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18 messages
03/09/2013 at 12:49

Hi all,

I have bought a house which had a patch of mud as a garden. We've now laid sleepers for beds, decking and the new grass and I need to start planning the beds. As a newby to gardening (i've managed some pots but that's about it!!) i'm looking for any suggestions as to where to start. I think we need about 5 shrubs for the borders and 3 will be in shade and 2 in full sun. We are thinking blues and reds but perhaps that's not very imaginative!!

Any suggestions would be most welcome!!

Thanks

03/09/2013 at 13:38

For full sun i would recommend a hibiscus, i recently bought one and although small at the moment, will eventually be a nice size.

I bought Hibiscus Baby Blue, cost about £10, its currently in a pot until i decide where it will finally end up.  Pic below

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30448.jpg?width=276&height=350&mode=max

 

03/09/2013 at 13:39

Also how much shade, total? or partial etc?

03/09/2013 at 13:59

Could you give us a bit more detail about your garden in order for you to get better answers. We all have our favourite shrubs but not all will be suitable for your garden so....what part of the country are you in? What is your soil like - sandy, clay etc? What is the the ph of your soil - if you don't know, look in gardens around you if there are rhododendrons and camellias growing then it will be acidic. Is you gadren exposed to high winds or a wind tunnel? What kind of feel are you after - formal or cottage garden feel ...How much shade does your shady border get? 

03/09/2013 at 14:27

Thanks for the quick responses. We are in North London and have clay soil. I'm not sure about the ph but will have a look at the neighbours tonight. All i've spotted in their garden so far is roses.

The garden is well sheltered and the sunny bed gets about 8 hours of sun in the summer. One the shaded side, one end doesn't get any sun (this is where we want one shrub) and the other end gets a couple of hours a day. As it is quite a small garden I think more formal (and easy to maintain) so was thinking of a few shrubs in each boarder and then some daffs and snowdrops, and winter roses have also been recommended. Hopefully that will help!!

Gardening is very new to me as this is my first property but it's really exicting (albeit a bit overwhelming) to have a complete blank canvas!!

Thanks

03/09/2013 at 17:57

This might help when selecting shrubs depending on what you want.

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/

This search has summer flowering shrubs for shaded areas

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/plantselector/selectionresults?sn=189&st=162&pl=85&si=61&pt=91&op=8

 

03/09/2013 at 18:17

The PH is important Stanyewest.  If your soil is acid go for a blue hydrangea.  And choose a good variety.  You also mentioned red so, if your soil is alkaline go for a good red hydrangea. 

Buy a cheap PH tester ASAP.   Then ask us again when you know what your soil is

03/09/2013 at 19:26

Hi StanyeWest or should that be StanyeNorth - North London clay should let you grow acidic plants.

A camellia avoiding early morning sun would be nice - evergreen shiny foliage, reds available, spring flowering (if you are near an Aldi - reaonably priced ones are usually available in the new year)

A Nandina domestica - sprays of creamy flowers in May/June, evergreen with different coloured foliage throughout the year, red berries in winter.

A Hibiscus for summer flowers - red available 

Full shade - Hydrangea petiolaris is a climber that likes shade - bright green foliage in spring, white flowers in May, yellow leaves in autumn and a tracery of red brown stems in winter - it would need some support in order to help it climb but it is a lovely plant; maybe ferns - Monty Don planted some on last week's Gardeners' World. 

I'll have a think about your shady side - I'm assuming it faces north. No sun at all not even one end or part way up your fence? I'm assuming you have a fence...

Hope this helps.

03/09/2013 at 23:02

There is a lovely blue flowered shrub, called Caryopteris that likes sun and flowers at this time of year. There are different varieties, including a gold leaved one. It's not very tall, so it would go in the front of the border. Trouble is it prefers a well drained soil so you would have to dig in some grit and plenty of compost.

http://www.europlus1.com/img/caryopteris-clandonensis.jpeg

 For the shady bit and a red touch, you could try a hardy fuschia, like riccartonii.

http://www.zahrada-zizka.cz/obr/fuchsiaRiccartonii.jpg

 

03/09/2013 at 23:49

Japanese acers like Bloodgood will give a nice bit of red colour, are slow growing and pretty much maintenance-free.  They like a bit of shade as long as they don't get early morning sun (so avoid an east-facing aspect.)

04/09/2013 at 10:28

Thanks for all of your help. The garden is north east facing so the left hand side gets quite a bit of sun and the right hand side is mostly shade. I've attached a picture so that you can see - we went for a fairly plain design as it made laying the new turf a lot easier with straight lines!! You can't really see the right hand side board but it is pretty mucy a straight line up to the house. There was an old bay tree (I think!) left behind on the right and an apple tree on the letf so we are working around them.

I'll got to the garden centre this weekend to get a ph kit and let you know what I find. Thanks again for all of the help - I've been watching gardeners world and reading the mag but a lot of it is a bit too advanced for a complete beginner like me!!

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30475.jpg?width=350

 

http://s3.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30477.jpg?width=350

 

 

04/09/2013 at 15:37

Sorry, another question re planning - would you recommend I plant shrubs now or wait until the spring? or does it depend on the shrub??

Thanks

04/09/2013 at 16:00

If they are pot grown it doesn't matter when you plant them but if they are bare-rooted from a nursery then plant October to March. They will need watering in dry spells for at least the first year.

I would look up flowering shrubs on Google, see what conditions they need, note down suitable ones then go to your garden centre and see what they've got on your list that you like the look of.

04/09/2013 at 16:20

Look out for reduced price shrubs which have already flowered, that way your budget will stretch further and next year you will have a lovely display. Plant asap and feed and water unless the plants are going into new top soil in which case feed is un-necessary. Before you plant, boost the original soil with as much horse/farmyard manure as you can get and double dig it in. When you have planted your shrubs make sure you mulch with composted bark or grass cuttings from your new lawn (leave to dry out for a few days before using) a 3inch mulch will help to keep water in and weed seeds out. There are some great no-nonsense gardening books...'Gardening in Pyjamas' is one to look out for.

04/09/2013 at 18:11

Stanyewest

Get the best shrubs you can.  Be discerning.  No rubbish. Your soil will determine your choice but decide on something for each season too.....not forgetting scent.  You are asking only for 5 shrubs so get the variety and colour you want of each and not get something because it is cheap,or available.  If in doubt read up on them.

In the winter you can get rootballed plants that are usually larger amd cheaper but not all shrubs can be bought this way.  I would get a couple of shrubs now after you have decided on their suitability.

An old adage ....pay as much for the hole as for the plant.  Not totally but proper preparation  of the plantIng site will repay you handsomely with far better and quicker growing plants.

04/09/2013 at 21:36

Looks as though you have made a great start with the clearing of the site and the laying of a lawn.

If you have access to some well rotted horse manure from a local stables - quite often free, it would be a great addition to your garden. As has been previously mentioned, improving your soil and the hole that you dig will pay dividends as your shrub is going to be there for a long time.

Autumn is a good time to plant shrubs as the soil is still warm and it is easier to keep new plants well watered to get them established. Sometimes though you  get a better range of plants in the GC when that plant is in flower or sometimes you like to see a shrub in flower before you buy... and sometimes its an impulse buy!! 

04/09/2013 at 22:53

For the shady side with a bit of sun why not try a Sarcococca confusa. Evergreen and smothered in scented flowers in the winter/spring

http://webassets.rhs.org.uk/content/Media/Images/Plants/Sarcococca-confusa_LW?width=510

 

23/09/2013 at 12:44
gingercookie wrote (see)

Look out for reduced price shrubs which have already flowered, that way your budget will stretch further and next year you will have a lovely display. Plant asap and feed and water unless the plants are going into new top soil in which case feed is un-necessary. Before you plant, boost the original soil with as much horse/farmyard manure as you can get and double dig it in. When you have planted your shrubs make sure you mulch with composted bark or grass cuttings from your new lawn (leave to dry out for a few days before using) a 3inch mulch will help to keep water in and weed seeds out. There are some great no-nonsense gardening books...'Gardening in Pyjamas' is one to look out for.

Just a quick update on our progress....we've just got back from holiday so not much has happened in the garden but I've finished reading gardening in pyjamas and finally feel like i've a bit of a clue about what I need to do. It's a fantastic book for beginners and has really helped me plan what to do. This weekend is all about sorting out the soil - ph testing and trench digging (they are phrases I didn't know a few weeks ago) and then leave it all to settle for a few weeks whilst I finalise my plants research.

Thanks so much for the great book recommendation!!

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