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Creating a small cottage garden.

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Jack Sparrow, May 30, 2021.

  1. Jack Sparrow

    Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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    I currently have a piece of garden, along my back fence, which every year is grown over with nettles etc. It is not visible from the house so it is an area that gets overlooked. My 2 cats, and dogs, for that matter, seem to enjoy the wild bits so I am keen to keep a "wildish" area for them to enjoy.

    20210530_153628.jpg
    I took this picture at 3pm today. Its south facing and in the summer is in sun for most of the day. In the winter, the sun doesn't reach so high.

    20210530_155134.jpg
    This is the same area, taken in the winter, from a different angle.

    I would like to create a small area that looks wild but is manageable and attractive. If I could do that with perennial plants, I would be rather chuffed. The tree roots make the area difficult to dig.

    I am looking for suggestions as to what sort of plants I should be looking at. They would preferably be things that I could pick up at any local garden centre.The area isn't very big so trees and large bushes are out. Wind and rain are also factors to consider.

    Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks.

    G.
     
  2. luciusmaximus

    luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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    Are you going to plant up all of the rectangular area of just the bit marked in red?
     
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    • Selleri

      Selleri Koala

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      I have an impossible corner as a dedicated wildlife area. Mature Ivy sucks everything out of the soil so planting was challenging- much like your area thanks to your tree.

      Geraniums do very well and flower all summer (a bit tattered in the pick as I ripped half of them out yesterday to plant in the front garden ). Bluebells are in bloom now, and the Hellebore flowered all winter. It arrived as a weed but looks great and brings some height.

      Further to right I have white Foxgloves underplanted with Gladioli to flower when the Foxgloves have passed.

      In the bit that was just rocks and rubble, I dug a small pond. Birds love it and there is always something buzzing. The maintenance is easy- I haven't done anything to it :biggrin:

      The area is certainly wild, but the lawn is edged to form a neat-ish curve to sort of bring some sense of order.

      In addition to Ivy, Hellebore and Geraniums, alpine strawberries would make a nice evergreen ground cover. Nigella is a very pretty and easy annual that sways in the breeze and often self-seeds. Anemones are also most welcome in early spring.


      It's a very exiting opportunity you have there :)
      shadycorner.jpgwildcorner.jpgwildpond.jpg
       
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      • Jack Sparrow

        Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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        20210531_113401.jpg
        Its difficult to take a picture from a decent angle because of the shed. This picture was taken around 5.30pm. You can see the sun has moved from the previous photo.

        The blue area can be seen clearly from the house. It is my main bulb area. In there are snowdrops, daffodils, bluebells, aconites and the odd squill. There is also a geranium which does very nicely and some cyclamen which I'm hoping will come back in the autumn. In the bottom corner of the picture you can just see the hellebore in the pot, doing very nicely indeed.

        The green area at the far end I want to keep as clear as possible. I need room to access my composter and somewhere to store any bulk items that won't fit on to the racking. Behind the composter I have sown the hollyhocks seeds. This area is visible from the road.

        I am toying with the idea of growing some kind of climber on the fence. The problem with that is the fence isn't mine.

        The red area is the area I want to concentrate on.

        Foxglove are something that I have thought of. Im not sure whether the cats would like it. I have irises else where that are doing very well. I don't know if they would do so well here. They also have a toxicology issue. A different kind of geranium might work also. The one I have is Rosanne . I think a white/pink/cream geranium would look better with darker, taller flowers behind it. Every year I spread around my snowdrops and bluebells. This year I will just have to spread them around a bit further.

        G.
         
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        • Nikolaos

          Nikolaos Super Gardener

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          What about both white and pink? :biggrin: This is one of my favourite geranium species, versicolor (Pencilled Cranesbill). It's white with delicate magenta veining and the whole flower fades to pink after a while. :)

          geranium versicolor - Recherche Google

          Nick
           
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          • Jack Sparrow

            Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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            • Jack Sparrow

              Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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              The more I look into it, the more plants I find that claim to be harmful to pets. Many of these plants I have had varieties of in my garden for years with no ill effects. I have lilies, alliums and irises already so I am pretty happy that, if needed, I would be able to use some of these in my "wild section".

              G.
               
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              • Jack Sparrow

                Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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                Looking at it from different angle, I have determined that the area I highlighted is actual an extension of an area that's already started.

                20210606_115855.jpg
                I need to be looking at this garden as a single entity. This area is alternatively in the sun or the shade depending on the time of day.

                I spent a long time during the week searching the internet for particular plants I liked the look of. Then, yesterday I went to my nearest garden centre and bought the first plants that I saw. I'm not one for hunting around. The varieties I bought might not be as spectacular as long as they fill the gaps, I'm not too bothered. The plants I bought I potted on for the time being; 2 types of geranium, a foxglove, an adenophora and some allium bulbs I salvaged from elsewhere in the garden. I also have an eryngium I could possibly use.

                Elsewhere I have a mahonia Caberet and chamaecyparissus santolina which need moving. These are plants that I believe would also go nicely in these areas.


                20210606_113352.jpg

                I am also looking for something low growing to fill the space between the raised bed and the fence. The rubbish against the fence will be moved at some point. I have started to put spring bulbs in there and I will do so again this autumn.

                I was looking at something like cotoneaster horizantalis. The right ups all say that it is invasive yet they all sell it. If anybody can comment on this, your advice would be appreciated. Any similar suggestions would also be welcomed. There should soon be a BBQ shelter filling up the raised bed so whatever is planted behind doesn't need to be too showy.

                Thanks.

                G.
                 
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                • Graham B

                  Graham B Gardener

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                  I'm iffy about the lists of "harmful" plants. Sure, they may be poisonous if you force-feed them to your pets/children, but realistically pets don't eat plants. Carnivores just aren't interested in snacking on a foxglove. And children can be taught to wash hands, once they're old enough to not be watched.
                   
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                  • luciusmaximus

                    luciusmaximus Total Gardener

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                    :wub2::wub2:,so pretty.
                     
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