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Smaller And Better

Dwarf varieties of old favorites are much more suitable for small yards.

Unlike the Eupatorium purpureum shown here, the 'Baby Joe' variety offers a more compact plant for smaller spaces.

Eupatorium ‘Baby Joe’ is better known as the new small Joe Pye weed.

If you have grown the big Joe Pye weeds that are tall and spread a lot, you will love this smaller one, which doesn’t fall over or take over. It is so much more suitable for small yards.

It is always such a relief to find that plant breeders have come up with a dwarf variety of a large or ungainly plant. I remember how happy I was to find a dwarf butterfly bush a few years ago.

I also give thanks for my dwarf flowering lilac, which flowers heavily each spring and re-blooms intermittently all summer and fall. A bonus is the butterflies that are attracted to it over a long time as a result of the re-blooming. Unlike old-fashioned lilacs, it also is never a chore to prune.

I also love the smaller, more compact Vitex Agnus-castus ‘Delta Blues’, which—though smaller—is as beautiful as the species. It is also fragrant, deer resistant and produces those characteristic blue summer blooms that hold well in bouquets.

Slow-growing as well as dwarf varieties of old favorites now make it easy to have lots of old-fashioned favorite flowers in even the smallest garden without all that hard work of pruning.

Moya Andrews

, originally from Queensland, Australia, served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Faculties at Indiana University until 2004. In the same year, Moya began hosting Focus on Flowers for WFIU. In addition, Moya does interviews for Profiles, is a member of the Bloomington Hospital Board, and authored Perennials Short and Tall from Indiana University Press.

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