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Gardening for beginners

(13 Posts)
loopyloou Mon 26-Aug-13 18:58:25

Ideas for what to plant please!

Our garden is 5 x fence panels each side and mainly lawn. I think it faces west/south west.

I haven't got a clue about gardening and would appreciate some ideas of things to plant to keep it looking nice all year round.

The soil is poor, seems full of clay. A few things I've planted have grown ok. We have two apple trees, the eating apple tree looks half dead, the other is ok. We have a plum tree (all the fruit trees have been gifts), but it is 3 years old, has shot up, but bears no fruit.

We have a forsythia that does ok, what my mum says is a potentilla (sp?), that needs a good prune, a huge rhubarb plant, ivy, clematis and vines growing on the fences, they look ok. One flowerbed has a few things my mum has brought, grown from cuttings - violets, montbretia (sp?), hardy geraniums and a tiny rose (it was a small indoors rose I planted out). Also have a hydrangea that I bought in a pot last year, but it's doing nothing this year.

So is there anything I can put in for colour in the autumn? I asked my mum for bulbs for my birthday and she bought a mixture of crocus, tulips and daffodils, which I will plant in big pots.

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Mon 26-Aug-13 21:26:28

There are some shrubs - such as cornus and viburnum opulis - which have lovely autumn colour. The RHS website - - is a good place to browse, or borrow some books from the library.

loopyloou Sun 01-Sep-13 13:34:42

Any idea how I can encourage the two hydrangeas to flower next year?

Any plants I can put in that will flower in the autumn? (I know it's too late for this year smile )

funnyperson Sun 01-Sep-13 14:35:18

Asters, dahlias, buddleia, cosmos, salvia, japanese anemones, fuschias, golden rod, verbenia bonariensis, ceratostigma, nicotiniana, crocosmia, cyclamen hederifolium, colchicum species, grasses, goldenrod, monarda, roses still flower, gladiolus muriellae, begonias, geraniums are still flowering if they have been cut back in late july, heleniums, sedums, phlox, penstemons, red hot poker
try this
the art is to choose and plant wisely

funnyperson Sun 01-Sep-13 14:36:11

I used to think August was a quiet time in the garden but it isnt at all I just hadnt planted autumn flowering plants

loopyloou Sun 01-Sep-13 16:24:59

Thanks funnyperson, I'll have a look at that list. I'm not very good at planning well, remembering to plant on time. A lot of those plants sounding good smile

plipplops Tue 03-Sep-13 19:45:46

I'd subscribe to Gardener's World for a year. It's really good for ideas and 'what to do now' type stuff, and they have some good plant offers too.

cantspel Tue 03-Sep-13 20:02:54

hydrangeas love lots of water and some shade, so if they are in full sun move them some where more shady then give them plenty of water. The best is rain water from your water butt if you have one.
Dpnt over feed it but give it a good mulch with leaf mold or some compost. Dont prune unless they are getting to big as next years blooms will come from the old growth of this year. If you have any dead flowerhead leave them on the bush until at least february then just snip them off under the old dry flower head.

loopyloou Tue 03-Sep-13 20:59:54

Thanks Plipplop and Cantspell.

I'll get hold of a copy if Gardeners World to see how I get on with it before subscribing.

Both hydrangeas were bought last year. One is still in the pot, the other one in the garden in the shade most of the time. Neither have got very big or flowered this year, although both are green and glossy leaved. I will feed/mulch them and not prune them.

I have put cuttings in that my mum gave me, montbretia(sp?), saxifrage, pinks, hardy geraniums, violets. Unfortunately my main flower bed only gets sun in summer. I'm starting another bed on the other side of the garden, but struggling to dig it. Have asked dh for help but none forthcoming so far.

loopyloou Tue 03-Sep-13 21:07:49

Can I also ask about pruning lavender? We have lavender planted under the living room window and it's getting a bit leggy. I don't want to cut so far back that there are just bare branches and no leaves.

extravert Wed 25-Sep-13 13:01:27

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

woozlebear Mon 30-Sep-13 15:07:37

IME lavender needs to be cut back hard to keep a good shape. My mum always taught me to cut it until it looks like a hedgehog. If it's been allowed to get v leggy and woody, this can seem quite drastic, but it's always recovered fine when I've done it.

bumperella Mon 30-Sep-13 20:44:38

lavender doesn't (usually) regrow from the old woody part - so don't cut right back into old (leafless) wood.

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