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    • hanb
    • By hanb 8th May 17, 1:30 PM
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    hanb
    Plant help for an empty garden!
    • #1
    • 8th May 17, 1:30 PM
    Plant help for an empty garden! 8th May 17 at 1:30 PM
    Hi all,


    I'd really like to plant some plants to help our garden look a little less sad! My problem is, I am clueless and I don't know where to start.


    We have two beds. I've tested our soil and it's Alkaline in both. The biggest one is the least alkaline.


    At the end of the longest one is a geranium that seems to have survived winter and is back (will flower pink if it continues to survive!). In the other bed is a rose bush that has 3 roses appeared in the last couple of weeks. Apart from that, there's nothing in them.


    Ideally I'd like some colour all year round rather than it being completely sad in the winter. I'd also like to be bee friendly as well as not poisoning neighbours cats! Other than that, I don't really know - there's almost too much information out there that I don't know where to start. I do know that I'm not going to be someone who would like to spend hours dealing with plants so low maintenance is definitely what I'm after I probably don't want lots of different bright colours.. I like purples and whites but not really yellows.


    My gran has grown me some white lupin bless her so it sounds like I'll be getting some of those at the end of the month


    Any ideas of where to start? Or some good, low maintenance plants I should look at? I really am clueless right now!


    Some pics should they help (taken before mowing the lawn so much tidier now!)


    https://ibb.co/dJOuT5

    https://ibb.co/kspwak
Page 1
    • Sarahdol75
    • By Sarahdol75 8th May 17, 2:00 PM
    • 6,483 Posts
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    Sarahdol75
    • #2
    • 8th May 17, 2:00 PM
    • #2
    • 8th May 17, 2:00 PM
    Will be keeping an eye on this thread myself.

    I have no idea on plants, if its got colour on it I keep it, most of the time I get told its a weed.
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    • belfastgirl23
    • By belfastgirl23 8th May 17, 6:35 PM
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    belfastgirl23
    • #3
    • 8th May 17, 6:35 PM
    • #3
    • 8th May 17, 6:35 PM
    Do you have neighbours who are gardeners or who have nice gardens? My experience is that gardeners are quite generous and often are happy to pass on seeds or clipping. And you have the advantage of knowing the plants grow in your locality. You could try the Nextdoor app and ask for advice?

    • Kyrae
    • By Kyrae 8th May 17, 8:18 PM
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    Kyrae
    • #4
    • 8th May 17, 8:18 PM
    • #4
    • 8th May 17, 8:18 PM
    Wow, where to start, those beds have great potential! I tend to go for low maintenance plants that slugs don't eat and that are bee and wildlife friendly, and I like the cottage garden sort of look If you like that sort of thing and the border gets plenty of sun, here's some ideas:

    Shrubs - I love hebes! They generally don't need pruning, you can find ones that stay quite small, lots of flowers, and really low maintenance! If you don't mind some spikes, berberis and pyracantha are lovely and give evergreen colour with berries for the birds. I love buddleia for the bees and butterflies but it does grow petty big if you don't cut it back every year. Black lace sambucus is nice for a different colour leaf too, and flowering quince is lovely trained against a wall, really beautiful pink or red flowers in spring! Flowering currant and lavatera are pretty too for pink flowers.

    Trees - If you fancy a tree, there are some lovely small rowan trees, or you can train an apple to grow along the fence!

    Perennials - These are plants that regrow every year. I love aquilegia, penstemon, lambs ear, geum, salvias, peony, poppies, mexican fleabane, sea holly, veronica, ox eye daisy, achillea, asters, dianthus, iberis, jacob's ladder, ladies mantle, sedum, pasque flower, alpine phlox, potentilla, scabious, schizostylis, thrift, tiarella. All of those are pretty slug resistant and low maintenance!

    Hope that helps!
    • xMonsoonx
    • By xMonsoonx 8th May 17, 8:41 PM
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    xMonsoonx
    • #5
    • 8th May 17, 8:41 PM
    • #5
    • 8th May 17, 8:41 PM
    I guess you need to decide if you want decorative and edible?
    • hanb
    • By hanb 8th May 17, 9:45 PM
    • 437 Posts
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    hanb
    • #6
    • 8th May 17, 9:45 PM
    • #6
    • 8th May 17, 9:45 PM
    Amazing! Thank you, lots to look in to!

    Sorry, I should have said it's an east facing garden so gets sun in the middle of the day. The top end gets sun til 6ish about now before it goes behind the house. So not loads of sun but a bit!

    I don't think we'll do edible, from what I've read it's quite a lot of effort and for now at least, I'm not ready for that! Also, OH only really eats broccoli and cauliflower so it would be a bit dull
    • Jojo the Tightfisted
    • By Jojo the Tightfisted 10th May 17, 7:31 PM
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    Jojo the Tightfisted
    • #7
    • 10th May 17, 7:31 PM
    • #7
    • 10th May 17, 7:31 PM
    Nasturtiums, wild style geraniums, primroses, foxgloves, ox eye daisies, various herbs (thyme, camomile, chives, sage, dill, etc - not mint or basil) are very tough and insects love their flowers. You don't have to eat herbs to grow them.

    Have a go at sunflowers.

    Sweet peas, ivy, a climbing rose trained across the fence (flowers grow from vertical shoots, but have to have horizontals to grow those spurs from), hollyhocks, delphiniums, viper's bugloss, teasel, rosemary, lavender, all seem pretty much indestructible in my garden.

    Just faff about with random seeds and see what grows and what doesn't. That's worked for me, anyhow.
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    • springdreams
    • By springdreams 13th May 17, 10:55 PM
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    springdreams
    • #8
    • 13th May 17, 10:55 PM
    • #8
    • 13th May 17, 10:55 PM
    I'd recommend hydrangeas, lavendar and fuchsias. They are very low maintenance.
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    • tiz
    • By tiz 13th May 17, 11:45 PM
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    tiz
    • #9
    • 13th May 17, 11:45 PM
    • #9
    • 13th May 17, 11:45 PM
    Sign up for the Thompson & Morgan newsletter / keep an eye on their website. They do perennial collections of plug plants where you get a big batch of small plants to grow on that gives you a good mix. You can end up with 70 odd plants for £10. Perennials are plants that stay alive (fingers crossed) year after year. I'd be tempted with some clematis for the side border - they'll need some supports but that will give you hight as well.

    For now you might also like some annuals - plants that only last a year. They'll give you flowers and colour now so good for filling in the gaps with others grow. Again look out for offers or have a look for big packs of mixed seeds. Again buying plugs will give you more for the same price and they will grow fast now the weathers warming up.
    • elsien
    • By elsien 13th May 17, 11:54 PM
    • 15,164 Posts
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    elsien
    You might not want edible that's hard work but what about some perennial herbs? Bee friendly, low maintenance and useful. Thymes, lemon balm, oregano, rosemary, sage, that sort of thing?
    All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well.

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    • Honeysucklelou2
    • By Honeysucklelou2 14th May 17, 3:01 AM
    • 439 Posts
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    Honeysucklelou2
    Heucheras are good for colour all year, flowers in late Spring/ early summer. If you choose the varieties carefully you could have purple leaved, orange, vivid green and all kinds of shades in between.

    Euonymus is good for all year colour...especially in winter. It stands out then when everything else has lost its leaves. Honeysuckles are good for training across a fence or even climbing through a tree.

    Crab apple trees are quite compact and have interest across the seasons.

    Ceanothus is a good evergreen plant to have with stunning blue flowers at this time of year.

    Consider planting some bulbs that will come up each year. Nerines are great for autumnal colour. Crocosima is good for ease of growth and spread but can spread to the point of being a weed in some cases!
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    • springdreams
    • By springdreams 14th May 17, 7:44 AM
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    springdreams
    Sign up for the Thompson & Morgan newsletter / keep an eye on their website. They do perennial collections of plug plants where you get a big batch of small plants to grow on that gives you a good mix. You can end up with 70 odd plants for £10. Perennials are plants that stay alive (fingers crossed) year after year. I'd be tempted with some clematis for the side border - they'll need some supports but that will give you hight as well.

    For now you might also like some annuals - plants that only last a year. They'll give you flowers and colour now so good for filling in the gaps with others grow. Again look out for offers or have a look for big packs of mixed seeds. Again buying plugs will give you more for the same price and they will grow fast now the weathers warming up.
    Originally posted by tiz
    Everything I've bought from Thompson & Morgan has died .... The plugs I bought from Wilkos and B&Q have fared better.

    You'd be better off going to a local garden centre / nursery.
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    ..one size fits all... and nobody minds if you give it back.
    Originally posted by squeaky
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    • DigForVictory
    • By DigForVictory 14th May 17, 9:16 AM
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    DigForVictory
    Or your nearest car boots - I've got several little plants for pennies a pop & advice on where they'll do best.
    Poundshop plants tend to be very fragile & a bit of a false economy, but the packs of bedding stuff outside supermarkets (including Aldi & Lidl!) usually survive & look pretty enough. Supermarkets & poundshops usually do plant food pellets which help, although this last week I think a watering can would have been more critical!
    I'm a firm believer in herbs of the sort that don't try to take over the world so chives (in a pot as they scatter seed widely), mint (as roots take over the available universe) but then sages, parsley, oregano marjoram? All can be very pretty, bee friendly, and delicious in spag bol.
    My little cousin is currently winning hands down in her section of garden - she dumped (sadly, an exact description!) a load of nasturtium seeds in a month ago & now has both green leaves she can eat & the start of bright flowers which should stay blooming til she starts school. And I'll be pointing out where they've formed seeds so she can repeat the trick next year (hopefully across a wider area & in my garden?!)

    Oh & one other thing? A big trug to chuck the garden bits into so you have One Place to look for them all, from trowel to secateurs to the pack of seeds bought on impulse etc. Saves you needing a shed in your first month!
    • wantonnoodle
    • By wantonnoodle 18th May 17, 12:37 PM
    • 197 Posts
    • 138 Thanks
    wantonnoodle
    I would suggest lavender, you can get it in both white and purple, and in the summer it smells lovely.

    Also, cats generally don't like it much so often give the area a wide berth. Good if you want a humane way of keeping cats out of the garden!

    Other plants you may like to include are clematis and dianthus. If you are prepared to keep it pruned, you could go for a buddleia, but they need to be kept under control as they can be invasive. Bees and butterflies love it though!
    • firebird082
    • By firebird082 18th May 17, 1:59 PM
    • 531 Posts
    • 438 Thanks
    firebird082
    Also, cats generally don't like it much so often give the area a wide berth. Good if you want a humane way of keeping cats out of the garden!
    Originally posted by wantonnoodle
    I wish someone would tell my neighbour's cats that. We've got masses of lavender, and it doesn't stop them!
    • Mrs Huggett
    • By Mrs Huggett 18th May 17, 8:32 PM
    • 353 Posts
    • 475 Thanks
    Mrs Huggett
    Many years ago I bought a book..The Garden Expert by Dr D G Hessayon.. I found it invaluable for information when starting out..get a copy of the Flower Expert (same author) at the same time and this will give you a good grounding in how to choose..plant and care for the plants you will fall in love with..Also many of the really good plant retailers online have great information on them..Companies like Crocus.co.uk and the Nurseries like Wyevales..Gardening teaches you one thing.. if nothing else.. patience lol Dont be afraid to get it wrong sometimes..just don't get it wrong with really expensive plants!!
    • arbrighton
    • By arbrighton 18th May 17, 9:33 PM
    • 1,934 Posts
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    arbrighton
    Sign up for the Thompson & Morgan newsletter / keep an eye on their website. They do perennial collections of plug plants where you get a big batch of small plants to grow on that gives you a good mix. You can end up with 70 odd plants for £10. Perennials are plants that stay alive (fingers crossed) year after year. I'd be tempted with some clematis for the side border - they'll need some supports but that will give you hight as well.
    .
    Originally posted by tiz
    I really wouldn't recommend this for a beginner, sorry. Growing on perennials requires pots (and the space for them!) and time and patience. And it's not very often that you get 100% success.
    • Butterfliesarepretty
    • By Butterfliesarepretty 19th May 17, 3:20 PM
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    Butterfliesarepretty
    I love gardening and find that perrenials such as dianthus, delphiniums, foxgloves, giant poppies, aquilegia, campanula (spreads fast though) are perfect for any spot, shady or sunny. I have inherited a good garden by moving house to Darwen from Bury and I have on one side, two types of clematis, honesuckle growing over the garage and from that bed is a herb garden, spearmint, chives, fennel, parsley, wild garlic etc. At the back is a rock garden we made and we put saxifraga(pink), primula, geum, lemon fizz, phlox, and winter primulas in white. On the other side I have a large artichoke plant, a frame with runner beans growing on it, jasmine, camelia, wild garlic again, and purple med sized alliums.

    Buy a tub of chicken manure and sprinkle all over soil and let rain soak it in. £6 a tub. We also go to a farm where we take our own bags and get free manure well rotted and just dig it in. Over time your plants will grow faster, no need for feeding pellets. We have taken down a leylandi shrub and i have used the stump, pulled the bark off and drilled holes all over and made a feature of it by placing york stone (we had all over the garden) edges in a circle, got some large pebbles and planted daisy, poppies and other small sedum plants around it with campanula etc. Bees and flies use the holes to crawl in and out of. Also to add structure to your garden, buy a small japanese acer (lots of leaf colour) and you only have to repot every 2-3 years. Make a log pile too for insects, the more bees you get the more interest created.
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    • firebird082
    • By firebird082 19th May 17, 5:53 PM
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    firebird082
    I really wouldn't recommend this for a beginner, sorry. Growing on perennials requires pots (and the space for them!) and time and patience. And it's not very often that you get 100% success.
    Originally posted by arbrighton
    Agreed - I did lots of these in my first year, and whilst many things survived, in hindsight, it really wasn't the best way to get started.
    • tootallulah
    • By tootallulah 19th May 17, 9:18 PM
    • 1,998 Posts
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    tootallulah
    Plant a few perennials as seeds they will grow and give you confidence and plants. I grew the backbone of my cottage garden knowing nothing just with six flower pots and two bags of compost. And now I am an addict growing with a street plant swap group , fruit and a bit veg. Hugely enjoyable and for me unexpected.
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