Moorland garden

(15 Posts)
sighbynight Fri 12-Aug-16 19:46:04

We have a big hillside garden in the edge of the northern moors. It's lovely, you can see for miles. But it is very stoney, dry and exposed. Hebes, phormium and rhododendron are the only things that seem to thrive. And agapanthus. I long for herbaceous colour. Can anyone recommend a book that might cover this kind of location? I've googled but nothing much comes up. Whilst we aren't coastal, a coastal garden book might have the resilient plants that I need. Or can anyone recommend plants that might work? We also have rabbits. And deer. Actually, that ANYTHING survives is a miracle.

Pestilence13610 Sat 13-Aug-16 09:24:04

Hardy crocosmia, fuchsia, thrift (all survive on IoM) and blaeberries (because they are better than blueberries)

MadSprocker Sat 13-Aug-16 11:14:04

Beth Chatto near Colchester has a dry, gravel garden, that once plants are established, aren't watered. I think there might be a book about it.

aircooled Sat 13-Aug-16 16:12:23

I had a book called Gardening in a Cold Climate by the appropriately named Felicity North which was useful when I lived in the Peak District. You might be able to get a copy from a second-hand bookshop/website.

JT05 Sun 14-Aug-16 20:27:01

Heather, rock rose and potentilla grow well on our West facing slope in Scotland.

sighbynight Sun 14-Aug-16 20:35:50

Thank you, those are all really good suggestions. Although I struggle to get excited about heather. I will look for the Felicity North book. And I love Beth Chatto's books, so that won't be a chore.

shovetheholly Tue 16-Aug-16 14:36:12

I come from very close to Beth Chatto's place, and I now live in South Yorkshire. I am fairly sure that while some of those plants would be OK, but others would suffer with the levels of rain that you get on the moors - bear in mind that the average annual rainfall for that part of Suffolk/Essex is about equal to parts of Israel!! Hardiness will also be quite different- you are potentially going to need some tough customers for the winter! (Saying all that, her books are just lovely to read, and well worth a look for her design sense alone).

Also, there is ALWAYS a geranium, for any conditions!! I've seen the gorgeous, deep pink ones 'Dragonheart' growing really well in Hebden Bridge.

shovetheholly Tue 16-Aug-16 14:36:42

Ooops, I lost a paragraph somehow! I wanted to say: maybe have a good look at the gardens near you that are open to the public, and see what they are growing. This could be a really good starting point. At a guess, I'd say that alpines and Himalayan plants might work quite well. Places like Landfarm Gardens, on the edge of Hebden Bridge, make great use of these (I suspect the first thing they did was to dump on loads of high quality topsoil and compost, though - you may be surprised what will grow with regular applications of compost/manure!)

sighbynight Wed 17-Aug-16 08:17:39

You are right about the cold. It's more the cold wind for me. We back onto a sandstone quarry and the soil is very free draining. So dry that the persicaria I planted died. I didn't know that persicaria COULD die. There is also - not too far from me - Parceval Hall Gardens. I'll need to go and have another look there because it is an exposed moorland setting but incredibly lush.

shovetheholly Wed 17-Aug-16 15:44:18

One thing would be to help yourself by planting wind breaks. You don't want to ruin your view, of course, but if you can get in some shelter, esp in the direction of the prevailing wind, then that will make an enormous difference!

Landfarm Gardens must be from fairly close to you if Perceval Hall is! Also,
Dunge Valley hidden gardens (tho this is very rhodo dominated, there are borders near the house).

Kr1stina Wed 17-Aug-16 16:17:42

I'm also in an exposure garden but with clay soil and lots of rain . Lots of plants recommend for " exposed " gardens won't Work for me because they need good drainage. Or they assume that you live in Cornwall and haven't had a frost since 1983.

I have no trouble with herbaceous colour but finding decorative evergreens that can withstand the winter and spring winds is a big problem . I'm also trying New Zealand plants and so far ok.

Lots of supposedly tough things have been nearly destroyed and I've had to move more sheltered places - Viburnum Eve Price, Eunoymous fortuneii, prunus lusticanica , viburnum rhitidophyllum,

You need to search the garden blogs - people who garden in situtaions like yours will blog about it .

There was also a book my someone who gardened in Orkney, but I suspect that's out of print now .

Kr1stina Wed 17-Aug-16 16:18:52

There are many lists online of deer proof and rabbit proof plants .

Oh and you need a shelter belt . Plant one now .

shovetheholly Thu 18-Aug-16 09:20:11

Kr1stina - I've been thinking about this off and on, and it occurs to me that this is a huge gap in the gardening market. Particularly with climate change meaning that we are getting these very windy, very wet but slightly warmer winters in the north (yet still with snow!). The 'dry gardening' thing for the south east is quite well established, but there is little about places that are getting more water and wind than they used to.

Gardening is changing: more pests, different pests (especially fungal diseases), bees in trouble, etc.

Kr1stina Thu 18-Aug-16 09:58:43

Hi holly < waves>

YY! I was at a talk at the botanic gardens recently and the speaker said that climate change means that for gardeners in Scotland the growing season is FOUR WEEKS longer than it was in the 1970s. And for gardeners in Orkney it's 6-8 weeks longer .

This blows my mind. I thought that climate change happened over centuries, not over a few decades. He also spoke about us having more wet days all year , more mild days and less cold over winter and the implications for pest, viruses etc

Scientists seem to be rethinking the predictions of 10 years ago, which were all about the whole country turning into Essex.

shovetheholly Thu 18-Aug-16 11:18:49

Yes, there is a huge difference here - the growing season can be as late as early November. A couple of years back I was harvesting courgettes on Halloween.

Doesn't the latest evidence suggest it's happening even faster than the (terrifyingly short) timescales scientists suggested just a few years back? I find it odd that the thinking seems to stop at weather only - as gardeners, we are so aware of how connected plant and animal life is to these patterns, but perhaps most people these days who don't garden don't understand that. The projected impact on ecosystems is mindblowing: a mass extinction event in which as many as 30% of species may be extinct by 2050, rising to as many as 70% if there is more of an increase, over more time. The unthinkable is literally happening around us.

I like to think that as gardeners we are doing something in the way of resistance, esp by doing things as organically as possible, creating environments for insects, birds, and bees, etc. I am sure that those things matter. But the reality is that what we can achieve is a drop in the ocean compared to the damage that's being inflicted big and unsustainable agriculture, let alone CO2 emissions from all human activity. We need more action, fast!

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