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i know absolutely nothing about gardening but am thinking of trying it out, please help me!

(10 Posts)
mamacoffee Sun 05-May-13 17:00:37


as above really! i have a garden which is mostly paved, but has a border of about 2 feet wide and about 20 foot long one side and about 10 foot long the other side. in the front garden there is also a border which is slightly shorter.

in my ideal world i would like:
-some vegetables/fruit
-some flowers
-something easy to maintain- doesn't require loads of time (i used to have a medium sized garden with lawn and flowers and our gardener took 3 hours every month to do, that's the sort of thing im looking for)
-something which wont cost too much to set up (although i'm guessing i could add to it over the years to spread the cost)
-i have dcs nearly 3 and 1, something i could do with them and something the 1yo won't destroy

is such a thing possible?where do i start? from what i hear on radio 4, its not too late because of the crazy weather we've had lately!

thank you in advance.

OrbisNonSufficit Sun 05-May-13 17:14:34

I garden mostly by trial and error - the UK has so many microclimates it's impossible to be 100% sure what will grow in any given garden. So be prepared for some plant death and you'll be a happier gardener.

Soil is also critical. If you do nothing else, dig LOTS of compost and soil conditioners into the soil before you plant anything. It will make everything else easier. This is especially important for veg.

Then pick easy plants. The RHS website has a good selector where you can choose based on how needy the plant is.

You might also want to pick a theme / style so the plants go together (cottage, architectural, etc). And do any big feature plants first so you can work around them.

Have fun grin

gardeningmum Mon 06-May-13 07:51:37

Have a look what grows well in your neighbours gardens or take a look at your local allotments to give you some ideas. Thing about foliage as well as flowers - some small shrubs will be easy to maintain. Thing also about grasses and climbing plants. Lavender and lots of herbs are floral aromatic and edible and easy to grow with children.

You can find some ideas on family friendly (easy to grow and maintain) plants on my blog

onefewernow Mon 06-May-13 08:38:07

Start with an evergreen framework of small shrubs. I would think of each season of interest, not just summer.

If you want food, then rosemary, sage would be good small shrubs.

mamacoffee Mon 06-May-13 20:55:51

Thanks for your replies! I will definitely look at that blog. Like the idea of year round stuff and lavender sounds good!

Is there a good book or website where I can learn the basics? I have no clue at all how to go about it!

onefewernow Wed 08-May-13 15:44:26

Oh loads. Even charity shops are full of them. The RHS website and BBC gardening, as well as shoot gardening.

The RHS do books for beginners eg the complete gardener, I think.

Some other basics I consider is smell, colour, leaf colour, height and shape, whether the soil suits and time of year it performs. So you don't put lavenders in wet clay in shade, but the labels remind you too.

I like to have plants for spring, summer and autumn. Winter I give a miss. but one nice daphne or similar near the house so I don't have to freeze to see it! Then I'm lazy In Winter.

mamacoffee Wed 08-May-13 19:03:56

thank you! we went to the library today and found 3 books so am looking forward to having a read.

iheartdusty Wed 08-May-13 22:02:42

I really like this book for ideas.

mamacoffee Thu 09-May-13 17:12:24

Brilliant will have a look Thanks!

BornToFolk Thu 09-May-13 17:19:27

I'm a trial and error gardener too. My philosophy is usually "chuck it in the ground and see if it grows" but I usually grow things from seed so spend very little and I'm not that fussed if it doesn't work.

I grow a few veg, mostly in pots/grow bags because I don't have a lot of space in the beds. The easiest things. IME, to grow are salad leaves and beans. Tomatoes are fun, but require a bit more work. I have a big strawberry pot with plants that are now three years old and look likely to fruit again this year, and they put out runners last year so I got even more plants!

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