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27/06/2013 at 20:53

Ok, so my 1m x 1m very mini meadow, full of cornfield annuals (sown at exactly the right quantity and the right soil, as per seed seller's instructions) is now looking like an overgrown bed of weeds.

Not enough sun.

Too much rain.

All soggy, floppy, no structure, plants lying on top of other plants.

Argh - it's horrible!

Nothing flowering yet either.

Tempted to quit whilst I'm ahead, as it ain't gonna get any prettier...take the whole lot out underplant with autumn bulbs (Sternbergia) and herbaceous perennials...then loads of snowdrops for Spring.

But I'm having difficulty trying to imagine what type of plants should go there.

Small urban garden by the way, plum slate, raised beds, water feature...this small bed is oval and set into the slate.

It's west facing and gets a lot of sun (when it is actually sunny, which it hasn't been properly in Londo for eons).

Shall I plant many of the same plant, creating a mini drift-of-something? Or a signature plant? Or just have herb. perennials coming through as the snowdrops and cyclamen coums fade? What herb. perennial would be the best for long flowering period?

I have several in my garden already, but am a wee bit stuck for ideas...

Would prefer cool colours - ideally only one - say silver and white, or lilac and purple...

Your expert ideas are much needed as I'm running out of time

 

27/06/2013 at 20:59

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26373.jpg?width=408&height=350&mode=max

 you can see the bed in question just behind the little girl in the photo - it's a bit taller now but much messier and stragglier!

27/06/2013 at 21:04

Is your whole garden contemporary Jess? I'm guessing with the general description it is. I'd suggest grasses & alliums,or a structural, single specimen  like an Acer, or Hebes - perhaps a group of three rounded /mound types like Buxifolia, or something like a Phormium. You could incorporate early bulbs with some of these too.

Or are you leaning towards something softer as you've been trying the wildflowers? 

A pic would be great.

27/06/2013 at 21:06

I have a very pretty wild flower area in my garden and just about all the flowering plants have been planted as plants. I don't believe that it is very easy to get going with seed mixes in spite of what the supplier might say ( they would say that wouldn't they)

I started with snowdrops in the green, adding some more each year. Then crocus, frittillarias, cowslips, camassia,narcissi, anenome blanda, orchids and daisies. Birds' foot trefoils arrived of their own volition... presumambly seeing how much the others were enjoying life! Some of these now seed around but I see those as a bonus. 

Every year I add something new, but I grow it in a small pot first and then plant it where I can see a gap. I will mow it once, probably in August/September when most of the flowering is done.  I hope this helps.

27/06/2013 at 21:12

Hi FG

Not sure if it's contemporary - I suppose so! I guess the slate and the raised beds make it look that way. But then other corners are more cottage-graden really and the house itself is a Victorian maisonette. There's also an old Victorian garden wall lurking to the very right of the photo above, part covered in sedum.

Ok here goes with some other pics...

Grasses are a good idea - I have a festuca and a stipa tenuissima already infront of the raised flower bed you can see.

That's the thing with small gardens - you tend to pack in one of everything because you couldn't possibly live without it!

Lots of herb. perennials and evergreen shrubs.

Already have 2 aers (one potted, one in another raised bed).

I toyed with the idea of a phormium (I like "chocomint") but was concerned it would become enormous!

Not sure about Buxus globes. Neighbour across the way has 3 in a row on her windowsill that seem very rigid to me...suppose they could look nicer if softened by other plants...

I wouldn't mind something that grows to about 60/70cm or so, could even be a bit messy like Salvia purple queen but that doesn't flop everywhere!

Thanks for your ideas

27/06/2013 at 21:13

I can see a lovely pic FG, but then you remarked on my eyesight earlier 

That looks a lovely meal - any left? 

Do you know what appeals to me - I'd like to give that mini-meadow a good shearing with some garden shears, and dig out some plugs and pop some lovely bellis perennis daisies in there  

http://plants.connon.ca/Content/Images/Photos/F294-01.jpg

 

it'll look a picture for the rest of the summer.  Then you've got time to have a proper think about what you want to do with it 

27/06/2013 at 21:14

Thanks WW - yes, I fear your analysis is correct! I thought seed mix would be an easier and cheaper way to get on with it, but am regretting my decision.

So yours are all perennial wildflowers then?

I like the idea of adding to it as you go on...I am too impatient for my own good sometimes

27/06/2013 at 21:17

Dove

I know what you mean about the shearing - the thought had crossed my mind! But there are so many plants on their side now and buds coming through on the tallest plants that I'm worried I'll just kill'em all off...how much would you shear? 

Wish you'd come and do it for me - I'd throw in some of that salami...

27/06/2013 at 21:24

Pic wasn't there when I posted Dove!

Jess the Hebes I mentioned are like box - hence the name - but they grow quite large and flower in the summer which the bees like. No clipping - they grow in a mound naturally!

27/06/2013 at 21:24

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26375.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26376.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26377.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/26378.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 

27/06/2013 at 21:27

Oooh I love those daisies Dove.

Thanks FG - I think I know the ones you mean.

So maybe 2 or 3 of them, and surround with...winter/spring bulbs, sterbergia, and possibly something more airy, wispy, to balance out the very neat, rounded forms of the hebes...

27/06/2013 at 21:34

...and to finish answering your question Fg yes, I would love something softer...the slate, raised beds etc already add a certain hardness to my garden, so the plants I have are mainly softer and I'm worried that if I have anything too formal in that middle bed it'll be too much...

27/06/2013 at 21:46
Jess is in the Garden wrote (see)

Thanks WW - yes, I fear your analysis is correct! I thought seed mix would be an easier and cheaper way to get on with it, but am regretting my decision.

So yours are all perennial wildflowers then?

I like the idea of adding to it as you go on...I am too impatient for my own good sometimes

All are perennials and most are wildflower species, not the cultivated varieties... for a natural look. There is a succession too from the snowdrops in late Jan/Feb through the fritts, camassia cowslips etc to summer, with daisies, birdsfoot, and orchids at present. In such a small bed as yours I would think of 3 or 4 types, say snowdrops and crocus followed by cowslips and fritts. Always take the long view and you will be surprised how quickly your plans come to fruition.

27/06/2013 at 21:50

 

WWW - Wise Woodgreen Womderboy

Do cowslips and camassis last the summer? I haven't any of those. My fritillaries finished weeks ago - they were lovely. Have a few in amongst some other shrubs.

Off to google the ones I don't know!

27/06/2013 at 21:54

Cowslips and Camassias are for the early summer but mine are over now. Most of the impact at the present is from the ox-eye daisies, which started out as a few small plants and now are seeding around vigourously and could swamp your space. Some orchids would have real impact now.

27/06/2013 at 22:01

thanks WW - swaping in a tiny bed could be tricky, yes...

27/06/2013 at 22:22

Would it shade your table too much if you put in a small pyramid trellis with a clematis or morning glory or some such and then bedding around the bottom?

28/06/2013 at 08:41

Now that's a thought Sara! Always good to add height I suppose - but there is another pergola right next to this bed - would they work together, you think?

28/06/2013 at 17:56

I don't know - I'm a pergola nut and love climbers generally - I was thinking of a half height (if the pergola you're talking about is the one by the table) bamboo/willow type affair (or maybe a spiral thingy - don't know what they're called) - even just a post dripping with a particularly lovely clematis would look good to me ...

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