Posted: 03/10/2015 at 07:56
Hi All, after the summer of digging hard, I'm now at the happy stage of thinking about what to plant and would really appreciate your comments and suggestions.
It looks like the photos were uploaded wrong way round - the bottom one is the view from the patio, the one before is the left side fence and bed, the one before is the right side wall and bed(s). The garden is about 10m x 10m, with a lawn (6m x 8m) in the middle. The borders on either side are about 2m wide and the raised bed at the back is 1m wide. I've covered them with the weed suppressing fabric for the time being.
Sun rises from the back fence so the right side wall casts a shadow on the beds below (about half a metre is in shade all day). The other beds get sun good many hours a day. I have a thin layer of top soil (less than a foot in the left side bed) and beneath lies an impenetrable clay. I have dug in 40 bags of 50L farmyard manure to improve the soil but also found some substantial concrete blocks (top photo) about 20cm (less than a spade depth) from the surface. I have 3 of those buried at various intervals in the left side and one huge chunk in the right bed. These are very thick and there is no way to dig them out so I guess I just need to plant around them.
So that's the blank canvas and as I haven't got much money left now, I think I'll plant shrubs this autumn and perennials next spring or autumn.
After reading a lot of forum posts and GW magazine, newspaper articles, here are the shrubs I'd like to get this autumn: for the right beds, I'd like Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' and Daphne transatlantica 'Eternal Fragrance', Sarcococca confusa, Ruscus aculeatus (box holly), and Skimmia. I heard Skimmia japonica subsp. Reevesiana is a hermaphrodite and therefore does not need a male plant nearby. Is that right?
I also want to grow climbers to cover the wall (will paint it this weekend) and read in Taylor's Clematis that the alpine clematis will tolerate shade. Has anyone grown any alpine clematis on the north wall? I also read Rosa 'St Swithun' will grow on the north wall. Again, I'd appreciate if someone can advise on that. Hydrangea Petiolaris too is on my card for the wall.
I'd love to hear what you think and would welcome comments and suggestions. I'll list shrubs for the other two beds in a separate post as this is already very long!
Many thanks x