Complete beginner with a garden for the first time(17 Posts)
Hi all, I’ve recently moved into my new house and I finally have some outside space that isn’t completely gravelled or concreted over! 🎉
My mum was never into gardening so I’ve never really learnt anything about it. I have AstroTurf and there’s only one boarder which is shaded by a large tree (or will be when spring comes)
Can you give me any advice on plants that I won’t kill instantly I’d imagine most will be in plant pots just due to the lack of soil space.
I really love lilies but I’ve heard they are difficult to keep.
Any advice for a complete beginner would be greatly appreciated.
I would start with Pinterest. ‘Gardening in Pots’ and ‘gardening in shade’. Then make a pin board of thing you like. You will soon find your style, whether it is pretty flowers, evergreens, grasses, or big bold shrubs or just a combination of many styles.
There are some really inventive pictures of odd pot collections. Lots of people who have gardens probably have pots they want to get rid of so I would ask on Freecycle or FreelyWheely.
Wilko have really good plants and pots at bargain prices. There is loads of advice on MN so ask away any questions you have. Lilies are not hard to grow. I have had more success with them in pots than in the ground . If you can afford it garden centres will have ones already
growing in pots, if you don’t want to start from scratch.
If you like grasses, check our Piet Oudolf for great ideas for shade.
You might want to try bulbs or toxins as they come back every year. Also when you are at the garden store get perennials, they also survive the winter. Annuals die off and have to be repaired/reseeded.
I live in a totally different climate, but Yay gardens!
Also, you won't kill mint, but it is very aggressive and will take over so only plant it in pots!
Bulbs are fairly easy. You just stick them in the ground and hope for the best.
It's generally best to do little, but observe your first year. You won't know what you've got until it has shown itself through spring and summer.
Best bet i to stick to pots as muh as you can, and get a feel for what else is there an how much sun you have.
I was a complete beginner this time last year. If you've only got one border, I wouldn't bother buying many books, which is what I would normally recommend for a complete beginner as they helped me loads. You could always get some out of the library. I know you want to get going quickly, but until you spend a full year looking at the garden, you won't know what might come up. I cleared some overgrown shrubs and climbers last year and found a hibiscus! I have no idea how it had survived. There are lots of shade liking plants - there was a thread about in on this board a while back and Pinterest has some good ideas.
If you want to grow lilies and they are very easy and would look lovely in pots you can now buy ones with pollen removed. It is the pollen that is deadly to cats. Or you can do as I do and grow tree lilies which are too tall for cats to get to the flower heads. I also pinch off the pollen stems as the flowers open. I have 3 cats and lilies can be grown safely as long as can keep the pollen off the cats. The main problem is if a cat gets the pollen on their fur and then cleans themselves. They end up ingesting it.
As to shade loving plants look at anything in the japonica family. fatsia joponica is a lovely plant, a lot of green interesting shaped leaves. Ferns look nice in pots in shady areas. Begonias and Busy Lizzie will be happy in shade and will make nice displays in pots’.
If you care going to grow things in pots go for large pots and use water retaining crystals in your compost as if we ever get any sun pots will need a fair amount of watering. I do mine at least once a day during summer. Always water before the sun comes up or late evening and water the soil not the plant or you will burn the leaves.
If you are doing the garden on a budget wilko sell some large plastic pots st only £6 each. I have bought these in the past and then planted them with left over silk paint. I give them an undercoat and then a top coat of silk or even gloss if I have any. I have pots in my garden that were done over 8 years ago and they are still going strong.
Hardy geraniums will be your friend. There will be a type that will grow in almost any aspect (shade, part shade, full sun).
It's really, really difficult, but watch your garden this year, as things will literally spring up over the next 9 months. Take photos as things appear and grow, to remind you next year. I take photos of my garden every year to see progress.
Look at where your garden faces, North, South, East, West.
Where in the country are you? I am in the East of England, my aunt lives in Wales, and we have to garden differently as I get a lot less rain than she does, but we tend to get later frosts.
I have attached a couple of photos from my garden, so you can see what I mean by progress. They are taken two months apart.
Oh lovely! What's the orangey flower to the upper right? That's very pretty!
It's a geum. A fab plant. I have three in that arrangement. It is evergreen, but a bit tatty over winter. It flowers over pretty much the whole summer, and can have two flushes of flowers. I planted a couple of different varieties further down the bed, and hoping they will have survived! There are supposed to be more alliums in this bed, but a lot died off the previous year to when these photos were taken (2016). This is why I take photos ever year
and to keep me going through winter
Oh I've been eyeing geums for ages. Totally having some this year!
Lily already growing in ours is really easy to find in the summer and will be about 5 pounds for a pot of 3 flowers,at Aldi, Lidl, Asda etc. I find at that price its cheaper todo that then buy bulbs which you then have to nurture for months.once the flowers are over for this year,you can keep them dry and feed them and they should keep going for years
The Royal Horticultural society has loads of info that non members can access.
Aldi seem to have some good plug plants in March time. Check them carefully- not dried out or limp looking and pot them on into those black square pots until they have grown on in potting compost. If you ask on Freegle etc people are usually happy to give them away. I have a box of them in the garage waiting for a request. The garden centres DIY sheds seem to have compost on offer at the moment.
BBC website has a gardening section.
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