Instant impact needed!(7 Posts)
After redoing back garden two years ago (repaving, new fence etc) when we moved in and planting lots of things I am fed up still looking at bare fences and bare earth. Loads of stuff has died, or not really grown, even stuff which has always performed well for me on worse soil.
What would you plant that's will fill a bed or climb a fence super super super fast? Want my garden to look like a garden this summer!
One bed in full sun, south facing. One in shade, north facing. Previously I've tried to plant so that there's continuity between beds but giving up on that and thinking south facing bed for easy full sun summer stuff and the north facing one for more shade loving evergreen spring and winter interest stuff.
Considered chucking a load of flower seeds in the sunny bed for this summer but have cats who will probably just dig it all up before they grow properly and don't really have the space or equipment to properly grow from seed which is a shame as have very little budget for plants!
if you have a small budget for buying plants I'd definitely bite the bullet and grow them - I bought a mini greenhouse from Homebase that was about £40 and it's brilliant for nurturing seedlings and young plants. It just sits in a sunny spot by the house. I also recently bought a small propagator as I wanted to start sowing a couple of months ago and that has been totally worth every penny - it was about £30 and it has seven trays so you can get lots of plants started very quickly.
Why do you think lots of your plants have died? I started bits of my garden this time last year and the new beds all looked great by midsummer, I think the only thing I've really lost is a hosta that I put in totally the wrong spot - if you want instant impact i'd invest in some structure - euphorbia, box balls, hebes, choisya - all those things have grown so much in one season in my garden. Then you can dot in perennials, annuals etc. I've never had any joy chucking seeds in the ground and hoping for the best - I always end up with a weedy mess even when I think I have cleared the soil. I only planted small plants (as in 9cm pots) last spring as it's so much more economical and they grow so fast once it warms up.
I don't think anything is going to cover your fence in one season but I planted a lot of trachelospermum and climbing hydrangeas last spring (in south facing spot) and they have all done really well - they are about half way up a six foot fence.
Sweet peas up the sunny fence as a temporary fix for this year while more permanent climbers get established?
jasmine, honeysuckle, clematis can all grow fast up a fence in one season
when you plant them, dig a hole deeper and wider than the plant pot, fill the bottom with compost, plant the plant and water in with a bucket of water till a puddle forms
water in well every week in dry weather: not with the watering can because that encourages top roots which are not good for your climbers, but with a bucket of water
Have you got friends who are gardeners? If so now is a good time to split things and I'm sure they could help you with a few bit and pieces. Also beginning of May round here is when the church fundraising plant sales happen where you can pick up decent plants fir not much. Google the secret gardening club , they sell in 3's and have free postage.
Like you I have one bed in sun and another in shade. Things are going much better now I plant for the conditions. Things that are doing well in the sun are Bowles Mauve perennial wall flower, sedum, penstemon, geranium Roseanne, roses, aster, dahlias, cosmos, snapdragons, lupins and I've just ordered some lavender from the secret gardening club.
The shade bed is newer . I found some, ferns growing in steps so transplanted them, foxgloves from seed, tiarella, geranium phaeum, hellebore, carex, holly fern, ophiopogon, astilbe, aquilegia, primroses and just ordered some brunnera along with the lavender.
Places like Poundland and Aldi are worth a go for plants. My £1.79 Aldi roses are doing well. If you have Amy Tesco Clubcard vouchers you can get a subscription for a weekly gardening magazine which often comes with free seeds. Make some paper pots from newspaper wrapped round an aerosol can and get some started on the windowsill. Ask friends for cuttings and see what you can get going in a jar of water on the windowsill - Rosemary is good for this and will do wel, in your sunny bed.
Stick a wanted ad on freecycle and see if people have things they can give you . Clematis vary in how vigorous they are, Montanasare one of the more vigorous ones. Don't plant too close to the fence (I'm guilty of this) as soil doesn't get moisture. Plant a bit forward and angle it back. If you can get hold of morning glory seeds they are annuals so will do well in a season.
I have cats and things that have done well chucking in seeds are aquilegia, nigella and poppies. Most important of all are regular cups of tea whilst you sit and watch the progress of your hand work.
Morrisons do loads of cheap climbers - clematis, honeysuckle etc. Just a word about aquilegia - if you plant from seed this year, they won't flower til next. But still worth sowing just because they're so lovely when they do come.
I think your dilemma is that of everyone with a lovely blank canvas!
I would do four things:
1. Work out why the stuff you've planted has died. This is the number one thing! Did they get too much or too little water? Does your soil need improving with lots of compost and grit? There's no point spending your hard-earned cash on new plants until you know they will thrive, and a bit of investment in your soil (or in a watering can!) can make the difference between a dead garden and a dead gorgeous one.
2. Find a number of 'investment' plants that you love. A climber for the fence, some shrubs (some of them evergreen), some hardy perennials. Accept that, unless you're a millionnaire, you'll be buying these small and that they will grow with time, perhaps taking 3-5 years to get to an even half decent size. Have a look in places like Aldi, Lidl, Morrisons for cheap, high quality plants!
3. You can then stuff direct to fill the rest of the space this year. Look for the packets that say 'easy sow' or 'sow where they grow' on the packet - you just dump those seeds in prepared soil, and they romp away without needing any fuss with pots, greenhouses or anything like that. They are sometimes marketed as seeds for children for that reason - yet they'll give you an amazing floral display this year, distracting attention away from the smallness of the other things. Things like calendulas, nasturtiums, poached egg plants, papaver and californian poppies, cornflower, sunflower should all work well! Pop some twigs at intervals in the ground to keep the cats off!
4. Have a think about growing some veg - it doesn't have to look functional! If you dig a largeish circular pit, 1 metre x 1 metre and you fill it with vegetable and fruit scraps starting about now, you can plant a wigwam of runner beans or borlotti beans on your sunny border in May. These are actually really attractive plants with beautiful flowers as well as being productive for the kitchen. Globe artichokes are also gorgeous looking (and triffid-like in the way they grow, so a good space filler). Rhubarb will appreciate your shadier border, and the leaves look great against other shade plants (you can buy ornamental rhubarb for this reason).
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