A passion for model trains and a passion for gardening find common ground in the garden railway. Create a miniature world in your backyard complete with small-scale trains, buildings, figures and live small plants. Many garden railway plants are also used for bonsai gardens. Make sure miniature plants are hardy for your zone before installing in the garden railway. The pleasure of a garden railway knows no age limits -- it's something for the entire family to enjoy.
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Miniature ferns, such as Leptinella potentillina verdigras, also known as brass buttons, are popular garden railway plants. These tiny perennial ferns are hardy in United States Department of Agriculture zone 4 to 9 (winter lows of -30F to 25F). They may produce little yellow flowers, hence the name "brass buttons." Plant in well-drained, moist soils, in either full sun or partial shade. Brass buttons are drought-tolerant once they are firmly established.
To establish the appearance of grass on the garden railway, plant sedum acre, also known as stonecrop or gold moss. This deciduous ground cover is hardy in zones 3 to 8 (-40F to 15F). Sedum acre sprouts golden flowers in the spring. Plant in full sun or partial shade in well-drained acidic soil. Sedum acre prefers sandy or gravelly soils, according to the University of North Carolina. An easy grower, sedum acre spreads quickly, and gets wide use in garden railways and rock gardens.
Herbs and Edible Plants.
The garden railroad can also double as an herb garden. Thyme is a favourite, and other herbs appropriate for use in the garden railway include chives, sage, parsley, basil along with edible plants.Try dwarf types of root vegetables such as carrots in the railway landscape.
Dwarf Alberta Spruce
Garden railroads need trees to look realistic and the dwarf Alberta spruce, Picea glauca 'Conica' is one of the most frequently used conifers. Hardy to zone 2 (-50F), the dwarf Alberta spruce grows very slowly but will still need regular trimming to maintain its small size in the garden railway. Plant in full or partial sun, in moist, well-drained soil. Because of its dense foliage, this tree requires a location with good air circulation. It is prone to mite infestation, so consider whether annual pesticide application suits your garden railway plans.
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