Novice Gardener! Help please

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by AmberLucy, Jan 10, 2020.

  1. AmberLucy

    AmberLucy Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi! I’m completely new to gardening so please bare with me and I apologise in advance for the ridiculous questions I’ll ask.
    Our garden is quite large & really is amazing so I’m determined to do it justice this year. It’s around 2 acres which as you can imagine means I need a lot of plants & flowers!
    I’ve tried before to get into it but the task just seems so overwhelming and expensive.
    I basically want to have really full borders everywhere & amazing hanging baskets.
    So my first question is can I plant seeds directly into the borders? I noticed on a walk recently that a garden I’ve always admired seemed to have done just that. The tabs were all placed in the borders.
    Obviously seeds would be a lot cheaper & I’m hoping it will create the really full look I’m hoping for. Any help & advice would be much appreciated. Thank you!
     
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    • Sian in Belgium

      Sian in Belgium Total Gardener

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      Hello and welcome, @AmberLucy !

      Wow! I can see your dilemma in wondering how to fill the borders of a 2 acre garden!

      First of all, a few questions from me:
      How long have you lived with your garden? Is it new to you? Have you seen it through a full year?
      How big are your borders (length, depth)?
      What sort of soil do you have? Is it grey (chalky), yellowish (sandstone), rich red (clay), brown (hard to guess!)? Lots of stones, flints, etc?

      Now, to your questions:
      Yes, some seeds can be sown direct into the ground - these are called hardy annuals.
      (Half-hardy annuals need to have a little more TLC, as they cannot cope with outdoor conditions until the last frosts in your area, but need to be already growing by then, to have enough time to flower before the first frosts of autumn.)
      The labels may not be marking where seeds have been sown! Some plants, called herbaceous perennials, loose all their leaves in the autumn. The roots underground are still alive. Often all stems above ground will have been removed, so their location is shown by a plant label. This prevents the gardener accidentally standing on them, or disturbing them when digging.
      The labels might also be marking where bulbs have been planted - again, apart from some very early snowdrops, at this time of year there will be nothing showing above ground - but they don’t want to be stood on!

      I hope that helps as a starting point!
       
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      • wiseowl

        wiseowl Friendly Owl ADMIN Staff Member

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        Good morning @AmberLucy and a warm welcome to Gardeners Corner my friend the short answer is yes you can plant seeds straight in to borders,I am sure some of our friends (members) will be along shortly and will be able to give you any help and advice you need:smile::blue thumb:

        66e7271f8e1fdd2a0d7b90fc292ddd46.jpg
         
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        • Perki

          Perki Super Gardener

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          Where abouts roughly in the country are you AmberLucy ? Like Sian and wiseowl have said you can direct sow seeds but not until the ground starts to warm up around mid spring depending on where you live .

          Most hanging baskets have half hardy annuals like petunia - lobelia - busy lizzies etc these types of plants are started indoor ( windowsill - heated greenhouse ) and planted out around late May when all chance of frost has passed ( frost will kill half hardy annuals very quickly ).
          I grow and many others grow from seed on the forum its very rewarding .
           
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          • CarolineL

            CarolineL Super Gardener

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            Welcome @AmberLucy! Lots of good advice from others already. But just a word of warning - don't try and do too much at once! A big garden like yours could be overwhelming. Are the borders already in place? If not, limit the amount of garden you start planting up, and leave the rest as grass until you have got to grips with it. Although annuals from seed are great, you will eventually want more permanent planting and they take more time (or money!) - either waiting for perennials to form nice clumps from seed, or buying them from garden centres. If you already have borders, then wait to see what is already going to pop up - it might surprise and delight you.
             
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            • Loofah

              Loofah Well used member

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              With that much space you experiment while you plan! This year why not create a couple of borders (or prep is they exist already) and try scattering seed in one and using prepared plants in the other?
              With 2 acres to fill it's a case of sitting down with pad an pen and plotting out ideas to fill the massive space :) Monty Don's place is about 2 acres so maybe crib from his layout if you're stuck?
              Also be an idea to maybe divide it up into 'rooms' and maybe theme each one so it becomes a series of smaller tasks.
               
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              • andrews

                andrews Super Gardener

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                Do you have photos of the garden now ? You will get ideas on what to plant where based on structures in the garden, existing plants, shade/ sun, fall of the land etc.

                I would recommend getting a greenhouse to start your plants off. With that space, you'll find it really useful.

                Id also recommend joining plant swap groups as you can get some real bargains.

                Edit: And echo the comments on not taking too much on. You can easily become a slave to the garden
                 
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                • AmberLucy

                  AmberLucy Apprentice Gardener

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                  It’s actually my childhood home that I grew up in! I have so many memories when I was younger spending my summers in the garden & the garden was covered in incredible flowers but they seem to have died off over the years. I’ve already planted hundreds of daffodil bulbs a couple of months ago so I’m hoping they make it. The borders surrounding the lawn area are perfect for planting but the soil around the pathway/patio always seems to cause issues. It’s quite dense and almost clay like. They were dug up & completely renewed last summer so I’m hoping they’re more successful this year. I also have two Dalmatians who treat the borders as the grand national so I need to be mindful of how sturdy they are. I love the idea of treating the garden in sections & I can see that it’s been treated this way in years gone by. There’s a rose garden surrounding a willow tree that always does well and a rockery that i would love to be covered in phlox. I live in Liverpool. Also I remember lots of poppies & wild flowers in the garden when I was younger so any ideas on how to create a meadow like area would be amazing. Thanks so much for all of your help, it’s much appreciated!
                   
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                  • Selleri

                    Selleri Super Gardener

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                    Welcome @AmberLucy :sign0016:

                    Wow, your garden sounds amazing! It will give you a wonderful hobby for life.

                    Now is the best time to do some serious planning. Reading gardening books is very inspiring, raid your local library or Amazon. Geoff Hamilton is my favourite. Alan Titchmarsh is ever so slightly annoying but very clear and practical.

                    Writing down a list of "must haves" and "nice to haves" helps, list everything from greenhouse via roses to bins and trampolines depending on your situation. Then draw a scale picture of your space and think where everything could go.

                    Some easy plants from seeds to consider: Lavatera can be sown directly in ground in spring but will have a head start if you start it indoors. Cosmos needs to be sown indoors, they are wonderful, bee friendly plants and very easy to grow. Both are great for filling large areas quickly. Nigella can be sown directly.

                    Do you want to grow edibles? Veg or fruit or both? Chives are easy and you can start with a supermarket plant, it will spread and come back every year. It also flowers prettily. Raspberries are easy and will crop the first year, many supermarkets and Wilko sell bareroot plants very cheaply in spring. Beans look lovely growing over an ornamental arch.

                    Exiting times ahead :dbgrtmb: I totally agree with everybody, take it easy and don't try anything too complicated first. Start by the house so that you can see and enjoy the results right away, and don't get discouraged if freak frosts kill your seedlings or slugs feast your veg to death... start again. The garden will always bounce back and over time will establish into something totally unique. Have fun!
                     
                  • Loofah

                    Loofah Well used member

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                    Heres Monty's garden, it might give some ideas?
                    [​IMG]
                     
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