1. Forum News
    A NEW PHOTO COMP WILL BE STARTING THIS MONTH more information in Photo Competitions Photo Competitions Are Changing!
    Please Support The Road Verge Campaign!
    Dismiss Notice

Lavender Alternatives - Clay Soil & Alkaline

Discussion in 'General Gardening Discussion' started by Natalie025, Nov 19, 2012.

  1. Natalie025

    Natalie025 Gardener

    Joined:
    May 6, 2012
    Messages:
    31
    Gender:
    Female
    Ratings:
    +6
    Hello!

    I am trying to do a planting plan as we're having our driveway and path redone next spring.

    I have no clue what I'm doing really! I'm trying to self teach. Any help would be great.

    What I want -
    • A curved stone cobble path, which is lined by features.
      • Some plants to line the curves of the path, which will look good all year.
      • I'd like a rockery, I love those little cactus type plants that look like aloe vera cabbages!
      • Maybe a small feature tree too - fruit/magnolia?
    • Copper Beech hedging
    • Hopefully I can create something lowish maintenance.
    • Slugs love that front garden, so trying to pick items they won't eat
    I'm struggling with picking plants for the path. I'd like to fill the garden with colour and texture and movement. I love the thought of having herbs and nice smells too (although not essential.)

    I have seen pictures of lavender lined paths and they look beautiful - its an evergreen with purple/blue flowers, it smells good, its easy to maintain.

    However, I tested my soil yesterday and it is alkaline.

    It is also clay soil, but seems to have had small pebbles added & mixed through (so it drains better i guess?)

    I'm thinking lavender plants won't like our garden :( Are there any evergreen plants that look good all year round that I could put there instead?

    Any help much appreciated.

    Kind Regards,

    Natalie
     
  2. miraflores

    miraflores Total Gardener

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2006
    Messages:
    5,466
    Location:
    mean daily minimum temperatures -1 -2
    Ratings:
    +2,392
  3. loveweeds

    loveweeds Gardener

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2012
    Messages:
    268
    Location:
    Liverpool
    Ratings:
    +210
    Hi Natalie, just google alkaline soil + plants and there will be loads of weblinks, like

    http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=763

    There is plenty of choice!! And stony chalky soil + the appropriate plants will help your garden to look mediterranean, that's nice!!

    Lavender is suitable for your soil too.

    Nepeta has a similar appearance!

    Euyonymus fortunei varieties are nice looking all year round (no blossoms),but slow in growth. But that means, once established, it will not grow over your head :-), suitable for cutting in shape too. Draught resistant when established.

    That's an advice in general: if you have clay and stony soil it will require draught resistant plants, but until they ere established, which will take the whole first year after planting, you have to make sure its not drying out. This esp. applies to dry spring weather, as we had recently in some parts of the country. That means the root ball of the plants should stay moist, the soil on top can dry out, it will still be moist 2 or 3 cm under the surface. So before watering, dig your fingers in for a test. Usually 1 or 2 generous waterings per week are better than every day. You don't want your plants wet wet wet neither.

    Some organic matter (compost)brought into the soil will help to keep the moisture much better.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Kristen

      Kristen Under gardener

      Joined:
      Jul 22, 2006
      Messages:
      16,864
      Gender:
      Male
      Location:
      Suffolk, UK
      Ratings:
      +11,488
      I have a clay, alkaline, soil and some Lavender hedges. Its probably not ideal for them, but mine look OK :)

      [​IMG]
      May 2012 The nearest section were planted this Spring, the further section have been in about 3 years.


      [​IMG]
      Nov 2012 (so after flowering)

      Clay soil not very well suited to Beech. Typically Hornbeam is grown instead of Beech on heavy soils; Hornbeam holds it leaves in Winter, like Beech, although (to my mind at least!) not quite as attractively. Hornbeam not available in Copper colour though.

      I have got a Copper Beech hedge here, but I put in extra drainage, and there are a couple of spots along its length where it is not doing as well as I would like (where it is clearly a bit wet in Winter).

      Some pictures on my Blog if you are interested :)
      http://kgarden.wordpress.com/projects/replacing-the-front-hedge/4/#Gallery
       
      • Like Like x 4
      • clueless1

        clueless1 member... yep, that's what I am:)

        Joined:
        Jan 8, 2008
        Messages:
        17,778
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        Here
        Ratings:
        +19,582
        I can't see lavender having trouble with alkaline clay, just as long as it doesn't get waterlogged.

        Lavender, in my experience, is one of the toughest and least fussy plants there is.

        Its only downside is that it tends to become leggy after a few years if it misses out on its annual haircuts, but it does take a few years for that to happen, and then you just dig it up and either sink it lower, or just replace it.
         
      • Natalie025

        Natalie025 Gardener

        Joined:
        May 6, 2012
        Messages:
        31
        Gender:
        Female
        Ratings:
        +6
        Hello!

        Thanks everyone for the replies, this is a great help.

        Miraflores, I'm in South Yorkshire.

        The front garden is on a hill, but once the hedge is up there won't be much draught. Its quite sheltered.

        The clay seems to keep moist, although I've not taken much notice to be honest. I've only just started thinking about the importance of soil (yes I am that new to this gardening malarky!).

        I've left the garden a year to watch what grows well - items that I've noticed do alright without any help even in this years funny weather are trees (they pop up everywhere!!!). We have some large silver birch trees in the back, rhubarb, buttercups (blo*dy buttercups!!), lilacs, honeysuckle, bluebells, snowdrops, carrots, spring onions, red current bushes, acers. Bit of a random mix!

        I do really love lavender, your garden looks amazing kristen! Its like a national trust garden. It seems to be coping very well, I can see the growth there.

        I particularly want a plant like lavender because I hear that slugs hate smelly things (like they're chewing on perfume), and its purple blue flower would soften the harsh red clay brick on our house (it has grey-blackened over the years on the edges).

        Blues, purples and greens seem to compliment it.I hope eventually with some careful planting I can make our house look less 1950's miners and more country cottage like.

        I was a bit worried copper beech might not do well. I like the size of its glossy green leaves and how thickly it covers. Its lovely how it changes colour in the winter but doesn't loose its leaves too.

        Its important that it grows thickly though, whatever we plant, because I want the hedge act like a fence (boundry and privacy and burglar wise) so I'll change plans for that one.

        Natalie x
         
      • Natalie025

        Natalie025 Gardener

        Joined:
        May 6, 2012
        Messages:
        31
        Gender:
        Female
        Ratings:
        +6
        Loveweeds - Nepeta looks really good! Thanks for that tip!

        I'll have a good look at that one. Is it common? Do you reckon a normal garden centre might have it in?
         
      • Natalie025

        Natalie025 Gardener

        Joined:
        May 6, 2012
        Messages:
        31
        Gender:
        Female
        Ratings:
        +6
        Seen as you're all so good at this -

        I don't know if you guys will be able to see this design without signing up, but I had a go at very roughly designing the shape of the hard landscaping for the future front garden -

        http://www.plantify.co.uk/Front-Garden/garden-16505

        I had put loads of plants in there without thinking of soil - lavender on the curves of the path, sage behind it, buxus around the edges, a rockery, wisteria for the gate pergola, a magnolia tree next to the fence, sedge grasses near the steps, a blueberry bush to the right... But then realized that half of what I picked might not be happy in the soil (hence this post... haha).

        I want the garden to be beautiful and smell and look great, but I work full time and study too so I have 2 hours a week really to spend on maintenance. And the less time needed the better!

        Any suggestions on what I could put in there and where to put it would be fantastic!

        Keen to keep anything that sheds leaves away from the drive as it will be gravel. But otherwise open minded!

        The garden is south-east facing with no shadow from neighbouring houses.

        xxx
         
      • Kristen

        Kristen Under gardener

        Joined:
        Jul 22, 2006
        Messages:
        16,864
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        Suffolk, UK
        Ratings:
        +11,488
        The Blueberry needs a very acid soil, so that's out (you could grow in a pot, but watering pots is a chore if you only have limited time - or install an automated irrigation system so it happens whether you are there, or not). The rest will be fine in Alkaline soil. Haven't had time to look at the plans, but Box is quite expensive (you need a lot of plants for a given length of hedge - plant them at 9" I think) and slow to grow - so you need to buy "reasonably sized plants" which is, again, relatively expensive. If you can afford it then its fine, but you might like to look at the cost before you set your heart on it!

        You could plant Yew, also slow, but you can plant them 2' apart for a low hedge.
         
      • loveweeds

        loveweeds Gardener

        Joined:
        Feb 25, 2012
        Messages:
        268
        Location:
        Liverpool
        Ratings:
        +210
        Hi Natalie, when planning, think of those feature or anchor plants first.They are the key! Something that is ideally showy all year round, more for its shape and leaves rather than the short time of blossom. Tall Grasses, evergreen shrubs, cut into shape buxus, pinus mugo (dwarf pine), a small or large tree,something of that sort of thing.

        Also keep hardiness in mind, a phormium might not make it over the winter...

        Nepeta is quite common, when checking up on plants, I usually google for Images and check which cultivars look nice ...

        Perennials: The garden centres often have very good size plants, though easlily £7 per pot, where you have a nice plant already in the first year. Garden centres (mostly) never have the plants you are looking for.
        If you go and order online, you have a better chance to get exactly what you want, but often small size (9cm pots) for app. £3.50/4.00, which take a year longer to make a little show... But what is time in our quick life:-)
         
      • Kristen

        Kristen Under gardener

        Joined:
        Jul 22, 2006
        Messages:
        16,864
        Gender:
        Male
        Location:
        Suffolk, UK
        Ratings:
        +11,488
        Plant it as a double row - with the plants staggered in each row. You will get a much thicker hedge (one that it will be virtually impossible to get through). If you need a real deterrent you'll have to plant something prickly, but I can't think of one that will give you the smart clipped look of Beech / Hornbeam (and you only need prickly if you have a real problem, rather than just wanting a deterrent)

        Yes, readily available. I don't think its as "interesting" as lavender, but it will put on a decent show :)
         
      Loading...

      Share This Page

      1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
        By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
        Dismiss Notice