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David 25


 Hi All,


can you please help me with the above.

first pic is a escalonia red carpet, i made the mistake of not planting it dead centre. the branches grow towards the light making my error more obvious as it leaves a large gap between the next plant. also i pruned in autumn and made a right mess. can i salvage this plant?

2nd plant is a hebe, i noticed today the leaves are dying a bit. I can only think perhaps its my pup(male) weeing on it. could it be this and anything I can do to protect my plant?

3rd plant is some flowers(i think a winter one) the plant still seems to be alive but the flowers are dead. is this normal or can i do anything to salvage it?




Hi David 25, I will start with the easy one first, The last photo 3 is a Cyclamen, they generally flower in winter, they mostly like good light, but cold weather. They like to be moist but not wet, if you remove the flowers as they fade it should encourage new flowers. Yours looks quite healthy to me although, do you know if its an indoor or outdoor variety? That will make all the difference. 

second one 2 is a bit more tricky, If your dog is weeing on a plant then its getting an overdose of nitrogen, that in itself isn't poisonous to the plant but the concentration will be. You will need to keep an eye on it and as soon as hes weed on it then you will need to add a fair amout of water to dilute the concentration. There is a product called dogrocks into the dogs water to dilute the levels of nitrogen (although I don't know if they work, you can try giving your dog tomato juice or tomatoes, I find that makes a difference (but the best thing is dilution).

The first image escalonia red carpet has a eventual height of roughly 1meter by 1.5meters wide, The plant looks healthy enough at the back but its doing what it does and spreading aswell. I wouldn't say that you have made a mistake by not planting it dead centre, the border space in effect isnt wide enough for the plants growth habbit, therefore you are trying to make it wide & tall at the back and sides. Looks like you are getting growth on the bare-ish area on the right of the bush but remember that if it indeed does grow to the right then it may well block some of the light from the plant to its right. Maybe plant a shade tolerant bedding plant in the space inbetween the two? I would also cut off the growth from above the lawn (if you plan on keeping it there). I certainly wouldn't move the plant to the right to fill the gap. 


The escallonia is in a space a bit small for it and a bit close to the fence, it will overflow eventually. Could the hebe have frost damage? They can be a bit tender in winter. The cyclamen has probably finished flowering. If it's an outdoor one and is planted outside it's leaves will completely disappear in summer then it will flower in autumn, then the leaves will be at their best in winter and spring. If it's an indoor one it won't be hardy and they aren't easy to keep healthy forever.

David 25

Thanks both for your replies.

I believe the cyclamen is an outdoor variety as it was outside in the garden centre when i bought it. If that is true about the winter flowering only I will remove them out of that planter so i can put some summer flowers in there and perhaps move it into another pot waiting for winter again. Is this a good idea and anything i'd need to do look after during this time.

disco dave, I didnt realise that male puppies had sufficent levels of nitrogen to damage plants/grass(thats what this website told me) he likes going out the front garden on my rhoderdendron plant which is a lot more resilient and needs cutting back anyway so im going to encourage him to do that more.

with regards to the red escalonia, I foresee a change, i dont think its right for my border, I want something that grows up generally rather than across the floor like that. any ideas.

the bottom pics are the plants i have in my border already




I think  that fence is in desperate need of some climbers - clematis and honeysuckle  would be my initial choices.  You can put some screw eyes and horizontal wires into the fence to give them something to twine around (you'll have to give them a helping hand to begin with but they'll soon do it without help) and then you'll have a fence clothed with greenery and flowers and somewhere for the birds to hop in and out of and perch and sing to you and possibly build their nests in. 



Thats a good option Dove. 

David 25, I'm not sure that the olive tree in a border is the best idea, They like relatively poor soil conditions and they like being baked and on the dry side, it might be too damp for it in your border. If you are able to I would be tempted to widen that border & like Dove said, put some climbers up that fence. (I have emailed you a pic of what I mean)



I would widen the border, as Discodave says, there is not really enough room for shrubs, they will all spread out, and I would plant them a bit further from the fence. If you want plants that go up instead of out then Dove's suggestion of climbers is ideal. If it were mine I would make the bed wider and plant both.

I noticed the olive tree too. If it survives the winters it will eventually grow into a tree and it is much too close to the fence.

Also the ground at the foot of walls and fences is often rather too dry. The fence will stop the rain falling at the foot of it depending on the prevailing wind. So you should always plant not to close to the foot of a fence or wall.

David 25
Hi all. U have given something to think about. Thanks for the suggestions. I will let you know if I go ahead with it.

David 25, can I make another suggestion?

 I think it would be an idea to visit some well established gardens and get a clearer idea of the sort of border you want - take a notebook and jot down some combinations of plants you like and the sort of space they need as they mature - I don't know where you live, but if you let us know the approximate area I'm sure some people can make some suggestions of places you could visit to help you decide what you want the border to look like in a few years' time.

 It's very hard to visualise an established garden border when you arrive at a garden centre and see individual plants.

David 25

Hi all, thanks for all the suggestions. I have put a clemitis in place of the escolina red carpet and i have moved the plant to the right of the olive tree(i did suggest repotting to my fiancee who was not keen) and made room for another climber in the middle.

I will post pictures hopefully in the summer with the results.

p.s it has just started snowing where i am. will the clemitis in the ground be ok?



Clematis is hardy so it should be fine.

hollie hock

Hello David, I would agree with others suggestions to widen the beds, maybe introduce a curvier feel rather than straight lines, just to add some contrast to  the eye.

Yes absolutley climbers on the fence would be a great addition.

Looks like you have a blank canvas to play with, have fun. Think about what plants you like and want.

David 25

thats good as its snowing again here today. I am thinking about widening the border. Maybe a crescent shape from one point to the other or two crescents(each half way down the fence if that makes sense but Im going to wait a while longer and see how quickly the plants start growing when spring/summer arrives. Dove I live in nuneaton so i tend to use dobbies atherstone but i also like hilltop nr shilton if you know where that is.

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