Advanced search


(26 Posts)
jardy Sun 28-Aug-11 22:23:20

I would like to make my front borders special,at the moment they are full of woody spindly bushes.I want to pull them out and plant loads of bulbs,and then in the summer plant loads of bedding plants.Is this very naive?What would work best?Any ideas or links,recommendations?I want my front garden to have the wow factor but don`t know where to start.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 13:06:22

Do you know what the shrubs are? Ripping them out may be too drastic - if you trim and shape them they might make a good backdrop for the bulbs and bedding.

Your plan isn't naive but it could be back-breaking and it could be expensive. Bulbs should last for a few years before they need to be replaced but bedding can be very costly if you buy it all. You can save money by growing from seed but it might also be good to think of some perennial plants to form the framework for the planting.

You can look on the RHS and
BBC gardening sites for ideas for plants - the RHS one has suggestions based on soil type and conditions. If you tell us more about the size of your garden, the kind of style you want (formal, cottage garden, modern etc) there are plenty of obsessive experienced gardeners here who may have some ideas!

jardy Mon 29-Aug-11 14:52:41

comeintothegardenmaud,such a helpful answer,thank you so much.I have a peris (red flame thingy)and a bushy thing with bright yellow flowers-azalea?everyone else`s red.You are spot on,I don`t have time and think I could get carried away.My front garden is 9 metres by 9 metres with lawn in the middle and a mixture of sun and shade.I put an Acer in the front border and that is beautiful,but it is growing fast and also the leaves curl up and burn.Someone on this thread said they don`t like the sun.It would be a pity to yank it up,maybe trimming is the answer.I put tons of daffodil bulbs in every year and then yank them up when they are dead.I also have plants that have grown and grown and look very untidy.One is the one where the raindrops twinkle on the leaves.The other is flowering at the moment,spikey leaves and then a bright orange flower at the tip.Both of the above have taken over the borders.I have spent hours yanking out the raindroppy thing and the borders look bare now.Also there are some lovely plants which grow tall and tufty,and they look great when they are at their best.I have a hydronagena which I put loads of hydrogena manure down and bravo!great flowers this year.Then a Camelia,this is very bushy but never ever flowers.
I like my hanging basket at the front of the house and when there are autumn plants in I take them out and put them in the border in spring,and then they grow too much.One is the Christmassy type one -the one with red cone type flowers at the end and shiny green leaves.Maybe I just need to keep trimming and trimming.One of these is at the back of the Acer,maybe that gives it a bit of support and shade but also takes nutrients away-should I pull it up do you think.It doesn`t look right.I buy a sack of top quality garden fertiliser from a small local garden shop and dig it in the soil.
I am on a bus route and a lot of school children pass my front garden.I therefore feel I have a duty to make my front garden look good,and the teenagers do look at it.I keep away the rubbish and the dog do,etc I think it is important for the next generation to understand the importance of pride in the neighbourhood.Thank you again,and please forgive my spelling and ignorance.I fear a telling off about yanking up the daffodil bulbs when they are done,but they look so scruffy!I do put all the soil,bulbs etc in the recycling bin,and recyle as much as I can!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 15:28:19

Is your orange, spiky plant (not necessarily this variety)? It does spread fast, so you can control it by digging out the bits you don't want.

I guess your Christmas plant is cyclamen. Is the plant that collects raindrops alchemilla mollis? It's one of my favourites but if you've got too many, just pull out the seedlings. Maybe you could donate them to a local gardening project? It can also look scruffy once it's flowered, in which case if you cut off the flower spike it'll look better and it won't set so much seed.

My suggestions are

Think about moving the acer to somewhere where it won't be scorched by sun (or wind, which can also burn plants) - otherwise you'll always be having to trim off the crispy leaves and it may start to struggle.

Keep some of the alchemilla mollis and look for other ground cover plants. There are some very pretty lamiums (look on the RHS website but avoid lamium galeobdolon which is a thug and spreads everywhere) and ajugas.

You don't need to rip out the daffodils every year. If you have them near the back of the bed and have other herbaceous plants springing up in front of them, that will hide the dying foliage (which you can eventually cut off, anyway).

As you have some red and orange plants in the garden, how about some red or orange tulips? Now is the time to buy bulbs.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 15:28:58

And I should have said it's great that you're trying to inspire teenagers to get gardening!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 15:30:53

Oops. The first link was to crocosmia.

jardy Mon 29-Aug-11 17:18:58

YES ! They are crocosmia and alchemilla mollis.The acer I think I need to pull up and replant in the border at the back,under a large Beech Tree which will provide shade.I will buy the other plants you mention,as I find the Gardening sites too overwhelming.I am particularly interested in any suggestions that you have regarding ground cover or plants that come up each year but are not a nuisance.I usually buy a big bag of daffodils from B&Q but this year I will buy tulips as well.Another request Maud,I have breeze blocks at the front that makes a little garden wall,and there are holes in the top,could you suggest anything I could put inside.Nothing seems to do very well,I try planting tiny narcissus etc .My lobelia did O.K.Could it to do with the tiny poor conditions,maybe you can think of something that will do better.Thank you for your kind comments regarding the teenagers,it`s more to do with giving them the idea that it`s important to keep the community nice and tidy.All the masses of sweet wrappers have diminished,and soft drink tins,since I made the effort to keep the garden nice.(polishes halo!) x

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 19:53:59


Do you mean the little dents in the top of the breeze blocks? If so, I would go for alpines and things that need very little soil. The plants mentioned here should do well. So should lewisia.

Many of these wowuld do well as ground cover under shrubs (depending on their size).

Other ideas - Hardy geraniums (this is just one of the hundreds of variety available) are very pretty and low maintenance. Aquilegias (again, there are lots of varieties) are also lovely and low maintenance. Both of these can self-seed quite freely but, again, you can just dig out the seedlings and give them away.

jardy Mon 29-Aug-11 21:17:36

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud-you are amazing!I can`t wait to get cracking.
Perenials,I think this means that they come up each year.Have you any favourites?

jardy Mon 29-Aug-11 21:23:31

Maud-every single one of those are in my garden already,so you have sussed out the best plants for the conditions.I now feel much better about having those plants in my garden.Alpine plants were in my breeze blocks,but I yanked them out when we moved here 20 years ago.The nice thing is,that a dedicated gardener thoughtfully planted those plants and here I am moaning,I just need to trim and adapt,NOT yank them up.
Thank you for your wise advice x

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 29-Aug-11 21:32:21

Yes, perennials are plants that come back every year. If they're described as herbaceous it means that they die down (disappear) and resurface in the spring.

I love several of the plants we've already mentioned - alchemilla mollis, aquilegia and hardy geraniums (which are not the same as summer geraniums, ie pelargoniums). I also like

Japanese anemone





Several of these are spring flowers and will be coming into the garden centres in (I guess) a few weeks. All of them come in many varieties but these pics should give you some idea of what they're like.

Do you have any gardens or stately homes locally? The season is almost over, but you may have some other gardens open locally through the National Garden Scheme - you can search by postcode. Going to have a look round at any of these will give you some idea of what grows well in local conditions.

Have you got a local gardening society? They are always a good source of ideas and advice. I have gained so much from joining mine.

jardy Tue 30-Aug-11 19:54:25

Thank you very much indeed.I feel encouraged and less daunted.Yes I am a member of the National Trust and there are lots of gardens near me so I will have a look,what a great idea,never thought of it.I do buy lots of books on Gardening but find the mass of information a turn off.I also go to Flower Shows but come back feeling demoralised and not inspired.Thank you again for your gentle and wise information.Write a book!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 30-Aug-11 20:34:29

You are very kind but I really couldn't write a book. Gardening is a wonderful hobby - it's saved my sanity at times - but I don't have enough knowledge/expertise/time to write anything more than the occasional article for my gardening society magazine.

sukima Tue 30-Aug-11 21:53:28

a question re hydrangea - you mentioned specialist manure... mine didn't flower at all this season, lovely bushy leaves but not a single petal! would this specialist manure help her next year???

thankyou so much!

jardy Tue 30-Aug-11 21:57:35

Actually it was mulch -top quality mulch from a local garden shop and for the first time it has masses of flowers.All my pots have produced masses of foliage but no flowers,really sad,however someone told me that the hot easter and poor summer had this effect.

jardy Wed 31-Aug-11 17:25:07

Went to B&Q and got my alpines and bulbs today-can`t wait to get started -yay!

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Wed 31-Aug-11 19:18:18

Great! Post some pictues when they're all blooming!

jardy Thu 01-Sep-11 07:49:57

Thanks for the inspiration.The Acer is going to be moved by two burly friends and myself to under the Beech Tree,(shady and damp with some sun)in October.And it will be christened `Maud`.If not for you it would have ended up chopped up in the recycling bin smile

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Thu 01-Sep-11 23:58:16

Ooh. I've never had a plant named after me. I just hope I don't die. wink

I never asked how old or how large acer 'Maud' was. Moving established trees can be tricky but the good old RHS has some tips. Good luck!

jardy Fri 02-Sep-11 10:37:27

Maud is about 6 years old.About a 6 inch girth.Thank you,will go to RHS -brilliant site x

teta Fri 02-Sep-11 11:21:50

Jardy have you thought about buying a selection of perennials as super-plug plants that can be planted straight into the borders now?.I have been looking at the Thompson and Morgan site now and they have a special offer on at the moment.The only thing is the reviews are a bit mixed and i would prefer one colour theme rather than the selection of colours offered.I guess that the cost is so inexpensive that the colours can be moved arround next year.

jardy Sat 03-Sep-11 08:44:49

Hello teta,thank you for replying.I bought plug plants last summer and found I had no patience or the money to keep re-potting them.However the perennials as super plug sounds really interesting.Thank you,I will investigate.My border has a large hedge on one side,and at the bottom is a tree.My borders are very dry and nothing seems to grow there at all,so I suspect I need to mulch big style.Any perennials you like or might do well in my borders?I am so pleased I did not have my bushy plants removed,as I think it would have been overwhelming.So pleased Maud gave advice.

teta Sat 03-Sep-11 11:23:33

I have very dry borders as well but they are mostly very sunny.This year my lupins have been fantastic and have flowered for months.Astrantia and perennial geraniums also grow well here as do delphiniums and aquilegias.Hostas grow well in the shaded areas at the base of trees and shrubs.Oregano and thyme and rosemary also look lovely in flower and thrive in dry soils.I've also found it helpful to subscribe to Gardeners World and have found it very useful for ideas on plant combinations in different situations.
Ideas for your border for winter are scented primulas ,masses of bulbs including autumn crocus and early and late tulips[plus i am also planting crocosmia in an area where nothing else will grow].I am pinching 'Mauds' idea of orange violas and purple tulips [found in the j Parkers catalogue].I have also ordered scented tulips and bulbs for pots from the Telegraph Garden Shop.I am also not interested in potting on ,as my greenhouse gave way to my lovely new patio with a border of scented herbs surrounded by jasmine,climbing roses and several almond-scented clematis.Incidentally the J Parker catalogue also have super-plug plants for instant summer borders.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Sat 03-Sep-11 19:32:16

Other good things for dry borders are euphorias and foxgloves, but euphorbia has toxic sap and foxgloves are poisonous, so you need to think about whether the plants might get damaged by flying footballs or eaten by toddlers.

jardy Sat 03-Sep-11 21:00:50

lots of ideas,thank you.I particularly fancy scented primulas.The alpines look lovely in my breeze blocks,especially now it has rained,Maud

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: