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Slow and steady - Beginner :-)

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by PJA190, Jan 23, 2022.

  1. PJA190

    PJA190 Apprentice Gardener

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    So - I've posted here - Beginner gardener and homeowner - Quick recap. Owned the house with my wife for a few months. The garden is pretty, however I haven't done a grand job of pruning back the flowers for winter (other stuff has been a priority)

    However, I would like to see what I can do now - This year will be all about minor changes (budget and time) - Then next year something fancy.

    Alas....

    I thought I would start with this corner. In brief, I would like to
    1. Remove all the small wood posts between the grass and flower beds - personally, I like a more natural flow from grass to flower area. On the left of the garden, the grass and (I think) sea thrift, there isn't a border and I like the flow
    2. Sand and paint the large wooden posts between the graden and the paving stones (what colour??)
    3. I have planted some more lavender between the large wooden posts and the paving stones, to add to the lavender already there. I thought it would be nice to have a sea of purple there - plus fills the space quite well
    4. The base of the pear tree (assuming it's alive) - I would like.....not sure - I was thinking some snowdrops (I assume too late) for now (winter) - then some more sea thrift?/something - actually no idea?
    5. Over near the dogwood (wish it were red), all along the border. I was thinking of having some wild grasses (inspired by the National Memorial Arboretum)
    6. And generally add some evergreens to make the area look a little less dead....

    Note, there is loads of mesh - That [email protected] been told is to keep the weeds at bay? I guess I put that back - the prior home owners had the mesh down, and placed stones and flower pots on top.


    Not the best drawings - hope they make sense?
    I've a day spare next week - and I'd like to make a starter removing/adding plants (also need to buy some tools.....i.e a rake ;-) )

    [​IMG]7 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]8 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]6 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]5 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]4 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]3 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]2 by Philip James, on Flickr

    [​IMG]1 by Philip James, on Flickr
     
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      Last edited: Jan 23, 2022
    • Tara Jane

      Tara Jane Gardener

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      I’d love to offer advice but I’m blind to do will follow
      Good luck. If I had been as organised as you, I would spend so much time moving things about!
      I too like grasses. I have bought some lovely grasses and some echinacea and hope to create a wild looking area together with salvia, cosmos and Rudbeckia. Everything was a bit young last year so I don’t know if successful yet!
       
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      • Janet mahay

        Janet mahay Gardener

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        Hi PJA all the best with your garden
        Snowdrops are nice under your pear tree but have you thought about Growing nasturtiums not only are they are a lovely orange but in companion with pear trees they will deter codling moths from visiting your pears. These moths lay their eggs and when they hatch you see that horrible little maggot when you bite into the pear Another nice plant to keep in mind

        foxglove flowers are a welcome sight in any garden, and grown around pear trees they will improve the health of your tree , Foxgloves help protect pear trees from disease, boost growth and increase the longevity of the fruit once it’s picked.
        Also some herbs like Garlic or wild garlic as it not only repels aphids and other insect but can prevent scab develping

        .By teaming garlic up with nasturtiums you will help to maintain a codling moth /aphid free zone. Which means less damaged fruit and more pears to eat.
        Also chives is another by Allowing chives to flower they not only look attractive but also attract beneficial pollinators to your garden. Also borage is another It’s roots delve deep into the soil and share the beneficial minerals it releases with it’s companions. Bees find borage irresistible, as do hoverflies, both great pollinating insects.

        Snowdrops are nice but they can be poisonous to cats so i have none but you can grow snow drops now in well-drained soil in partial shade. Plant snowdrops ‘in the green’ in February and March but dry bulbs in Autumn but the dry bulbs can be hard to establish so you better buying the green you can get the green online or at garden centres
         
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          Last edited: Jan 24, 2022
        • NigelJ

          NigelJ Total Gardener

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          Lots of adverts at the moment for snowdrops and other bulbs in the green so ready for planting on receipt. Treat yourself to a gardening magazine and have a look in the ads.
          Snowdrops can be planted into the lawn, gives an excuse for not cutting the grass early in the year.
          It would be helpful if you gave some indication of your location.
          This is a list of cat toxic and cat safe plants https://www.cats.org.uk/media/10320/cats-and-outdoor-plants.pdf many of the toxic plants are toxic for children and dogs as well. However whilst being aware of these I wouldn't let it dictate my choice of plants. Children and dogs can be trained once past the toddler/puppy stage and cats tend not to munch vegetation.
           
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          • Nikolaos

            Nikolaos Total Gardener

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            Thoroughly agree with Nigel, there are plenty of potential plant hazards in gardens, but when one looks at the reality of the situation there are very few scenarios which will result in a plant poisoned pet. Just be sensible and vigilant if you're a pet owner, as a cat owner I'm pretty sure my pets are actually at greater risk from indoor plants and flowers.

            "How common are poisonings?

            Most scenarios involve dogs digging up bulbs or finding a stash, and gobbling them up. Minor ingestions may not cause severe enough signs to be noticed, or diagnosed, so may be under-reported.

            The most common cat plant poisonings come from ingestion of indoor plants and flowers. 1 in 5 plant poisonings in pets involve cats and lilies. Despite it not being a spring flower this needs a mention.

            Certain types of lilies are very toxic to cats, and can cause kidney damage. Ingestion of just a few leaves, water from the vase containing them, or grooming pollen from the fur can be potentially fatal.

            If your cat has been in contact with a lily, seek urgent veterinary advice. Lily poisoning can cause long-lasting kidney damage and potentially death. There are some non-toxic lilies out there, but the best rule is: NEVER have lilies in a feline household.

            Many other house plants, such as amaryllis, and dumb cane, and flowers such as chrysanthemums, should be avoided in households with cats."

            The sinister side of spring flowers - Vet Help Direct

            Nick
             
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            • Janet mahay

              Janet mahay Gardener

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              Hi nick so true before I had tiggs i did look on the net about plants which are toxic to pets although my cat been trained not to jump on tables window sills etc i still make sure i have no toxic house plants especially lilies and in the garden i try to make sure i have no toxic plants either and surprisly there is a long list but there are plenty of lovely plants which are not toxic so you not limited infact i found out about alot of plants some i never heard of that are not toxic to pets
               
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              • noisette47

                noisette47 Total Gardener

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                Hello Philip, that soil looks lovely! Before offering advice about plants, could you give us some idea about which way the borders face? It makes a huge difference whether they get sun or shade and for how much of the day.
                Planting under fruit trees.....go steady with the trowel, because if fruit tree roots are damaged, they tend to sucker forever afterwards. One solution there is to gently fluff up the soil a bit and sow low-growing annual flower seeds. If you want 'bright', then nasturtiums, pot marigolds, Lychnis chalcedonica would work, or dwarf cosmos, Lychnis coronaria, Nigella, Phacelia tanacetifolia for pastels. Bear in mind that they'll take water and nutrients away from the tree, so unless you compensate, the fruit quality will suffer.
                 
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                • PJA190

                  PJA190 Apprentice Gardener

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                  Thank you all for the comments - I'll make a list of the items, and pick out some that take my fancy! - Next door have cats, so I'll try and take into account toxic plants where reasonable - especially as I'm a new neighbour!

                  Regarding sunshine! - The garden gets plenty :-)

                  Below are the maps I've drawn up -
                  The first one is how it was when we moved in (I understand some of the flowers are incorrect)
                  The second one is my proposal for the bottom right area (what this thread is all about :-) )

                  [​IMG]Map by Philip James, on Flickr

                  [​IMG]9 by Philip James, on Flickr
                   
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                  • PJA190

                    PJA190 Apprentice Gardener

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                    So - Tomorrow, I’ll nip to the local garden centre in Droitwich!
                    The plan is to plant something on the boarders, and near the tree.

                    1. Today I, Removed all the mesh from the area near the tree, I am a bit confused why there is so much mesh on the top of the soil?
                    I also removed the wooden posts, this will hopefully provide a nicer 'more natural look' from borders to the grass. And removed any remains of plants I didn’t like the look of.

                    2. I have remaining, some bulbs are coming from, lavender, curry plant (my wife’s purchase?) thyme.

                    3. I will tackle the stones/mesh near the dogwood another weekend. As that will require a little more time than I have. Plus, I’m unsure what to do with the area. The dogwood probably needs to go, I don’t really like the yellow vibe. This is all about the short term until I decide how to re-arrange the garden

                    4. I have made a list from the suggestions above and drawn them out below. Does this ‘sound good’?
                    (In green are plants/flowers I’ll purchase tomorrow, black that is currently there)


                    The aim is to provide some interest for the next few months, and then of course have some flowers in spring/summer


                    [​IMG]Untitled by Philip James, on Flickr

                    [​IMG]Untitled by Philip James, on Flickr

                    [​IMG]Untitled by Philip James, on Flickr

                    [​IMG]Untitled by Philip James, on Flickr
                     
                    Last edited: Jan 29, 2022
                  • Sheal

                    Sheal Total Gardener

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                    Don't forget to check out your local plant nurseries, they often provide a better quality and selection of plants at reasonable prices.

                    Sorry I can't help you with the plans for your garden. I'm a person that doesn't plan but makes decisions at the time - with fork or spade in hand. :)
                     
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                    • Janet mahay

                      Janet mahay Gardener

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                      Hi you are well prepared it looks well planned out
                      I am like sheal thoughi dont plan either when i have plants i decide there and then where i going to put them but i sure you PJ you enjoy your garden
                       
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                      • PJA190

                        PJA190 Apprentice Gardener

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                        Hey :-)
                        Back to it......having a 'no idea what I am doing' / even what I want my garden to look like....
                        Ideas are most welcome, as I feel I have such a mis mash of areas/plants.

                        I suppose I like wild garden vibes mainly at the moment/things with colour (Lavender Pappillion..). Hence the rather impulse Jamaican blue grass purchase, without an idea where it would go..

                        Anywhere....photo's incoming and commentary :-)


                        1. I went to a fancy garden centre called 'Webbs'? And bought
                        Hydrangea
                        4x foxgloves to go near the fence - I figure they would look quite nice growing there...
                        2x Jamaican Blue grass - Impulse buy. Just liked the colour...
                        Armeria Maritima - I like the wild grass vibe and little flower heads
                        [​IMG]Untitled



                        2. Here to show. 'What to do?' I figure the Hydrangeas and foxgloves are in good places. However. The Jamaican blue grass I will probably move. Not sure where...
                        And I still have this huge space to fill?
                        [​IMG]Untitled

                        3. Here to show. Bit of a mis match of plants.
                        [​IMG]Untitled

                        4. Ideas welcome
                        [​IMG]Untitled
                        [​IMG]Untitled

                        5. Was thinking of removing the rather overgrown and dead looking Armeria Maritima and putting in some new ones?
                        [​IMG]Untitled

                        6. This area? No idea what to do. The dogwood is wiiiiild and the tree, I'm not a fan of. In the short term. Getting rid of the stone, the stone at the boarder and hoping there is some soil underneath. I like the idea of having somewhere to maybe put a bistro chair/table - won't be a solid floor, but no ideas....

                        [​IMG]Untitled
                         
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                        • Macraignil

                          Macraignil Gardener

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                          Hi,
                          Looks from the photos like you already have the framework of a nice garden there. The points that occurred to me listed by photo number in looking at the last set of photos are:

                          1. The drawn circle for the hydrangeas looks a bit small to me and is very close to the trunk of a fairly mature tree. You should check on the label of the hydrangeas you bought to see what their full grown size is and allow this sort of space for them where they are to be planted. The tree there will have developed roots that could prevent planting something big that close to the tree trunk.
                          2&6. The dormant trees may turn out to be something nice and I think you should observe them for a year to see what they do over the different seasons. Photos when they are in flower or with fruit may help identify them.
                          1&4. Bare space can be filled in the short term by annuals that are easy to grow from seed (like pot marigold) and you could change these areas around again further down the line and plant different annuals there next year or allow the perennials you plant nearby to get bigger. Foxgloves will often set their own seed near where you plant them so if you learn to recognise the seedling you can get a continuous supply of them simply by not weeding them out. There are also nice low growing ground cover plants that fit easily between your larger plants like Ajuga.
                          6. I'd chop down the cornus close to the ground now and let it regrow from the base as this should give a better display of coloured stems for next winter.

                          Lots of plants will not be at their best at this time of year so I'd be slow to dig out established plants and replace them before seeing what they do in the warmer parts of the year.

                          Happy gardening!
                           
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                          • Sheal

                            Sheal Total Gardener

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                            I was thinking exactly the same. The two Hydrangea's could fill the corner bed on their own when fully mature.
                             
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                            • hailbopp

                              hailbopp Gardener

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                              If your garden was mine, and as it would appear you want to increase the plant collection, I would make a path to the shed/ summerhouse and get rid of all the grass to the right of the path and turn the area into flowerbed. It would not need to cost much, you can pick up 2nd hand 2 x 2s /3s often for nothing on the likes of Facebook Marketplace. 2x3s are damned heavy to work with…..I know! so unless you are a gym bunny I would sick with smaller slabs. Yes ok something like York stone would be much nicer but you could change to that when budget allowed maybe. The grass is not growing well under the tree and by doing this it would give you room for new plants which would not need to be so close to the tree where the soil will be poor and very dry in summer. If you do decide to increase the flowerbed size, that is the time to try and improve the soil by adding the likes of manure/ leaf mould/ compost, before you plant.
                              One of the best bits of advice I was ever given re gardening “ spend five times more on soil improvement than on plants”.
                               
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