Garden Railways

Miniature trains plus miniature plants equals delight on a large scale.

By Pat Hayward

Photography by Sean McCormick


Garden trains are a holiday treat for kids of all ages.The Horticulture Express
Plants for garden railways are often chosen for their small scale and finely textured leaves and stems. Here are a few excellent choices for garden railroads in a variety of climates. Look for these and other miniature plants in the rock-garden and bonsai sections of local garden centers. If garden railroading is not for you, these same plants are excellent candidates for rock gardens and containers.

Little Trees

  • Dwarf Alberta spruce (Picea glauca ‘Conica')
  • Dwarf boxwood (Buxus microphylla)
  • Little-leaf cotoneaster (Cotoneaster microphyllus)


  • Corsican mint (Mentha requienii)
  • Creeping phlox (Phlox subulata)
  • Irish, Scotch moss (Sagina subulata, S. subulata ‘Aurea')

Small-Scale Perennials

  • Dwarf sea pink (Armeria maritima ‘Victor Reiter')
  • Miniature daisy (Bellium minutum)
  • Miniature mondo grass (Ophiopogon japonicus ‘Nanus')