Plants for Garden Railways

A place for discussing garden railway scenery, such as buildings, trees, etc....
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philipy
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Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Thu Aug 30, 2018 10:57 am

Following Rik's random thought on Andrew's thread, I know that there is Becky Pinniger's book, but I thought it might be an idea if folks posted info on plants that they thought were useful near their railways. I don't profess to be much of a gardener, I can almost never remember the fancy Latin names and the labels mostly seem to disappear but I'll kick it off with these:

The obvious ones of course are:
TREES:
Cypress 'Top Point' ( AKA Supermarket Christmas decorations!)
top point.jpg
Young Yew, but keep it clipped
yew.jpg
Taxus Baccata
taxus baccata.jpg
Chamaecyparis Thyoides 'Rubicon'
chamaecyparis thyoides 'Rubicon'.jpg
Cryptomeria japonica 'Vilmorinia'
cryptomeria japonica vilmorinia.jpg

Various small leafed Acers


Lonicera Nitida
Lonicera nitida.jpg
Lonicera Nitida Baggesens Gold
Bagessens gold.jpg



GROUND COVER:
Babys Tears/Mother of Thousands/MYOB/....



Erodium
Erodium.jpg
Saxifrage -mossy types
Saxifrage.jpg
Creeping Veronica
creeping veronica.jpg
Winter Savory
winter savory.jpg
Acaena ( Don't know what this variety is)
Acaena.jpg
Acaena buchananii
acaena buchananii.jpg
Prostrate Rosemary
Some low growing Hebe's - in this picture a Hebe and Rosemary are growing together and all tangled up!
hebe& prostrate rosemary.jpg
Creeping Thymes
creeping thyme 1.jpg


Hutchinsia
Hutchinsia.jpg
I tend to look at local garden centres ( Not Wyvale, Hilliers, Homebase, B&Q, etc) at about this time of year when they are putting 'cripples' in a big reduced pile. If it doesn't have a label don't worry, if it has small leaves that's all that really matters, who cares about the Latin name and for 50p or a quid it doesn't really matter whether it lives or dies?

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by tom_tom_go » Thu Aug 30, 2018 11:52 am

This shall be a sticky, good idea.

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by Lonsdaler » Fri Aug 31, 2018 9:35 am

Excellent stuff Philip. I love the creeping Thymes - many varieties too, so doesn't look like all one type of plant.
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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by Peter Butler » Thu Sep 06, 2018 8:37 pm

Just planted 3 types of low growing, spreading plants which might be of interest...
Thymus capitatus... 10cm tall.
IMG_5743.JPG
Isotama Fairy Carpet ..... 5cm tall

IMG_5745.JPG
Raouli australis.... 2cm tall
IMG_5744.JPG
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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by ge_rik » Fri Sep 07, 2018 6:59 am

Thanks - very interesting stuff. Quick question.

I really struggle to grow saxifrage and thyme. Tried several times and on each occasion they shrink in size and then disappear. Are they sensitive to soil type? I'm on clay which I've tried enriching with peat.

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 7:32 am

I'm no expert gardener and I do seem to kill saxifrage and bushy thyme, so that I've more or less given up on them. However creeping thymes seem to do well on our clay, so much so that they have actually covered the tracks in a couple of places and rooted on the other side when left alone. I pulled some up off the track about a week ago and it had rooted into the moss between the rails, so I've planted the bits in a couple of pots and watered them a bit 2 or 3 times since and they seem to still be alive. They do like sun and in general are less keen on shade, they also don't seem to like 'good' soil so enriching the clay may be the wrong thing to do. I believe their natural habit is in sunny rocky locations. They seem to be reasonably drought tolerant but definitely don't like to dry out completely. One small potted plant planted about 4 years ago now covers an area almost 12inches wide by 6ft long and I've trimmed it away from the tracks several times or it would have been bigger still by now.. This summer it seems to have done particularly well, which may emphasise its love of sun!

If anyone can add anything more definitive to my laymans experiences, please do?

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by invicta280 » Fri Sep 07, 2018 9:04 am

I've not had much luck with Thyme either, despite my wife being a knowledgeable gardener. We know that they like 'bony' soil, dryish habitat, sunny position. They are a mediterranean type plant after all. Every time we try them they seem to sulk and then slowly shrivel up. :scratch:

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by SimonWood » Fri Sep 07, 2018 10:47 am

I'm on clay. I've had thyme that has absolutely thrived for well over year - plant getting bigger and bigger. Then whole chunks die off until the entire thing is dead wood. I've still got a couple of the cuttings going that I took when it was thriving, but I've no idea how to stop them going the same way...

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Fri Sep 07, 2018 11:07 am

I can't offer any more suggestions apart from what I've already said and to reiterate that in my experience the creeping varieties seem to do much better than the bushy ones, for some unknown reason.

This one is about 5 years old. It started from the RH end of the picture and has slowly spread along to the left. The trackside gang have to regularly cut it back from the track as you can see. It doesn't get much sun, being shaded by the Honesuckle on the arch to the left. It is sgrowing in clay with added general compost and bits of topsoil. The ground keeps sinking and from time to time I top it up with whatever is available!
DSC_0004 small.jpg

This one is only a couple of years old and rarely sees the sun, being under the edge of the apple tree canopy. I cut it back from the track a few weeks ago so you can see the recent growth.
DSC_0003 small.jpg

This is the big one! It started from the top right as just a typical small garden centre 75mm pot. Its been there about 5 or 6 years and has spread to overhang the pond edge slabs, the track, and the yellow stonecrop, rooted in the track, and on the LH side of the track where it is already starting to spread across the paving slab..
It is growing in a narrow but deep lump of clay and it doesn't get much sun because it is shaded by fairly tall/dense shrubs on the LH off picture.
DSC_0002 edit.jpg
Unfortunately, I can't tell you names of any of them, because the labels always get lost.

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by Robert Hammond » Sun Jan 06, 2019 4:16 pm

Surely bonsai trees would be ideal but I never heard of anyone using bonsai in a garden railway. Does anyone have any ideas on this?

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:12 pm

Bonsai is a work in progress that never ends, afaik. They need fairly constant pruning and training of branches and, I believe more importantly, pruning roots, to keep them small. Planted in the garden that would all be difficult to say the least. Additionally of course, a decent bonsai takes many years to grow and they can then be worth many hundreds of pounds each. I don't think I'd risk one in the garden myself, but I'm no expert and I'll probably now be shot down by folk who know far better than me! :lol:

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by andymctractor » Thu Aug 01, 2019 11:46 pm

For trees I use the ones everyone else uses with a lot of crossed fingers and see what happens. Can't stop the dog peeing on them, which is less of a problem once they are established. About 50% of my trees are box but I've not bought any more since I heard of the deadly disease that is spreading up the UK.

Ground cover is also a bit of hit and miss but one I love is Leptinella Patentilla (i think). This, I believe has origins in New Zealand. Close up it looks like 1:19 scale bracken. In winter it goes dark and looks like it has died but it come back in the summer. It can be bought from garden centres but is quite expensive. Best way is to get a handful from someone who uses it and start it off with plenty of water.
IMG_5635web.jpg
Close up.
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Last edited by andymctractor on Fri Aug 02, 2019 4:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by DonW » Fri Aug 02, 2019 12:18 am

philipy wrote:
Sun Jun 30, 2019 3:12 pm
Bonsai is a work in progress that never ends, afaik. They need fairly constant pruning and training of branches and, I believe more importantly, pruning roots, to keep them small. Planted in the garden that would all be difficult to say the least. Additionally of course, a decent bonsai takes many years to grow and they can then be worth many hundreds of pounds each. I don't think I'd risk one in the garden myself, but I'm no expert and I'll probably now be shot down by folk who know far better than me! :lol:
You are right Phil Bonsai needs to have the roots restricted and are generally grown in small trays. Plant out in the Garden and they will get bigger. Incidentally when we moved into one house there was a conifer about 16ft tall quite close to the house and quite wide. I later discovered it had been planted as a minature 6 inch high some 32 years before. Slow growing at 6 ins per year but so far as I know it could have grown to 36ft by now.

Don

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Sat Aug 03, 2019 1:59 pm

I did 2 years Latin and dropped it as soon as I was able to!
As for conifers, especially in pots, they dislike too much water and annoyingly they also dislike too little water :roll: :scratch: I've killed them both ways which is how I know. :cussing: Plus, they sometimes just die for no apparent reason. If that happens I just treat it as a reason to get a new small one.

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Re: Plants for Garden Railways

Post by philipy » Sat Aug 03, 2019 2:11 pm

I've been meaning to reply to Andy ( Mctractor) but kept forgetting.
I think the Leptinella Potentilla may actually now be Leptinella Squalida, also known as 'New Zealand Brass Buttons' . There is also a variation of this called "Leptinella squalida 'Platt's Black' " which has a much darker leak. I've tried to grow both of these in the past with little success, i.e, they died!

However, to pick up on Dave's point about naming, the Leptinella family comprises 33 species and have suffered various name changes and reclassifications! Do a search for Leptinella and the Wikipedia entry has more info.

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