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What would you plant in my front garden?

(15 Posts)
Celia1978 Fri 02-Jan-15 13:25:29

NB - the attached pic is not my front garden: mine is much less smart than that! But to give you an idea of the shape...

Very typical narrow patch in front of a Victorian terrace with a strip of earth beneath the garden wall and another beneath the bay window. Currently completely empty. Plus it's north facing so it really doesn't get the sun.

I just can't think what to put in it. I'm quite happy to have several of the same thing and for it to look quite uniform - but what? I prefer things that flower rather than just bushes and I think something with a bit of size for impact. My only thought so far is hydrangeas against the wall. But what else?

I'm quite keen on plants so it's not like me to be so lacking in inspiration. But this is a new house so a) I'm out of practice b) the north-facing aspect is stumping me and c) my usual taste is for crammed cottage-y gardens which doesn't feel quite right in such a small/restricted space.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd be very grateful! Thanks.

fortifiedwithtea Fri 02-Jan-15 13:43:01

Yikes! Not an easy task with though restrictions.

Personally I'm not keen on the hydrangea idea as they are basically twigs with brown flower heads in winter. What about Cotoneaster for berry colour or Mahonia (sp?) yellow flower spikes but not too close to the door because of the prickly leaves.

I also like Sedums, Elephants Ears and Hostas.

Can you fix a plastic flower trough to the house/window ledge and plant up with spring bulbs such as mini daffs Tete a Tete or Winter flowering Pansies.


MewlingQuim Fri 02-Jan-15 13:51:18

lots of plants will grow in a north facing garden, if you want a neat evergreen hedge you could use holly, pyracantha or viburnum.

Enb76 Fri 02-Jan-15 13:56:14

I'm having a similar problem and have decided to go ferns under planted with hellebores with gravel base. Also one structural pot with a dramatic hosta (pot to deter the bastard slugs)

florentina1 Fri 02-Jan-15 14:00:58

There is a website called Growsonyou. Lots of pics, and you can ask questions of other gardeners

Ferguson Fri 02-Jan-15 18:16:57

Pulmonaria have attractive pink/blue flowers, also all white and darker blues, in spring. The foliage can give interest for much of the year:

Yes, hellebores - our almost-black flowered one is just opening.

Hostas in pots: slugs and snails may be cleverer than you think; in my experience snails LOVE to shelter under the rim of pots!

OneHandFlapping Fri 02-Jan-15 18:30:39

In such a small space, I would stick with something simple and architectural - rather like the owners of the house in your picture have done, with the simple row of box balls.

There are not that many flowering plants that like shade, and in such a small space, it would be difficult to get flowers over a long season. I also assume it's a city garden somewhere, and that any pots would be nicked within a few days.

So I would go for:

Box balls

Gravel or paving

Celia1978 Sat 03-Jan-15 14:25:26

Ah, thank you everyone! Some good ideas here - feel more inspired now. Thank you!

Rhubarbgarden Sun 04-Jan-15 07:47:16

Sarcococca confusa, also known as christmas box, is a lovely smart evergreen that doesn't get too big or straggly and which blooms in winter with the most wonderful scented flowers. I'd have a simple row of those. If there's space, I'd add a feature Skimmia japonica Rubella. Also evergreen with attractive red buds through the winter which turn into pretty white flowers in spring.

funnyperson Sun 04-Jan-15 10:01:15

Yes I think those ideas above are lovely for spring summer autumn and winter - but a little bit too thin on colour and scent perhaps

Perhaps underplant the hellebores with snowdrops and tulips (layering)

Also perhaps think of something flowering and scented for summer- to provide the back drop and grow over the rails and see and smell though the windows : eg honeysuckle? A red climbing scented rose over the railing?

What do you think?

MaudantWit Sun 04-Jan-15 15:30:25

My front garden is very like yours.

I agree with the suggestion of repetition to stop things looking bitty. Winter box is lovely, because of the scent, although the flowers are very inconspicuous. How about daphne odora aureomarginata? Or choisya Aztec Pearl?

If your windowsills are wide enough, I would have big window boxes with bulbs for spring colour and then some summer bedding-type things to prolong the interest. I have gone for perennial planting in my window boxes but, on reflection, it's a bit dull.

TheReluctantCountess Sun 04-Jan-15 15:42:12

I wouldn't plant anything. It's your garden - you plant stuff grin

funnyperson Sun 04-Jan-15 18:54:09

So many London front gardens are similar.
If you go for a little stroll in Putney round the back of its high street there are a few roads with front gardens like this where the owners have different but quite classy plantings. The sunnier ones are lucky as lots more flowers. The ones with artificial turf are interesting. I like the ones with a few pots of overspilling flowers best.
But as upthread says- its your garden- you can plant veg of you like or go for repeating box balls, or a niwaki statement. Anything at all.

Rhubarbgarden Sun 04-Jan-15 19:21:44

Niwaki! Now you're talking grin

MariscallRoad Mon 05-Jan-15 16:43:48

If you are directly north one side might be east and the other west with some light and these orientations shift during year with more direct light. I have 2 north windows that see some sun certain times of the year.

You have lovely suggestions already. Some plans thrive in shade.The north garden as a wall on its bac. Pots and planters of different design and colour are nice and you can vary type of soil. Plants with folliage of different colours and leave shapes and height can make a beautiful little colourful garden. Think of the spread of each. Combine the different sizes and colours of leaves, stems and flowers. Geraniums can do very well.

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