The “Garden” in Garden Railroading

Photos of flowers and plants in the Gardens:


New Retaining Wall

Helping Mother Nature:

The plants on the Centralia Garden Railroad are supposed to be in proportion to the buildings, figures and trains.  However, they keep growing and if not attended to, will be much too large for the layout.  So trimming is  a necessary chore and I discovered bonsai tools are a great help in making boxwood, juniper, and illiac shilling bushes look like old forest trees.  I can hardly believe the amount of branches that I trimmed from the bushes in order to make them look like adult trees.  Also, the trimming helps the air flow among the branches, which will probably need to be done with the roots in order to aid in air flow.  However, since the deciduous trees are bushes, perhaps their roots won’t need to be thinned out.

In the photo below, the tree in the center is about to be trimmed to make it look like a tree rather and a bush (which it is):


Notice below the bush has been transformed into a grouping of trees.  As time progresses, most likely I will continue to thin out the “trunks” and have fewer trees from that single bush.


Notice, besides needing to clean up before taking a photo, the tree is much more realistic with some of the trunk showing.  The groundcover is creeping fig which has just been replanted.

The Forest: 

Also, several years ago, I planted red cedar to represent the hundreds of acres of cypress, pine and cedar trees, that existed in the area surrounding the real Centralia in early 1900.  These trees were planted in small pots in the ground  hoping to stunt their growth.  And it has worked, but the tops of the trees don’t really look right.  I suppose one of these days I will need to dig each of them up and work on pruning the roots if I want to keep them alive.  So far, they appear healthy and are developing thick trunks, just has I had expected.

If you look at the photo below, the trees more or less blend together without an definitive shapes of individual trees.


In the photo below, I have begun to shape the trees by removing much of the dense foliage.  Pinching and pruning will not only help create the desired shape or tree silhouette, but will thin out the inside twigs that could become a tangle of crossing branches.  By removing them, fresh air and light will be able to penetrate the inside limbs and the structure begin to look like an adult tree.



In the photo below about 6 months has passed since the above photo.  Note the thicker trunks and the forest is beginning to look more natural.


Miniature Plants:

One of the challanges of garden railroading is finding and using plants that are in proportion to the figures, building and trains. In this section, here are some of the 60 species of plants that are used for landscaping.  The most prevelant plants are:  boxwood, juniper, and ilac shilling for trees; sedum and thyme for grasses; and small annuals such as allysum for color.

Above, the sheep are grazing on thyme.

There are a number of small bushes used for “trees.”  In this photo, the most common “tree’ is boxwood.

The evergreen growing above the track is juniper.


In this photo, the small tree in front of the building is ilac shilling.  It is shaped and trimmed to keep it in proportion to the buildings and figures.  At the base of the tree is sedum, with baby tears to the left, which makes a good ground cover.

In the cemetary, stonecrop sedum is used as a cemetary lawn.

Here a soft-touch holly is used as an orange tree.  Beads are painted and are attached to the tree with small wire.

Current Plant list:

Plants in the Centralia Garden Railroad

Common  Name Scientific Name
Allysum, sweet Brassicaceae
Alpine spirea dwarf Spirea japonica alpina
Asparagus “foxtail” fern Asparagus densiflorus ‘Meyersii’
Baby Sun Rose Aptenia cordifolia
Baby tears, dwarf Hemianthus callitrichoides
Blue Daze Evolvulus glomeratus
Borschii sport sedum
Boxwood Buxaceæ
Boxwood basil Add to Wish List
Ocimum basilicum
Cacti, various
Candy Corn
Chinese fringe flower, dwarf Loropetalum
Chocolate chip bugleweed ajuga
Dahlberg daisy
Dragon Breath Hemigraphia
Dragons blood sedum Sedum spurium
Dragons breath sedum
Common  Name Scientific Name
Eliza blue tress
Erica Erica carnea
False, Mexican heather Cuphea hyssopifolia
Gardenia, dwarf
German thyme
Golden Japanese sweet flag, dwarf
Holly, Dwarf Burford Ilex cornuta
Holly, soft touch Ilex crebata
Ice Plant Nubiganum
Ilex Shilling Ilex vomitoria ‘Schillings Dwarf’
Joseph’s coat Alternanthera
Juniper, bluestar Juniperus squamata
Juniper, procumbens Juniperus procumbens
Kingsville boxwood Buxus microphylla compact
Lime thyme
Mando grass, dwarf Ophiopogon japonicus
Mondo Grass, variegated Ophiopogon japonicus Variegata
Common  Name Scientific Name
Pine, dwarf Pinus mugo or pumila
Pink Chintz thyme Thymus serpyllum
Purslane, pazazz Portulaca oleracea
Pygmy Dwarf Spruce
Red Creeping Thyme Thymus coccineus
Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis
Rosemary, creeping Rosmarinus officinalis Prostratus
Ruby Mantle Spurium  ruby mantle
sea urchin sedum
Spirea alpino
Stonecrop sedum
Succulents, varied
Sweet marjoram
Thyme Thymus coccineus  major
Tri-color Spurium Tri-color
Wandering (creeping) fig Ficus Repens
Weeping red dragon Acer palmatum
Wire Vine Muehlenbeckia
Wooly Thyme Thymus pseudolanuginosus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s