Please help a poor novice(15 Posts)
Hello, I've loved in a flat for years but now have a garden there are built in borders facing the kitchen window, about 6 foot long by a foot deep. I've planted a hardy fuschia and lily that I was given, but I'm looking to fill the rest, cheaply and with death proof plants! Looking for something that will be evergreen with maybe a flower / change in leaf colour as the year goes by, and something that will not need replacing every year. Ideally so.ething that won't grow really high. As my post will show I'm a complete novice (but very enthusiastic). Any tips would be eternally appreciated, thanks in advance
Nothing is death proof, but some things are more forgiving than others especially if you choose plants that like your conditions. For a sunny bed Hebe is very tolerant, lots of different coloured ones, lavender, mock orange, daphne smells Fabulous. If it's shady then camellia, hydrangea are both worth looking at. Roses of course.
In a small garden when something gets too big then rip it out and buy something new. Be brutal.
Agree with PWR about hebe. Two of my favourites are: Ersyimum Bowles Mauve - perennial wallflower that makes a bush about 3-4 feet high and flowers constantly from spring until late autumn. And penstemons - lots of penstemons! If you deadhead they flower and flower and flower. Available in many different varieties and colours.
Was going to suggest hebe and hydrangea as well. Also periwinkle is hardy, has pretty variegated leaves and lilac flowers in the warmer months. Woody, aromatic herbs like rosemary, lavender and sage are rather lovely and attract bees but need to be either contained or regularly trimmed or they'll take over eventually. Miniature bamboos could also be an option. Love the way they rustle in the wind.
I once spent months and months clearing a garden that had been overrun by periwinkle. Must have removed miles of root. I know you can get varieties that are better-behaved... but still. I personally can't bring myself to plant it!
Hardy Geraniums ( crainsbill ) are lovely plants and will grow anywhere. There are loads of varieties, large and small with flowers ranging from white, through blue to dearest purple. They are easy to look after and go well with other planting. They split easily so people you know might have some to share!
I'd also second the suggestion of Penstemons.
Oh, really? I've always had it. Perhaps I've been lucky. Mind you I'm not one for gardens that are very neat and ordered. If I were I can imagine it wouldn't be the best choice. They do need trimming.
Of course 'Cranesbill' and 'darkest'. Just a thought large leaved Sedums, have silvery foliage and red flowers in the Autumn. They are virtually indestructible! Again they are easy to split, getting more plants and have seed heads that give interest in the winter. The most common is a variety called Autumn Joy.
Yep, sedum spectabile. Oh and how could I foget? Choisya ternata - profuse and gorgeously fragrant flowers. I usually get a spring flowering and an autumn one. Gets a bit untidy and sprawling, but what the heck. Too good to miss. But not variety "Sundance" with gold leaves - mine hardly blooms.
On the 'cheaply' theme, as the summer moves to Autumn, a lot of garden centres start selling off plants cheaply, that they don't want to tend over the winter. It a great way of getting stock and saving a disgarded plant!
My go to Evergreen Hardy Perennial 'hard to kill' plants:
Libertia, Hebe, Bergenia, Rosemary, Heuchera, Tiarella, Heucherella, Epimedium, Vinca, Anemone x hydrida, Erysium, Teucrium, Francoa, Liriope, Festuca mairei, Luzula nivea, Asarum, Ajuga, Vinca, Hylomecon, Mitella, Ficaria, Rananculus, Ferns, Lavender, Phlox, Saponaria ocymoides, Evergreen Clematis, Decorative Ivys, Hardy Osteospermum, Persicaria, Geranium x oxonianum, Geranium x cantabrigiense 'Karmina' / 'Hanna' / 'St Ola', Geranium macrorrhizum 'Spessart'
or Erica (Heather) - although will need ericaceous soil
Personally I would recommend a low grow ground cover mix of Bergenia, Epimedium, Vinca, Ajuga, for no cutting/ no maintenance ground covers. You can chop Bergenia flower heads but can leave them dead for winter interest which I prefer.
Can add Heucherella and Tierella to trail over edges - both evergreen no maintenance. Can cut back in future years to make fresh growth if getting scraggly.
Buy Jacks Magic to plant it in and mulch with something to keep soil covered. Be careful with stones/ gravel depending on height if fly off in wind ect.
Wow Mumsnet, you have outdone yourselves! Thank you all so much, really appreciated
My tips would be to start with the following.
Wherabouts in the country are you? and are you inland, on the coast, surrounded by woodland, open aspect? is it windy or particularly shaded? Any information you can give to describe your plot will make a difference to recommended plants.
What aspect does your garden have? what size is it and what defining features must be kept - any fences, trees etc.
Most important, what kind of soil do you have? Clay is heavy to work, waterlogged in bad weather and rock like after direct sun, but it will hold nutrients and roses love it. Fine and sandy sand is the opposite of course.
I've started a few gardens from scratch and started with how much work I wanted to do longer term. I sketched out schemes bearing in mind height and spread of chosen plants and I shopped at local markets, WI sales and nurseries where the plants had been grown rather than garden centres - this is cheaper and it's likely the plants will thrive.
Don't forget to consider your preferred colour schemes and also the kind of planting scheme you take pleasure in. It could be hot colours with quite an architectural appearance, or it could be softer colours with a soft drifting scheme. Best thing is to work out some focal points and then spread out from there. Think about statement trees, shrubs or plants, if you want a wildlife area, a water feature, a potting shed and so on and go from there.
Take a look at some famous gardens where you can see images on line and see what most takes your fancy for inspiration.
Sissinghurst gardens can give you ideas and inspiration, the website also has a blog to follow or go to www.gardenersworld.com and www.rhs.org.uk/advice/design
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