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Pretty much clueless - really need advice on planting please

(5 Posts)
Emphaticmaybe Tue 11-Mar-14 16:42:20

Lovely gardening experts please help me I'm not sure where to start with a patch of land [approx 28m2] at the bottom of our north facing garden. It does get pretty much continuous sun [if it's out] from March to October - but only a sliver through the winter. It seems to drain reasonably well but I have no idea about soil quality - how do you tell?

I would really love to plant some bee and butterfly friendly plants but I'm getting confused about soil types, acidity, space requirements etc - any suggestions would be great - thanks.

dreamingofsun Tue 11-Mar-14 17:42:07

you could get a soil testing kit from a garden centre or ask neighbours. if its heavy clumps that look like you could make a pot from them its clay, if its more like the beach its sandy or if its inbetween it loam.

if camelia's and rhododendrums grow in abundance in your/neighbours garden its acidic.

suggest getting some books from the library. if it gets sun as much as you say then you need things for full sun.

then you should think about planting some shrubs maybe and then putting other things in gaps. see what you like the look of, gauge how much work they are going to be and how hard to look after.

you could just use wild flower seed - this would give you the bee/butterfly solution. but if you do further reading you may decide you don't want everything at one level and you could also plant budlea for example

Emphaticmaybe Tue 11-Mar-14 18:01:10

Thanks dreamingofsun that's really helpful.

I think the soil is more clayey than Sandy. Immediate Neighbours unfortunately don't seem to be growing anything much in the soil - mainly lawns and a few pots - so not much help. I think I will look for a soil kit.

Thanks for the shrubs and wild flower seed idea - like the idea of making it a bit wild but would also like some variation in heights - with a little path through. Will look for a book.

Gooner123 Tue 11-Mar-14 18:16:10

If it drains reasonably well then it doesn't sound like clay,there are lots of herbaceous perennials that bees love,and because they die down over winter doesn't matter about lack of sun.
Bees love purple salvias,rudbeckias,foxgloves etc there really is an endless choice,a mixed bed,where you plant a few shrubs,with herb.perennials is a popular choice.

CuttedUpPear Wed 12-Mar-14 06:54:42

Wow lucky you.
A good marker of soil quality is to see what is growing there already.
As far as planting for bees and butterflies goes, you have plenty of room for buddleia. Find a few nice varieties, there are some great dark purple and blue colours. Also plant lavender - a lavender hedge with a double staggered row is a beautiful thing.

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