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Hi All,

I'm fairly new to the gardening side. I recently did some landscaping, put a nice wooden sleeper border over freshly laid new turf. The garden is however looking a bit bare.

I have a SE facing bed sees sunlight in the morning and then shade in the afternoon, I think we call this partial shade. I think it's a sandy / stoney soil and I've ordered a PH tester to see the acidity.

My question is have plants are suitable for different soil types on the same bed, if for example I mulch in some localised compost. I really want to plant some purple thistles to get some butterflies into the area, but I'm also interested in other plants which like good quality soil..

If it were only so simple to put a blob of compost in one part of the garden and a different blob in another. Unfortunately, the rain, the wind,the worms and the birds all conspire to mix everything up and you end up back where you started only a lot poorer. 

The best idea is to find out what type of soil you have and then buy plants that like that type of soil. If you want to beat nature at her own game, you can grow unsuitable plants in pots, isolated from the surrounding, natural conditions, in bought-in compost.


This is a south east facing border, it has some of everything in there, it all grows together, I have never really bothered about what goes where. I only started this garden in 2012, from seeds and cuttings.

There is Echinops, rudbeckias, roses, cleome, sweet william, primulas, sweet peas, echium, clematis, honeysuckle, a potato climber, cornflowers, wallflowers, achillia,montbretia, dahlias,sea hollie, anturinum,echinachea, verbena bon, guara, and lots more that I cant remember. Plenty there for bees and butterflys.


In the Spring and early summer it was full of foxgloves, lupins,  delphiniums, and others.

I have never tested the soil, I put lots of home made compost on in the winter and had some bark chippings that went on last year. 



 Early summer


 Sorry posted same pic twice!

 in 2011 this was a mini pine forest, 30ft tall conifers, so you can acheive a lot in a small time if you really want to go for it.




Wow Lyn thats amazing!!

We moved in early May and seem to spend lots of time walking round garden centres and coming home empty handed!

Afraid of making expensive mistakes!

Well done,


Huya pokhim

Firstly.....yes, it is essential to test your soil.  Well done on that.  Then you,will know what kind of plants you can grow.

You can make pockets where the ground needs to be better drained....e.g. We all do that for lilies.  For your thistle....once you know your soil can imcorporate some grit or sharp sand in the bottom of the planting hole and refill using grit and sand mixed with the soil when filling in.  It sounds like you have the soil to grow thistles there.  

You often find different micro climates even in a small garden....areas of more shade or shelter.  I would guess your soil to be neutral but let us know.  You can get,good quality plants to grow there too for bees and butterflies....lyn has mentioned several.  





Lyn, what a fantastic garden in a short space of time. i wish I had your talent. Must admit I've also never tested soil - trial and error and accept losses when the garden says no.


..marvellous work there Lyn....


Missed this when it was first posted - but had to add (belatedly) - your garden is stunning Lyn, so colourful and full and burstiing with life.  I love it ~!!

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