Barb2: like yourself, I'm extremely keen that we provide more help to beginner gardeners on the site. We're currently working at better labelling our existing projects, videos and features, many of which are well suited to first-time gardeners. But, over the coming months we'll also look at providing more information on starting a garden from scratch, so please bear with us. In the meantime, you might find our feature on determining your soil type helpful: Find your soil type
Knowing your soil type is essential, as it will determine what type of plants you can grow. You can buy a testing kit from any garden centre. Once you know your soil type, try our new plant search tool, to choose suitable plant. Soil type is just one of the criteria you can search by, others include plant type, feature, hardiness and flower colour: Search for plants
Also, please use this forum if you need any help or advice. Somebody will usually be able to answer any questions you may have.