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Beginners guide to gardening

(17 Posts)
abearcalledpaddington Wed 08-Jul-15 09:10:29

I am moving into a new house in a couple of weeks and it has a humongous garden, i have no idea how big in ft/m but really huge, and it goes all around the side of the house and the front too.

The back is mostly lawn with a few bushy sort of things, the borders are empty, there are some more bushy bits and lawn at the side, and the front has a small lawn and lots of flowers.

I would love to get into gardening as we spend a lot of time outside but i really have no idea where to start.

Does anyone have any tips on how to keep it looking nice and how often i should be doing them?

abearcalledpaddington Wed 08-Jul-15 09:11:22

HaveYouSeenHerLately Wed 08-Jul-15 09:43:48

Do you have any friends or relatives who are keen gardeners? I learnt a lot that way smile They were able to ID existing things for me and make suggestions.

Are you okay cutting the lawns? A regularly cut lawn (don't forget to trim/ shear the edges) can make a big difference wink

The RHS website is a great resource and Gardeners World website is worth a look too. I'm sure someone will suggest some good books shortly thanks

I moved in last year and had very bare beds. With some help I chose various compact evergreen shrubs and climbers, to keep some interest in winter. From there I was able to fill the gaps with my favourite plants (check aspect and soil - a lot of plants won't thrive in shade). By the time autumn arrived I was able to add bulbs to the mix.

Can you add a few photos? What direction does your garden face?

HaveYouSeenHerLately Wed 08-Jul-15 09:45:16

Sorry just seen that you haven't moved in yet smile

florentina1 Wed 08-Jul-15 10:12:32

The most important thing is not to rush things, dig stuff up or start pruning straight away.

Bush type thingies might look unattractive at certain times of the year and then turn into a blaze of glory, or produce lovely flowers in a different season. There might be spring bulbs under the soil, which will be lovely and save you money.

As it is a big garden I would buy the best tools that you can afford, as they are a great labour saving investment.

florentina1 Wed 08-Jul-15 10:17:01

Also there is a great site called Grows onYou, where you can ask questions, post pictures to try and identify what is already there. And beak at other gardens to give you ideas.

Your post was very well put, I suggest you put on there as I am sure you will get excellent advice.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 08-Jul-15 10:18:02

No unfortunately i don't have any family that are into gardening so im kind of in it on my own, plus its my first house as a single parent, which is exciting but a tiny it scary.

I hadn't thought of that, yes maybe i should just do the essentials and wait and see :-)

florentina1 Wed 08-Jul-15 10:38:28

I have jiust looked at your pics, that not a garden its an estate...I am so jealous.

In view of the size, and as you are raring to go, why not dig up a bit of lawn and make a small vegatable patch. I am sure it is not to late to sow a some lettuce seeds, and crop them while they are still small.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 08-Jul-15 12:43:38

It really is big, its even bigger than it looks on the photos. I have 5 kids and a dog so it will be put to good use! I would like to get some chickens but ill have to research more first.

Would love to do a veggie patch, what are the easiest to grow and look after?

florentina1 Wed 08-Jul-15 16:34:33

You could give the kids a grow bag each, they are very cheap. Salad crops grow quickly, either seeds or plants. Potatoes, peas and beans also simple for a beginner. Maybe a small dwarf apple tree. Also think about. Planting raspberry and blackberry bushes, fairly easy and all those lovely pies. A herb garden will give you quick results. Small herb plants are about £1.20 per pot and will soon fill out a tub.

If you have tiny ones then try nasturtium seeds. Big to handle so easy for small hands, lovely flowers and edible plus they grow really fast.

Also if you have bits of rubble, bricks old wood, cardboard and straw, the kids can build a Bug Hotel. Great fun, good for the garden, and keeps the little ones amused for hours. Sorry to ramble on, but a magnifying glass is great for looking at bugs.

Good luck in your new home.

abearcalledpaddington Wed 08-Jul-15 17:01:11

Thanks for all the ideas florentina, i will try all of them. x

purpleapple1234 Wed 08-Jul-15 17:07:51

I watched Alan Titchmarsh on YouTube " How to be a gardener" for ideas. He made it simple.

PurpleWithRed Wed 08-Jul-15 17:08:24

Blimey, that is a challenge. I am green with envy.

Whatever else you do long term, in the short term keep on top of the grass. Mow it at least once a fortnight. Otherwise it will grow too big to cut and get all clumpy and you'll never be able to mow it and it will all be a bit of a disaster. You will need to invest in a big mower of some sort, or find someone local and pay them to do it. (Or borrow a couple of sheep but you'll need very good fencing) Do not believe that leaving the grass to grow will result in a lovely wildflower area, it won't it will end up with a scraggy tufty mess. Keep it mown.

Do not dig up a big area assuming you will garden it and all will be well. Any bare earth will sprout weeds, so don't dig out a space that's bigger than you can weed regularly.

funnyperson Wed 08-Jul-15 22:28:43

YOu could join the potting shed thread?

Qwebec Thu 09-Jul-15 00:38:22

Mulch is your best friend. It can be made of shredded wood (but not cedar ideally) or leaves that you mowed over (free). It reduces the need for water, keeps the soil cool, invites earthworms that will keep your soil light and greatly reduces the number of weeds (loose seeds wont' touch the ground). It needs to be at least 5cm thick. If you sow directly in the ground clear an area for the seeds and cover properly when they will have sprouted properly. Keep the mulch thinner against your plants so that the stalks are not buried or they will rot.

shovetheholly Thu 09-Jul-15 17:13:18

I've recommended this before, so at the risk of boring everyone - Alan Titchmarsh's How To Be A Gardener DVD is excellent. Really takes you through all the basics, and you can watch him doing things, which is easier than understanding a diagram for those like me who are visually challenged.

I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to get the soil right and to understand the conditions that you have and to try to work with them. Planting a garden without sorting this out is like building a house without digging foundations. Planting lovely expensive plants in soil that isn't right for them is just chucking money in the bin. Equally, trying to grow something that loves sun and heat in dark shade will likely lead to really heartwrenching failure.

Also, as with any large project, most people get daunted by the scale and sheer size of it. Break it up into small pieces and tackle one at a time, though, and it suddenly become manageable!

Mitzimaybe Fri 10-Jul-15 18:53:46

My best advice is: be patient! And like a pp said, don't be in too much of a hurry to change everything that's there already - there could be bulbs etc. that you can't see at the moment.

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