Advanced search

Newbie gardener

(18 Posts)
Lexipedia Tue 22-Mar-16 12:51:04


With a lot of hard work, and a bit of help from a gardener, our jungle of a garden is now ready for us to put our mark on it. I'm looking forward to having it looking lovely, and working in it, but I'm a complete novice. I have a few questions for any of you who are more experienced gardeners if that's ok.

Firstly, I'm looking for options for the flower beds and borders. I need low maintenance and preferably things that look reasonable through all seasons. A mix of flowers and greenery would be good. I'm happy to do some maintenance, but nothing too hardcore. The front garden is North facing and the back garden South facing.

Secondly, vegetables. I like the idea of growing something, maybe with help from the children. Any easy fruit or veg? Any that can be grown in pots?

Thirdly, herbs. Best in a pot or in the ground? I've heard that mint can swamp other herb plants, is that right?

And finally, anything that can put next door's cats off pooing in our garden? I don't want to harm them or anything, but are there any plants that are off putting to them?

I don't mind these plans not coming to fruition for a couple of years if that's what it takes so plants that take a little while to establish fully would be fine. But some immediate results would be lovely!

Thanks so much!

bookbook Wed 23-Mar-16 10:13:23

I will see if I can help a bit
Firstly , how big/what shape is your garden, and is there anything in it already eg trees/shrubs that you need to take into account?
I will assume that if you have had a gardener in, all the basic preparation is done , digging over/weeding/ adding compost/manure etc?
If thats the case, then you need to do a bit of browsing on the internet, pin things you like the look and feel of - so, a colour theme, structured, a bit messy/cottagey and look into other peoples gardens as you go past, or visit some ( I love doing that- nosey me!)
Vegetables - yes, lots can be grown, in pots and hanging baskets - or even if you have room, fruit trees or shrubs are lovely and productive.
Herbs - most can go in the ground - sage/rosemary/thyme, but mint really needs to be in a pot ( even if you sink it into the ground) as it is a thug.
Cats in gardens - mmmm - if you ever find anything that truly helps, I would love to know! I have tried most things, but they love a bit of empty soil sad
Let us know, and we can pile in and suggest !

Lexipedia Wed 23-Mar-16 13:56:46

Thanks for replying. Why didn't I think of Pinterest? Stupid! I'll have a browse.

Garden is quite long and narrow, so the planting space is down one side (the west side I think.) Theres also a small bed on the opposite side. It gets very sunny, but there are shaded areas. We've already got a rhododendron of some kind, and a rose bush. There's also a helibore (sp?) and a few other green bushes which I couldn't tell you the names of. I like the idea of colourful and busy looking, if that makes sense, nothing too neat and tidy. Nothing to easily wrecked by children, and maybe things that they could water or prune without killing. I know I like tulips, but unsure of what else.

The gardeners assure me that basic soil prep is done, and it's ready for plants. I have a feeling I may be too late to plant some things this year as a bit of what I've read recommends sowing most seeds and planting bulbs before March.

MadSprocker Wed 23-Mar-16 14:03:49

If you have a long narrow garden you can do clever things with borders and shrubs to make it look less long and narrow. You can buy daffs and other bulb plants in pots and plant out now, but bulbs on their own need planting in the Autumn. Peas are great to grow later in the year, and I love wandering in the garden and picking a fresh pod. Perennial geraniums are great, easy to grown plants, and you can get a variety of colours.

MadSprocker Wed 23-Mar-16 14:06:34


MadSprocker Wed 23-Mar-16 14:07:20

This garden design.

toomuchtooold Wed 23-Mar-16 18:00:00

I like the idea of colourful and busy looking, if that makes sense, nothing too neat and tidy

Cottage garden style is what that is smile.

You're not too late at all! OK you've missed the time for bare root shrubs and spring bulbs, but summer bulbs/tubers can still go in, most annual flowers and veggies and stuff are probably sow now or the next month or so, and there are tons and tons of plants coming into the garden centres now.

For fruit, I really like autumn-fruiting raspberries - they fruit on the same year's growth so if you planted them in the next few weeks you'd get rasps by the end of summer.

Other than that I'm also a newbie so I'll be watching the thread with interest! I'm doing a herb border too any minute now once I stop being distracted by crazy sheet mulching projects and painting the garage wall Majorelle blue

bookbook Wed 23-Mar-16 21:26:45

There is loads to do now - this is prime planting season, when the soil is warming up!
I bet somewhere, there are even still daffodils in pots to buy which you could use to add a bit of colour for immediate effect, and plant later after flowering
Depending on budget, you could buy seeds for flowering this year, or plug plants are cheap .
It sounds as if you have some bare bones, so also be patient and see what they do during the year.,

Lexipedia Thu 24-Mar-16 11:00:50

Madsprocker - I like that sketch. At the moment the garden is fairly straight, but I like the curve.

Toomuch - cottage garden is what I shall look up.

Bookbook - thanks for the ideas. I think I'll go to a garden centre sometime this weekend and look at a few things.

MadSprocker Thu 24-Mar-16 12:21:50

Another trick later in the year is to buy plants in pots and stick them in gaps (still in the pot) in the garden. I often do this with dahlias later in the season. My mum and cousin are fab gardeners, and both have long gardens, and the illusion really works of making the garden seem wider. I have the opposite, a wide square garden with too many weeds

MadSprocker Thu 24-Mar-16 12:22:27

Be careful not to put in certain plants before the frosts stop.

indecisivedoctor Thu 24-Mar-16 14:22:23

Mad sprocker- this may be a daft question but how do you know when the last frost has passed?

MadSprocker Thu 24-Mar-16 14:47:33

You have to keep a close eye on the weather forecast. May onwards is a good gauge, but still keep an eye out as a late frost can take everyone by surprise. I wouldn't plant out sweetpeas yet, but our local garden centre has them for sale - I would put money on them covering them with fleece at night though. If gardeners world is on, they usually have a forecast at the end of the programme. You can use cold frames, fleece and cloches to protect plants, so they get daytime warmth, but are protected at night. Hope this helps! I'm no expert, but do love gardening.

MadSprocker Thu 24-Mar-16 14:49:09

Of course it depends where in the country you are. I am in the East of England, so we can have sudden sharp late frosts. If you are in the south west, you would probably have slightly higher temperatures, but wetter weather.

bookbook Thu 24-Mar-16 14:52:32

Good website for helping with frosts and a calendar for when to do things is here
Put your nearest town in, and it will personalise the info

indecisivedoctor Thu 24-Mar-16 15:01:51

Thanks Mad and Sprock. I'm in the SE. Very basic here, just looking to plant out geraniums in trough by back door.

That said, I've not even seen them in my garden centre yet.

Will try that website.

MadSprocker Thu 24-Mar-16 17:31:57

Yes, thanks for the link. I really need to get started on weeding and prep for this year, just waiting for a warmer day.

bookbook Thu 24-Mar-16 17:44:03

website is good, but I have just realised it's for fruit /veg and trees blush -
I use it a lot for my allotment!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now