Plans for a garden

Posted: Thursday 19 January 2012
by Kate Bradbury

[...] my main aim in 2012 is to make the garden look more established. This year I have a strict ‘no bare wall’ policy...

Clematis flower

Like James Alexander-Sinclair, I too am giving my garden a bit of a design ‘refresh’ this year. As the bare bones of the plot begin to show themselves (we still haven’t had much frost), I can see, once again, what my four- by four-metre space lacks.

At the moment my garden is organised in a sort of 1960s style, with a lawn in the middle and two thin beds on either side (the lawn is there at the insistence of my partner). At the back are some railings with trellises attached to them, under which I’ve planted winter-flowering clematis, ivy and passion flower.

But the garden still looks bare. The walls on either side are much more visible than I would like, and the shrubs and herbaceous perennials are still too small to provide year-round structural interest. The plot always looks great in May and June, but pretty bad the rest of the time. Am I just being impatient? Probably.

Nevertheless, my main aim in 2012 is to make the garden look more established. This year I have a strict ‘no bare wall’ policy, so will be planting more climbers and helping existing ones colonise the boundaries better. It’s all very well planting a clematis at the back of a border, but if too much else is growing in front of it, it won’t thrive. I’ll be watering and feeding these struggling climbers more regularly, and removing any foliage that blocks light from them.

I’ve also decided that it would be much better if the lawn was smaller and circular, with deeper beds around it. It should give the garden the illusion of being larger than it is, and create the secluded feel I’m after.

I’ve planted a holly, guelder rose and dog rose to add height, structure, autumn interest and food for wildlife. Dotted around the borders, they should help knit the garden together, with herbaceous perennials and annuals flourishing beneath them.

My plans extend beyond design. On our fridge door is a list of new year ‘goals’ (we avoid ‘resolutions’ in our household). The second reads: ‘encourage a bumblebee to nest in the garden’. There are two heaps of leaves and a log pile, plus a bumblebee nest box with soil piled around the entrance to create the illusion of it being an old mouse burrow. I can live in hope…

What plans do you have for your garden this year?

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Talkback: Plans for a garden
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donutsmrs 20/01/2012 at 18:54

Hi Kate, I plan to plant more perennials into my front garden this year. The last three years I've planted Petunias, Busy Lizzies etc. I've got some Dahlia tubers to go in and hardy Fuchsia's that I've grown from cuttings. I've also got Foxgloves that I've grown from seed that I collected from my original plants. I'm just hoping I can pack it with even more colour this year and encourage more butterflies and bees. I have put three bird nesting boxes up for Blue Tits and Robins, all they have to do now is move in.

funkywhiteboy 21/01/2012 at 11:20

Hi all. I can hardly believe how similar our garden projects are! We have 3 thin beds in the back (about 3 feet in width and each being 4 metres in length). We have planted 4 tulips, 4 daffodils, 3 hyacinths, 3 rose bushes, 3 lupins, a skimmia, something white and something blue (can't remember what), oh, and 5 dianthus. A red azalea is going to go in too this weekend, and when we find a forsythia (golden bell) and some larkspur we'll hopefully have a nice little garden. I'm still cogitating how to attract and help the bees? I'm swaying towards building a hive... hmm. As for the birds, I have an established red berberis in the front garden which the chaffinches are visiting daily, and a solitary blackbird bobs around in the back garden completely ignoring the feeders which makes me giggle.
Thanks for reading. :)

Lindylou333 21/01/2012 at 15:50

Hi funkywhiteboy.  If you want to attract bees to your garden you need to plant single petalled flowers as opposed to the double kind.  Bees like to have a nice landing pad to land on too, so plants that are flat and open are good.  We have just started beekeeping and there is slightly more to it than just building a hive - but dont let that put you off.  It is a truly wonderful and rewarding hobby.

lijemc 21/01/2012 at 15:51

I'm relatively new to gardening, but would love to have a greenhouse. Unfortunately, the garden is too small to house one. I have recently found a mini glass greenhouse which will fit in perfectly. It has come flat packed, so I am looking forward to constructing it and then using it. I have a couple of places where I can place it, still deciding and it will mean moving some pots around to create room. I am looking forward to planting some seeds, which I haven't really been able to do before. I usually use plug plants, so this will save me a few £££'s hopefully.

LORELEI 21/01/2012 at 17:27

Hi funkywhiteboy. Blackbirds seldom feed from feeders. They are ground feeding birds. They also love berries.

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