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Raised Bed planting advice

(9 Posts)
MooMooKerchu Fri 24-Feb-17 19:25:06

I have two raised beds in the garden. Last year they looked pretty but not quite there and, at times, a little sparce. The bulbs I planted weren't too successful last year.

Now I have some leaves poking through which I thought were bulbs but I'm now convinced are actually weeds since I located the same leaf in the grass and despite my digging I cannot find the bulb to which these leaves belong. So I suspect weed.

I'd love a riot of colour in the raised beds but I have no idea where to start. Can anyone help/suggest what to do/plant. I'm a bit stuck to be honest and I'd so love a beautiful garden.

Thanks in advance

traviata Sat 25-Feb-17 21:28:11

Can you say something about the location - south facing, north facing?

How much sun does the garden get? Are you looking for something low maintenance or are you willing to do watering, weeding, staking etc?

Is there anything already in place - ie any shrubs or structure?

When you say a riot of colour, are you after a shaggy naturalistic kind of style which can look untamed, or do you prefer a more formal, organised kind of look?

traviata Sat 25-Feb-17 21:29:58

Sarah Raven has a website full of fantastic plant combinations and dreamy pictures...definitely a riot of colour there.

MooMooKerchu Sat 25-Feb-17 22:02:19

It's a nearly south facing garden which gets a good amount of sun as no buildings close enough to the garden other than our own house. Happy to water, weed etc no problem at all, in face I enjoy popping out into the garden in the warm evenings, mooching about watering all the flowers and the beds so happy to continue!!

There is nothing really in the beds at the moment. One is completely empty other than bulbs hiding under the surface (no idea what bulbs they are). so they'll just flower throughout the year.

The other bed has some bulbs in it too, some aquilegias and a red grass in the centre. I think I'd like loads of colour but not particularly structured. I think I like structure but in reality it's not easy to get both beds looking the same, so perhaps something a bit more natural and free would be better.

There's a clay like soil on the very bottom of the bed, but it's been topped up with composts and top soil so is a mixture of it all really.

Although happy for the bulbs to pop through as and when, it is essentially a bed of soil at the moment and I'd like some more instant colour.

Shall check that site out, thanks!!

shovetheholly Sun 26-Feb-17 07:38:47

To be honest, with those conditions you can probably grow just about anything except bog and shade plants!! The world is your oyster.

I make a list of the months of the year and a colour scheme. Then I plan a combination that looks good for each month. Sometimes, in a small space, the same plant can look good in more than one month- so a real doer of a tree might give you winter bark plus blossom plus autumn colours. Think about structure- evergreen plants can be useful for providing this (if space is at a premium, topiary).

Things that flower for a long time are useful: hardy geraniums, for instance.

shovetheholly Sun 26-Feb-17 07:42:05

(oh, and by structure, I don't mean neatness. I mean something that is present all year round that gives a basic sense of coherence. One of the hardest things in gardening is to achieve effortless unstructuredness without collapsing into incoherent messiness. I guess that's why places like Sissinghurst are so legendary).

JT05 Sun 26-Feb-17 08:10:02

I agree, go for some all year round planting that you can add to with summer flowering plants. That way you won't be faced with empty beds every spring. It's a bit like looking at an empty page at the start of an exam!
With a bit of structure you can fill in with annuals that can be directly sown, such as cornflower, Californian poppy, love in a mist and candytuft. They all seed freely and come up the following year.
Cranesbill geraniums are great for achieving a soft structure and come in colours from white through to darkest purple. Also in sizes from tiny to a rambling couple of feet.

shovetheholly Mon 27-Feb-17 07:52:04

" It's a bit like looking at an empty page at the start of an exam!"

That is a BRILLIANT description! grin

MooMooKerchu Tue 28-Feb-17 21:34:22

Thank you, I've taken on board your advice and devised a plan (of sorts)


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