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Tips for aspiring green thumbs


Gardening helps many active seniors lay the foundations for a positive approach to living well.

Yet while developing a green thumb has many health and therapeutic benefits, a scarcity of space combined with a lack of confidence means many active seniors fail to turn their dreams of having a beautiful garden into a reality.

Maximising your small garden

Conor O’Shea, the CEO of Queensland-based Centenary Landscaping Supplies, says when you don’t have the luxury of a big garden, making effective use of the vertical space you have available can add layers of much-needed depth to your garden space while also giving the illusion of more space.

O’Shea says it is worthwhile introducing vertical structures to your garden such as hanging baskets, a plant wall or investing in an all-in-one vertical planting system, he says. Some even come with an in-built vermicomposting system.

“If you don’t have much space for planters and pots, make use of fences, or the sides of a garden shed to grow climbing plants such as a kiwi vines, cucumbers, and passionfruit on trellises.”

Colour works wonders

O’Shea says while those beautiful red roses and hot orange dahlias look stunning when in full bloom, dark and bold colours tend to draw the focal point of the eye and can make your garden feel smaller.

“Instead, plant them sparingly and opt for lovely white or light pink petunias, the soft light blue tones of hydrangeas or some charming white gardenias for a light colour scheme in your garden,” he says.

Use terraces to trick

In small gardens, all spaces must be put to work. By ‘terracing’ your garden you can make your small garden look visually bigger and have more planting space for your favourite plants.

When it comes time to plant a terraced garden remember to provide adequate drainage, ensuring that plants on different levels are all getting a healthy amount of sun and that plants on lower terraces don’t obscure the view of those higher up.

Plant varietals make a difference

Many plants come in a compact or dwarf form. With clever plant choices, you can still grow things of interest like lemon trees in a small garden to add interest.

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