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9 messages
17/03/2012 at 13:55

Hi, there are so many plants out there that I am getting very very confused .............perennial - hardy -half-hardy etc etc etc.........I just need plants that will come year after year - look nice and stay healthy without much maintenence as I also want to start to grow some salads.........can anyone advise me on some summer flowering plants that will do all of this or am I wishful thinking? some evergreen would be good too to give all round interest in the dull cold days of winter, this is for my dise garden that is south facing and open to the elements and quite windy...........thank you

17/03/2012 at 14:53

you sound like me all the joy with lille effort lol. Start with Perennials plants that come year on year but do go dormant in the winter. Good examples with plenty of flowers Lupins, paeonias ,penstemons, primulas, rudbeckia, cone flowers, sedum(iceplant). Get yourself a good selection of spring and summer bulbs and ya well on ya way. Think of gardening as a marathon not a sprint it will take a long time to get it how you want. Evergreens you could try azalea or camellias or down to orinamental grasses or other shrubs. Best advice would be to get to garden centre and look whats available.

17/03/2012 at 23:52

Ceanothus is a nice evergreen shrub with masses of blue flowers in early summer, and only needs a trim after flowering, and dosn't seem to get many pest problems.

18/03/2012 at 08:53
You need to think a bit about your soil and how much sun or shade. If you don't you might waste money by putting plants that like shade in the sun or acid loving plants in soil that is not acidic. Look at your neighbours gardens, see what you like that grows well. I would go for perennials and smalls shrubs.
18/03/2012 at 21:51

I agree with Mrs S.  Work out which way your garden faces so you know how much sun it gets or just monitor your garden light levels throughout the day. Figure out whether you have sandy/loamy etc soil.  Someone has mentioned some plants like<span style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 18px;"> azaleas and camellias which I thought prefer acidic conditions so probably won't be good beginners plants.  Perennials like crocosmia and day lilies (hemerocallis) are easy to grow and perennial.  You can also buy bulbs for every season which will come back every year.

23/03/2012 at 09:18

Hi, Thank you so much for all your advice.

My side garden is going to be more of a gravel bed with my potting shed, composter and water butt with a little seating area and a couple of raised beds. I like the idea of checking the soil so will get a testing kit this weekend and let you know what we have, I know the guy that lived here always applied horse maure to this part of the garden as he used it for vegetable growing so could be lovely soil under all the rubbish that is there already.Is there a chart or a guide somewhere on the web which tells you what are acid loving plants and which aren't - could be useful.Can we upload pictures on here so I can put 'before' and 'after' pictures for everyone to see?

I like the idea of putting the plants in and then putting bulbs in to come up in between - will try this. I will also have a look at whats on offer this weekend at the garden centre. There are so many gorgeous plants I want them all - heeheehee - wish me luck xx

23/03/2012 at 14:21

Hi for  low maintenance interest, adding some tallish grasses would be a good idea - reliable ones that won't fall over and need almost zero care. I'd recommend Stipa gigantea and Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', which are both high-impact and provide interest all-year round. Definitely give some thought to when things bloom, so that you try and have a good spread across the year. Some spring bulbs will really add cheer, as others have suggested, and need so little care - snowdrops, daffs etc, maybe some alliums to give some drama in May/June? Also think about summer bulbs to help extend the season at the end. Gladioli don't have to be cheesy - there are some brilliant single colours like lime green and red-black, and some are supposedly hardy too so that you won't have to dig them up before winter. Crocosmia and asters (Aster x frikartii 'Monch' for example) are extremely easy, and give colour when most other things are fading. Sedums, too, are great for colour through into the autumn, are really, really easy, and the bees and butterflies just love them, too. Good luck!!

23/03/2012 at 16:16

Hi Lucy, Try Peonies for late spring/early summer colour. Also Iris for a splash of lime green leaves in spring and pretty summer flowers.

23/03/2012 at 18:02

Hi Lucy, one of my favourites are hardy geraniums, so many to choose from, a good hardy perennial, also for dry gardens you can't beat cistus, lots of colours and heights to choose from.  Near your seating area can you put something scented like a honeysuckle or rose if you have something for it to climb up?  Yes, get down to your local nursery or garden centre to see what's about.  A good on-line nursery is hayloft plants, they have a section for beginners and describe what soil conditions and situation the plants like.  Happy gardening.

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