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How to plan a flower bed?

(22 Posts)
Summersalmostgone Thu 21-Jul-16 10:51:45

I have a 30ft long 2.5ft wide flowerbed that is completely empty and needs filling.

It's south facing but against a 6ft tall fence.

I'm thinking that I would like some climbers at the back to cover the fence and provide some privacy. The top 2 ft of the fence is trellis so neighbours can see through.

I'm thinking of planting roses, lilac of some sort, some shrubs and maybe some herbs. I'm even wondering if any small fruit trees might work?

I'm a complete novice though so have no idea how to plan this project. What should I plant where etc?

This is the only area I have for plants so I'd like to fill it as much as I can.

Any advice gratefully received!

Kwirrell Fri 22-Jul-16 07:55:29

I would begin with fixing strong wires all along the fence, so,that you can train your plants and trees along them. Fruit trees are a great idea. Look on line for advice for ones that are easy to Espalier. RhS website provides excellent advice about which varieties are good cropped and easy to train.

You can get very cheap second hand books on gardening at charity shops and, if you still have one the library.

Best time to plant a new garden is in the autumn so this will give you some time to plan.

Summersalmostgone Fri 22-Jul-16 09:54:40


Can I also ask what's the best climber to provide fast coverage? Right now the fence is totally bare and unfortunately our neighbours patio doors look right out at us. It's a bit disconcerting so I'd like to plant something that grows fast and will cover at least once fence panel to obscure their view.

I realise that anything I plant this year will not give any privacy this year but am hoping a fast grower will be well established in time for next summer?

Kwirrell Fri 22-Jul-16 11:27:24

The big problem with fast growers is that they are a lot of work. I have Russian Vine for privacy, but I do have to keep on top of it. Just be warned, it is a devil to get rid of if you don't like it. I would plant some trees to give you privacy. Maybe a dwarf Robinia, or some flowering cherry. Pyracantha are great because they are evergreen, and you can usually buy them when they are already 5 feet tall. I live cheek by jowl too so I have lots. Good garden centres will advise you.

For permanent coverage, not madly rampant and year round interest I would plant Summer Jasmine, and honeysuckle. I have a lovely variegated summer Jasmine, but I have never been able to find another one.

I foolishly planted an open work fence, once, so until the the plant were established I bought some close weave nylon netting. If it is your own fence and trellis you could pin that to it.

Pretty shrubs that grow tall but are easy to maintain are forsythia, philadelphus, weigela and euonymus. Also Boston Ivy (very rampant) or Virginia creeper, ( less so) will weave in an out of the trellis easily and give lovely autumn colour.
The David Austen website is great for advice on Roses. Veilchenblau grows really quickly as does Lutea Banksii. Although the Lutea might take 2 years before you get any flowers.

Can I ask what part of the country you are in.

Summersalmostgone Sat 23-Jul-16 22:11:17

I'm in London.
So far I've planted Honeysuckle, Jasmine and a Clematis to climb the fence. Then a Hebe, Euonymus, Lemon Cypress ( tiny at the moment) and something I've forgotten the name of.

I'd quite like some sort of Lilac and maybe a rose bush. I still have a lot of space to fill but need to leave space for growth.

Kwirrell Sun 24-Jul-16 07:45:19

Great photo. Looks like you have made a great start. I am in East London, so it's great that we don't have to deal with extensive frosts. With this good weather, I think your plants will romp away.

As the bed is narrow and close to the path, a bush rose might very quickly overhang with the risk of catching yourself on the thorns. If you do go for the bush rose, try and choose a thornless . Maybe climbing or rambling rose would be better. I have a thornless one called Anne

Kwirrell Sun 24-Jul-16 07:54:56

Early I. The morning so rather overdid the 'great' there. Also the Rose is called Princess Anne.

wiltingfast Sun 24-Jul-16 07:55:51

I have tried to grow a lilac and it has done v poorly. I must have it now 7y and it is still behaving like a small clumpy bush. Not impressed. I know my mother also planted one and again it has been difficulties grow.

Plus you only get the lilacs for c2w and it's a v dull bush the rest of the time.

Possibly I am just unlucky with it, my garden is tricky enough with clay soil and a more awkward orientation than yours.

Kwirrell Sun 24-Jul-16 08:02:27

I agree with lilac has been in 3 years and not flowered. I too wondered if it does not like London Clay, or if it one of those plants that needs 10 years before it will flower.

My garden is tiny but by need for privacy borders on obsessional

Kwirrell Sun 24-Jul-16 08:05:10

The best thing in my garden at present, is my neighbours hibiscus. He is obsessively private too, so we suit each other well

Summersalmostgone Sun 24-Jul-16 08:27:43

Thanks for the tip re the Roses. I think a climber might be the way to go - as you can see from the pic I need the privacy!

Tinklypoo Sun 24-Jul-16 08:50:23

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Lostmyunicorn Sun 24-Jul-16 09:43:07

Another sulky London lilac here. If you're thinking of a rambling rose what about one of the bee friendly ones? They tend to like the ones with the more open simpler flower structures, so the bees can get right in. 'Seagull' is scented, vigorous and good for bees.

Summersalmostgone Mon 25-Jul-16 08:58:00

I've added a hydrangea, a celosia, 2 kalanchoe's and a few small potted herbs. i picked them all up at the supermarket so I don't know how well they will do.

I have a big camellia in a pot that was left in the garden from a previous owner. It hasn't flowered this year and some of the leaves are yellowing. I'm wondering whether planting it out would help it or totally kill it off? I read they like shade and I can't really offer it that.

Summersalmostgone Mon 25-Jul-16 08:59:40

Good idea about the bee friendly roses, before we had the garden redone we had a lot of honeybees

brodchengretchen Mon 25-Jul-16 09:12:07

Rather than suggest a specific planting, with this project my general approach would be to identify your framework/main player structural plants (shrubs, evergreens and hardy plants with a strong outline), perennials with underplanting (such as bulbs) and annuals/bedding in forward positions or climbing at the rear of the border to your taste and to give variety.

I'm a real admirer of 'partner planting', a google search should suggest some great ideas to suit your soil, aspect and demands on the use of the space. Good luck, I'm sure it will be fun.

Lostmyunicorn Mon 25-Jul-16 09:13:35

I have a camellia in a really big pot. It often gets a few yellowish leaves in summer but it doesn't seem to affect the flowers or the glossy foliage the following spring. Maybe give it some acid feed just to help it along and see what it does in the spring. Also they really don't like hard water so if you can, give it rain water. And if you don't have any shade it will need plenty of water.

Ferguson Mon 25-Jul-16 20:21:18

All lovely and neat and tidy in the photo - did you create the path, edging and border yourselves?

But, I think the plants would appreciate having more space, and being at the front of the border, rather than so close to the fence, which might prevent rain getting to the bed. If you ever get the opportunity to move them nearer to the front (other than the climbers, which obviously need the support) before they get too big, I think it would be worth considering.

Summersalmostgone Mon 25-Jul-16 22:08:19

No we had the whole garden dug over and redone hence having to start planting from scratch. I didn't realise that about planting things further forward. I thought I needed to leave space for them to grow forwards.

Kwirrell Tue 26-Jul-16 07:11:37

That is a good point from Ferfusom. Also it is very dry close to the fence, so while the plants are establishing, they will need a lot of water.

Camellia is problably hungry and maybe a bit pot bound. In the spring try scraping out some of the top soil In the pot and topping it up with ericaceous compost. Then give it a feed of Sequestered Iron.

Ditsy4 Tue 26-Jul-16 20:29:45

Buddhleia grow quickly but might get too big. I have planted several clematis and perennial sweet peas on the new fence between our neighbours. Kerria and an ornamental cherry with burgandy leaves. This grew bigger than I expected and has given us lots of privacy in the summer along with BlackKnight buddhleia on the other fence with a Mock Orange for scent. Have a look in. The library for books on climbers.
I bought some of the clematis from cheap shops like the Range and they have flourished when years ago I bought several expensive ones that died.

Ditsy4 Tue 26-Jul-16 20:34:48

Kwirrell and Tinklypoo
Lovely gardens.
Yes, good advice about planting.

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