great. Such a classic plant that goes well in formal, tropical and even native Aussie gardens. These guys get more handsome every year. They’re quite low maintenance too. Just clip the bottom fronds off as they grow to expose their slow growing trunk. Plant in pots as a feature, or blend them into the landscape in an informal way with taller palms or shrubs. They give the garden good form and depth with their deep green colour and structured shape. Grow them in full sun or even in shade. Provide Cycads with a nice rich, well drained soil and they’ll reward you with flushes of new growth a few times a year in the warmer months.

Port Wine Magnolia

Port Wine Magnolia

This shrub sells itself. It can act as a low key, but quite attractive shrub with it’s small, glossy foliage. It’s real beauty is in the unassuming little bud like flowers. In Spring, when the weather warms up, these little buds produce a gorgeous scent and has been described as bubble gum, or juicy fruit gum, banana and even rockmelon. Just one shrub will produce lots of flowers that you’ll smell on warm evenings drifting through the air. Port Wine Magnolias respond really well to tip pruning, as it encourages a dense growth habit. The little flowers do grow on older wood, so these can be used as a hedging plant – you can clip away without pruning off all of the flowers. It’s a moderate growing plant, great if you’re wanting a hedge that doesn’t need clipping so often. Likes full sun and also doesn’t mind some shade.


Nandina Domestica foliage

This little shrub is such a beauty. We love this plant for its gorgeous texture and colour. In Winter, it tends to redden up, as well as retaining its beautiful multi-coloured foliage. Very low maintenance. It doesn’t grow very big at all. Plant and leave it. You’ll  never have to clip it as it retains it shape really well. Plant these near your Cycads and Port Wine magnolias. You can make a little hedge row out of them undeneath a more formal style hedge. Try a hedge of Port Wine Magnolia and plant these out in front. Would work for small front yards as well as along a fence line in the backyard.

Crepe Myrtle


From here, if you’re looking for a taller element to add to your garden, try Crepe Myrtles. They come in shades of red to pink to white and grow on average 3-4m tall. They’re a multi-trunked large shrub or small tree and are really suited to our climate here in the Southwest. They’re in flower in Summer time at the hottest time of the year and are just stunning. They are a deciduous tree, so will lose their leaves in winter time. They do have attractive bark that makes up for this. Great to use here or there in the garden and are a small tree, ideal for small backyards or even the front.



If there’s one grass that we’re always recommending, it’s Liriope. Ideal for both full sun and deep shade, it’s such a pretty grass, that is quick growing and does a nice job as a groundcover. Little purple spike flowers add to its charm. Liriope don’t get overgrown like other native style grasses. While Dianella and Lomandras  have their merits, Liriope blends in a more subtle way and is lusher and greener and not as messy after flowering.


We have these plants in stock growing happily year round here in the Nursery. Contact us below if you’ve got any stock queries , or to check out stock levels.

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Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens

Prunus nigra Flowering Plum in the Garden

Trees for Small Gardens

There’s something special about Deciduous Trees. They tend to give a soft, romantic feel to any garden and many are relatively quick to grow. There is a real sense of seasonal definition as you observe their natural cycles –  bringing fabulous colours and textures in Autumn before shedding leaves by Winter, with Spring and Summer bringing beautiful blossoms and fresh foliage.    Planted for Summer shade, they provide a cooling effect in the home and garden, and in  Winter, when dormant, can let much needed sunlight into living areas providing natural warmth.  Many deciduous trees like flowering plums, silver birches and also Frangipanis provide an eye catching silhouette when planted with a fence or wall as a backdrop.

Here’s a small list of smaller trees growing in the Nursery. This list will be updated as we get new trees growing! If you’re after any tree in particular, contact us and we’ll see where if we can source it.  Have a look at this for Evergreen Trees for small urban gardens

 Acer palmatum – Japanese Maple

Gjapanese-maple-foliageraceful and elegant, the Green Japanese maple, has delicate green foliage with red tones  emerging in Spring, followed by lovely red Autumn colours. Japanese Maple is a small tree that soften the garden with  soft, feathery foliage.     Plant in a protected spot in the garden, away from hot sun and drying winds. In our experience, the Green Jap Maple is more robust compared to other Red Varieties.

Betula alba – Silver Birch

Silvsilver-birch-treeser Birch is a beautiful tree with small, dainty leaves that twinkle gracefully in the summer breeze. Has striking white bark in the winter time. Plant these in a copse of 3 or 5, you’ll achieve a naturalised look  which also has the benefit of  smaller tree growth.  Install some garden lights for a spectacular night time display – which will highlight the character of the white trunk.

Cercis canadensis – American Redbud

This is a lamerican-redbudovely, ornamental large shrub or small tree. Lots of gorgeous pink blossoms occur in Spring time, followed by sweet heart shaped foliage. This lovely small tree can grow multi-stemmed or into a single trunk to around 5m  tolerating a wide range of soil conditions – from sandy soils to clay, but  it will be happiest planted in improved, conditioned soil with adequate drainage.


Malus –  Ornamental Crab Apple

crab apple

Gorgeous Spring Blossoms on a lovely small tree with a spreading, fibrous root system. Can get to 4m.    Bears small mini apples used for making jams, but mostly used as a beautiful Spring flowering ornamental tree with spectacular Autumn foliage.   Crab Apples can help pollinate other fruiting apples as it has a long flowering period and produces lots of pollen.


 Lagerstroemia – Crepe Myrtle


Brilliant summer show off with a long flowering period.  These small trees love the heat and sun and come in a range of spectacular colours. Grows approx to 4m – good for a small or narrow spaces. These are one of our favourite shrubs.


Prunus nigra –  Ornamental, Flowering Plum

Prunusprunus-nigra nigra is an ornamental small tree with a deep burgundy, purpley foliage that emerges in Spring with spectacular pink blossoms.  It makes a nice tree for smaller gardens, growing to around 5m. Looks great contrasting against shrubs and trees of varying shades of green or with a wall or fence as a backdrop.


 Prunus nigra fastigiata – Upright Flowering Plum


This upright, small tree has a natural column shape and is a great addition to an urban landscape. Use in narr

ow passages for a screen, along fence lines

or as a feature tree contrasting with other green foliage. Has gorgeous pink spring blossoms too!

 Pyrus ussuriensis – Manchurian Pear


This beautiful upright tree with masses of white blossoms in early Spring, glossy green foliage in Summer with gorgeous Autumn foliage.   Manchurian Pear is a tree growing to around 8-10m It’s often used as a feature tree, for street or avenue lining, screening/hedging or even pleaching – (which is a like a hedge on stilts)

Deciduous Fruit Trees


Apples, Apricots, Pears, Peaches, Plums, Nectarines, Nashi. All are considered small trees, all are very ornamental and productive as well! You can do lots with these. Have you ever tried to espalier

– ie training branches so they grow flat against a fence or a wire. Or simply keep them in pots?  You can even plant a few of them in the same hole which will keep them small.  We also have double grafted trees – for example, 2 varieties of apples grafted onto one rootstock.

Weeping Mulberry

Pendulweeping-mulberry-branchesous branches with large, glossy foliage and yummy berries in Spring time make this a garden favourite.  The tree produces small, delicious, sweet, berries that start out a light pink, turning red, before developing into a deep red/black colour.    A really nice, handsome feature tree with the bonus of berries!


Weeping Silver Birch

This elegant oweeping-silver-birchrnamental feature tree adds so much character. Its got striking white trunk contrasting with dainty foliage on weeping, pendulous branches.  Each year, it develops more branches, becoming fuller and wider and even more lovely.

Prune in summer or autumn for best results.

Chinese Tallow

Sapium SebiferumChinese tallow is a fast growing, deciduous tree that shows off its beautiful reddish, orange, purpley autumn colours, even in warmer coastal areas.   Quite a robust tree with a good growth rate,  Chinese tallow can grow up to 8m, which is considered a small tree. Chinese Tallow would make a lovely shade tree  – good for urban gardens.



Acer Negundo Flamingo  

Acer Negundo Flamingo

Very beautiful small tree with variegated leaves on pendulous branches.  Foliage emerges pinkish with green and cream variegation.Grows 4/5m x 3/4m.  Would make a gorgeous feature tree for a smaller yard.



Japanese Maple Green

Japanese Maple Green Acer Palmatum

Japanese Maple is a graceful and elegant tree with delicate green foliage with hints of red tones . Emerging green in Spring, followed by lovely red Autumn colours. Jap Maples are a small tree that soften the garden with it’s soft, feathery foliage. Grows usually around4-5m



Japanese Maple Bloodgood

Japanese Maple Bloodgood

A beautiful small tree with blood red foliage emerging Spring, right through to Autumn. Plant in a relatively sheltered position that receives plenty of sunlight. A semi shaded spot is ok, but it colours up best in the sun.

Tree grows to around 4-5m, into a round shape.



Chinese Elm


ulmus parvifolia Chinese ElmThe Chinese Elm tree grows into a medium sized, beautiful round classic tree shape. A gorgeous shade tree with lots of character – Developing a spotted trunk as it matures, it’s branches are slightly pendulous.




Chinese Elm GreenMist – Variegated

Variegated Chinese Elm Green Mist

This tree is a small/medium sized tree that grows up to 6-8m x 5m. It is one of the first deciduous trees to grow new foliage in very early Spring. It is even considered semi-evergreen – the older it gets, it tend to keep some foliage on year round





Cercis Canadensis – Forest Pansy

Cercis Canadensis Forest PansyForest Pansy is a deciduous small tree growing around 5m x 5m. Plum coloured foliage emerges in Spring following masses of tiny pink blossoms. The foliage then changes to classic orange, red colours in Autumn. There’s also plenty of Winter interest from dark, zig-zaggy shaped, multi-stemmed branches.




Cercis Chinensis – Avonview

Evergreen Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens

Hymenosporum flavum Native Frangipani folige

So you’re searching for trees for that will provide shade and green up your small plot of land – you want evergreen foliage all year round, and a tree that keeps the same form and shape every year and season,  not deciduous – you’re not interested in cleaning up the leaf mess in Autumn and you simply don’t want to look at a bare tree without leaves – and you want a small tree cause you don’t want roots breaking up your brand new paving area or getting into the pipes.

Here’s a couple of things to consider –  did you know that Evergreens tend to shed and replace foliage throughout the year as opposed to deciduous trees that shed only once a year?  Evergreens tend to lose their leaves gradually, you don’t notice this happening, which leads to a common, general perception, that deciduous are messier than evergreens .

Also, Consider where you’re going to plant your tree. Trees are so important in a landscape, especially new housing subdivisions, where trees are quite non existent.  They provide your landscape infrastructure, or the ‘bones’ of the garden. They make little micro-climates where you can plant other shrubs in a sheltered spot, making a home for many insects, frogs, birds and lizards.  They cool your home, filter pollutants, provide oxygen, and create a great atmosphere.  Deciduous trees can be useful planted in the right spot – cooling your home from the hot summer sun and in winter, when dormant, can let the sunlight in, providing natural warmth.

When planning your garden, try larger shrubs and form them into a tree shape suitable for a small yard. There’s a couple featured below – like Callistemon, and Hibiscus Cottonwood and don’t forget to look at the ultimate Multi-tasking trees – like citrus and olives – These have shallow roots and are highly ornamental and deliciously productive!

This post is about Evergreen Trees. Why not have a look at Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens.

Agonis flexuosa Peppermint tree

Agonis flexuosa Peppermint TreeA med sized tree growing to around 3-5m  – featuring pendulous, aromatic foliage, with pinkish coloured new growth.  Agonis flexuosa makes a lovely backdrop tree helping to soften the rest of the garden with it’s weeping habit.  Flowers occur in springtime and are a brilliant white.

Agonis Burgundy is  waterwise once established, however it will grow quicker with regular watering and improved soil.  Suitable uses would be for  screening or a wind break. Agonis are perfect for coastal gardens.

Ornamental Pears

These ever so lovely trees are a great option. Fast growing, with green glossy leaves that emerge after a show of beautiful Spring blossoms, followed by Red Autumn colours, there’s an ornamental pear to suit many situations. From upright column shaped trees, like the Capital Pear, to traditional Pyramid shaped trees like the Manchurian.

Fraxinus griffithi Evergreen Ash

evergreen-ash-foliageEvergreen Ash is a delightful shady, small tree, perfect for smaller gardens in amongst other trees or singly as a feature tree.

Plant in free draining, conditioned, moist, soil in full sun and you’ll be rewarded with a quick growing, shady, evergreen tree with handsome, glossy leaves. Can get to approx 6m.


Hymenosporum flavum – Native Frangipani

hymenosporum-flavum-flowersNative Frangipani are a great choice if you’re looking for an evergreen tree with sweet scented spring blossoms that vary from cream to yellow. They’re from the rainforest areas of Queensland and New South Wales, where they can grow to around 20m, but down this far South in WA, will grow into a small, upright tree not much more than 9 or 10 metres.  Not related at all to the the other Frangipanis that we are all familiar with  (Plumeria sp).

These trees prefer full sun, or part shade, with protection from strong winds.

Hibiscus tiliaceous – Cottonwood

red cottonwood hibiscusHibiscus tiliaceus rubra is a hugely popular, fast growing shrub with dense foliage from tropical Queensland and can get to approx 4-6m if left unpruned.  Does quite well this far South and can tolerate coastal and windy conditions. Gorgeous, red and green heart shaped leaves make this shrub very ornamental with attractive yellow flowers.

Use this to screen your neighbours or hide a fence.

Callistemon Kings Park Special

bottle brushCallistemon Kings Park Special are fast growing bottlebrushes and can quickly get to 5m and they attracts lots of birds and pollinating insects in spring when laden with flowers. (and also in autumn when flowers can bloom again) This is a good choice for a quick growing screen.

Callistemons are quite tolerant of many soil types and can be grown in sandy and clay type soils. Ideally, your soil would be conditioned with lots of compost to ensure lots of new growth.

Eucalyptus caesia – Silver Princess

eucalyptus-silverprincessSpectacular small tree, growing around 5-6m tall. With the sweetest bright,red flowers straight out of a May Gibbs- ‘Gumnut Babies’ book. It has a weeping habit with silvery branches, making it lovely as a feature tree.

Likes to grow in sandy, well drained soil in the sun or shady spots. Responds quite well to pruning to maintain a nice shape. Stake while young to get nice straight growth.

Magnolia Grandiflora – Little Gem

magnolia-little-gemDwarf form of Magnolia grandiflora. You get the same gorgeous glossy green foliage, with a rust coloured underleaf and chunky white flowers that seem to bloom all year round!  Will grow to 4 -5 metres approximately.

Little Gems are quite robust plants, handling drought and high wind areas – although will grow a lot better with regular water and conditioned soil. Plant in a sunny spot for best performance. These are great plants for an  hedge or a screen.

Syzygium Bush Christmas

australian bush christmasHighly ornamental evergreen, shrub providing interest all year round with glossy green leaves, red new growth, summer flowers and autumn berries (which are edible). If left un-pruned, Bush Xmas will grow to around 4m. We love this for topiary and hedging. It has a reasonable growth rate, so is a good choice for a screen or a hedge. The compact foliage attracts many small birds, who use it to nest.


Olea Europaea – Olive

olive-trees Olives are quite suited to our climate and they can grow in those tricky spots where others have struggled.  They’re a long lived tree and also make good potted specimens.  Their root systems are quite shallow, so they’ll need a free draining soil – they don’t like being waterlogged.   Olives are quite drought tolerant, however for good fruit production give them sufficient water. Olives ripen up in late Autumn. They all start off dark green, turning to a light green colour before turning black. Harvesting is done at either stage, light green or black before pickling  or making oil.


orange-tree Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Kumquat, Orange, Grapefruit are great plants for a small garden. Glossy green foliage, amazing citrus blossoms, and the fruit is an incredible bonus!!  Every yard should have at least one citrus tree.  A lot of citrus grow really well in pots, especially kumquats and mandarins which are smaller citrus trees.





This is a snapshot of what we have growing out in the nursery. If you’re chasing something not listed here, contact us

Read on for Deciduous Trees for Smaller Urban Gardens.

Can’t decide? Come in for a look!