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Orchid Lady

I have quite a big new border at the rear and side of my garden (I will try and post pics tomorrow) And I could do with some help, but please keep it simple (note my name!).

I've been browsing past GW mags trying to decide what plants to put in and have also had a few threads already which have given me some idea and we are definitely having a trip to the local GC at weekend.

So far I have on my list - roses (lots of!), Hellebores, I would really like a peony and begonias.  I need some winter colour so looking at something evergreen with red/coloured leaves or berries.

I have lots of annual seeds to sow to fill it with colour to year but any more ideas for perennials / ever greens would be much appreciated.

Thank you in advance 

PS I have 2 Beagles that like to 'mooch' in the garden so need to be careful with poisonous plants they may eat!

PPS I haven't tested the soil yet so not sure of the Ph but think it is probably more alkali judging by other plants in the area and also the fact the my azalea is doing nothing!!


Hiya tracey

Could you add too how sunny or not your garden is, how quick draining it is, is it light or heavy?  ??ou reckon it is alkaline too but do a PH test anyway.  Then we can go to town with suggestions. 

Orchid Lady

I also now have euphorbia, sarcococca, anemone and viburnum 

Orchid Lady

I am going to do a test tomorrow and post some pics Verdun.  Just found a very good article on here and found the above suggestions. Off to bed now so will post some more tomorrow.  Thank you.



Tracey, dont forget some grasses. I really like Panicum virgatum, it goes red in autumn. Also how about Miscanthus sinesis Morning light or Malepartus. These are real feature plants.

Orchid Lady

That looks lovely, thanks lizzie and good idea PD, I had forgotten about some grass (sorry).  I will be back on later and doing some more research.

Orchid Lady


These are pictures if my borders, it looks a bit bleak at the moment and I can't walk on the grass to do too much!!! They are about 3" wide.

Busy Bee2

What are the hedging bushes behind them?  I'm not an expert, but I think some evergreens can alter the pH in the soil, and some can be very hungry/thirsty, so that they don't leave much for other plants.  It might help other more experienced persons than me to give some advice.  Also, what direction are you pointing the camera in?  ie. thinking about how much light, and what time of day the light would come.

Agree with grasses......for earlier summer flowers look at calamagrostis Overdam amd Karl Foerster.   Stunning.  I still have their winter structure ...withstood all the recent storms.

Orchid Lady

Sorry,  I meant to say when I'd taken the photos.  It's quite a grey day here and they were taken about 11ish, garden is south facing so gets sun most of the day (when we have it) apart from the very back which is mostly shaded.

The bushes are all well established privets, which is why I said coloured evergreens rather than green, because I want to see the colour against the privet in winter.

Hope that helps a bit more.

Thanks Verdun, I will look them up and add to the list.....this could be an expensive GC trip!!

Exciting though, right Tracey?  

Orchid Lady

Very, I just impatient and can't wait to see what it will look like this time next year 

Busy Bee2

Personally, I would suggest caution about planting this close to privet.  My dad had a privet hedge and nothing would grow very close, to it, even though, like yours, it faced south.  This was because of the fact that it was well established and sucked up everything on offer before anything else had a chance to get going.  I suspect that with a border width of 3ft, you might find anything you put there is compromised.  It if is a raised bed with new soil or compost in, then something shallow rooted might stand a chance.  If I had your garden, I would be inclined to go for much wider borders, plant some colourful shrubs at the back to break up the solid green of the privet, but give them a decent firebreak from the privet roots, then put roses in front, and annual flowers etc.  But it depends what you want the lawn for - if it doubles up as a football pitch, other garden users might have strong opinions.  If you did buy plants now, and they sulked, would you have somewhere else you could move them to if you had to?  I would say I am a middling experience gardener, and there might be someone else who knows of some plants that could survive well in close proximity to the privet, but if you do a search on 'planting near privet' you will see that you do need to go carefully.  One site recommends a 10ft distance - which seems excessive, and not close to roses.


Orchid Lady

Great  Not looking very good is it then.  They are in now so will just have to make the most of them and keep my fingers crossed.


I don't think it's as bad as that. Could you move the bed forward a bit, keeping a strip for walking along at the back so that you can cut the hedge easily? If you have already dug the back you could put bark on the walking strip to keep your feet clean. Dig in plenty of compost and well-rotted manure, if you can get it (? local farm, riding stables) as the hedge will steal nutrients. It looks as though your bed is raised, so if it's filled with good soil the hedge shouldn't be a problem.

Orchid Lady

We can't move the beds as the sleepers are actually concreted in with posts on the other side.  I suppose they are a bit like a raised bed, the top layer of turf was dug up, turned upside down (as recommended by someone on another thread) and then 3 tonne of topsoil put on top.  It all needs levelling out yet and compost putting on, I haven't been able to get to it because of the grass being too wet!


I do not think the hedge will affect the beds, but the beds may affect the hedge. As Long as the beds have adequate water the only problem i can see is cutting the hedge after you have planted up. 

Orchid Lady

I've already thought about that Edd, but thankfully not my problem....OH looks after the hedges   The back ones he can do from the other side, the lady that puts her horses in the field said we could go round and the side one isn't that high.

OH now wants a new hedge cutter though that 'bends'!!!