Ideas for a walled garden

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Kon, Jul 26, 2019.

  1. Kon

    Kon Gardener

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    My house is a typical 1930s semi with a long, narrow garden. The previous owners made it into three distinct sections -- 1) nearest the back door is a patio with raised beds, 2) next is a lawn with a path going up the middle, 3) at the very back there is a 'secret' garden overgrown with weeds.

    I want some ideas for what I can do with this last area, pictured below.
    [​IMG]

    The stone wall at the back is a west-facing wall. The photo looks bright, taken late on a July afternoon when the patch is at its brightest. But I think the area is really quite shady -- the right-hand neighbour has a big maple tree that overhangs the area, whereas lefty has a conifer hedge. The previous owners of my house put in a couple of palm trees visible on the right of the photo.

    The soil is clayey, though I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to dig and turn over when I started weeding tonight. The soil tends to be dryish because it is surrounded by two sides by trees and one by a stone wall, though I live in the West Country so the climate generally is mild and wettish.

    I have a lot of ideas for this area but would like your advice on what might work. Things I am considering:

    -- Would love to grow some fruit bushes (gooseberries, blackcurrants, raspberries) but have heard they don't do well on clay and need lots of sunlight.

    -- Are there any small fruit trees that could work in this location? (apple or crab apple)

    -- How about veg? I'm more of a fruit lover and I think fruit might be less maintenance.

    -- Could I have a bed of shrub roses or climbing roses against the wall?

    -- Also thinking of just putting a lawn, but that seems very boring. Would be great to have something that feeds birds, insects, and me :)
     
  2. Kon

    Kon Gardener

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    Here is an image of the plot.
     

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  3. Verdun

    Verdun Passionate gardener

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    Hiya Kon

    Looks interesting and exciting :) What size is the plot?

    I would get plenty of compost, manure in there first though....

    Yes, all those soft fruit would grow there .......consider growing gooseberries as cordons; lots of fruit from very little space. I would not grow top fruit there

    If not too much sun veg might prove to be more work than is worthwhile

    Wiseowl is the rose expert here and he will recommend some varieties for you .....

    I would get some perennials in there too though for the bees, butterflies etc. (Mixing fruit and flowers is a very productive and attractive method) Persicarias and sanguisorbas are tall, beautiful long flowering and insect attracting plants. Veronicastrums, buddleias, heleniums, asters like frikartii monch that flowers for weeks and weeks, dahlias, verbena bonariensis ( bees love this tall all summer long flowering plant) anemones etc.
    Shrubs like skimmias provide scented flowers ...in spring they are covered with bees....and berries (for the birds) on evergreen foliage. Camellias too, evergreen with lovely spring flowers.

    If it’s a secret garden then make room for a bench too.....for it could be a wonderful retreat to relax in. Or an arbour with a scented honeysuckle growing up and over it. For me, there has to be as much scent as possible there.....nicotianas for summer, a daphne ....odora aureomarginata...for the spring, a sarcoccoca for late winter, and the honeysuckle of course.

    Make a few sketches and use your imagination Kon....could be great fun:)
     
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    • Mike Allen

      Mike Allen Total Gardener

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      I often wonder if Verdun practices ESP. He and I tend to share so many of the same thoughts.. Fun anint it?

      Walled gardens really do IMO open up or perhaps revive a grand gardening feature of the past. There was a TV series devoted to this. And also a linked book, the Victorian Farm. There is a DVD available. Well worth watching.

      Here we are taken back in time, to the days of that landscape gardener, Capabilaty Brown. Now to the big house and the garden. Ah yes. The walled garden. Perhaps today anything resemblig a wall or a walled garden migh well look like this. A herbacious border with a back planting, close to the wall, consisting of an assortment of vines, creepers and perhaps climbers. All very much provided and lovingly cared for to hopefully impress the visitors.

      So return to the past. The Squire or Lord of the manner had a status to maintane. Consequently many a fine dinner/banquet would be arranged. If you have ever wandered into the past. You may have discovered that, even then in what some may call primantive England, these nobles really did strutt about. So says' the nobleman to his spouse. We must put on a better banquet than Lord Rusty Balls. Suddenly an inspiration. The garden. We need the most exoctic fruits. Send for the gardener.

      So the humble gardener bows ans scrapes and sets about early days of plant science. The bland wall soon becomes hadrdly visible to the eye, but suddenly there are wires everywhere. Then what's that? It's a cordon pear, peach plum apple grape you name it. The band looking wall suddenly became something of a must to the gardener. Over to you.
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        I do, I do, I do Mike :)
        Great minds think alike but I bow to your wisdom:):):)
         
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        • Sian in Belgium

          Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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          I think that the area has great potential,@Kon

          First of all, I would speak with your neighbours on the right hand side, to let them know that you would like to raise the canopy of their maple tree as it comes over your garden. I know, you are allowed to cut overhanging branches, but a simple conversation to explain makes things much easier, and for good neighbours!

          That would then create a little nook to the right, just beyond the palm trees. It’s already secluded, a bench, a little table, and you have a perfect place for a relaxing cuppa!

          That back wall, as @Verdun and @Mike Allen suggest, screams out for tension wires and cordoned fruit, maybe with a climbing rose running along the top, @wiseowl ?
          I would be tempted to put something over the trellis fence as well, a honeysuckle/clematis combination. It would soften it, and help to fill the area with scent.

          So far, I’ve only talked about the edges - so what are you going to do in the middle?
          A formal partare (how do you spell that?!)?
          A herb garden?
          A rose garden?
          A pond....?!
           
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          • cindy

            cindy Gardener

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            @Mike Allen Unless Im completely going bonkers which is always to be considered a distinct possibility I think Im recording the series 'Victorian Farm' showing on TV at the moment.
             
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            • Nikolaos

              Nikolaos Gardener

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              Parterre. :)

              Victorian Farm, just under a month left to watch it on iPlayer.

              BBC Two - Victorian Farm, Episode 1

              Nick
               
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              • Redwing

                Redwing Wild Gardener

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                Firstly, I think this space has a lot of potential and the previous owners did the right thing in dividing up a long thin garden into confined spaces, giving the feel of different rooms. Years ago I had such garden and that’s what we did and it worked well.

                The stone wall is nice. What’s behind it; looks like a farmyard? Do you like what’s beyond the wall or is it something you’d like to disguise? The answer to this question will influence what you decide to plant.

                The fruit you list will grow there as will apples, which I think is a good choice. I’ve never had a problem growing apples on clay and @Sian in Belgium s suggestion of cordons is great. Roses too love clay and a rambler along that wall would also look nice.

                You say you want to encourage birds; what about a pond and a bench as well?
                 
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                • Mike Allen

                  Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                  Thank you Kind friend.. My secretary is forwarding the usual amount of sheckles. smile.
                   
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                  • Mike Allen

                    Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                    Cindy I checked my DVD's and found the set of the Victorian Garden series. It contains six discs and in total a playing time of 834 mins. It include the Victorian kitchen. The Victorian Kitchen garden... a real must and the Victorian flower garden.

                    I have enjoyed every moment of watching this series. Not that I go back to the Victorian era but, I have identified so many aspects and practices that I have used. Truly folks. To be entertained in a subject close to your heart and also to learn. Can I say more.
                     
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                      Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
                    • Kon

                      Kon Gardener

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                      Thanks for all the great suggestions so far :) lots to think about here.

                      I have been weeding and clearing. I would like to do some general improving of the soil before planting anything.

                      What is the best product to improve clay soil? I see various 'clay breakers' for sale as well as recommendations of gypsum.

                      What is the best organic matter? Is there any risk of attracting flies when using well-rotted manure? Flies can be a bit of a problem in this area so I don't want to do anything that might bring unwanted guests!

                      I haven't measured the area but I guess about 45 sq m? Behind the stone wall is a primary school, and I've been finding all sorts of little rubber dinosaurs and Lego pieces while digging!
                       

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                    • Selleri

                      Selleri Super Gardener

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                      Rotted manure is perfect for heavy clay soil, I have dug endless bagfuls of the stuff into my previously rock hard clay and can really see and feel the difference. Digging out a new border a year ago revealed 40cm of pottery-class rock hard clay with not a worm in sight, this year after generous manuring the soil is full of worms all the way to the surface. If you have a possibility to make some leaf mould that'll be great as well in the coming years.

                      The stuff doesn't stink nor attract flies but obviously anything organic, especially when wet, will have more flies than something dry and not so fertile.

                      Backyard archaeology :heehee: Legos from 60s apparently fetch hundreds nowadays, so don't throw them out.
                       
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                      • Mike Allen

                        Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                        Victorian Farm is a different series, very interesting.
                         
                      • Mike Allen

                        Mike Allen Total Gardener

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                        I found both series most interesting. There is also a book entitled,'Wartime Farm' featuring the same trio.
                        Back to the walled garden, even perhaps a single wall, so much can be done with it. I wish our friend all the best with his garden. Please keep us updated.
                         
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