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advice please for ignoramus gardener

(9 Posts)
saadia Wed 04-May-05 15:46:16

We have just had the garden tidied up, lawn mown, weeding etc. I know absolutely nothing about gardens. There is a flower bed going down one side of the garden, and on the patio at the front of the garden. I am very keen to plant flowers and veg if possible but have no idea where to begin. The soil doesn't appear to be of very good quality. Could someone please guide me as to how to go about it or does anyone know any good websites/books for absolute beginner gardeners?

otto Wed 04-May-05 15:53:14

crocus.co.uk has some go advice on planting as does the bbc website.

tiddlypom Wed 04-May-05 16:18:18

There's lots of info on the RHS website - you don't have to be a member to read the basics on the site
here .

saadia Wed 04-May-05 16:23:16

Thanks for that otto and tiddlypom - will look into those.

spod Wed 04-May-05 22:30:15

buy ready veg... garden centres are selling young plants of veg now... so you dont have to do from seed. Do runner beans from seed though cos they're so easy..... and sunflowers.... really cant go wrong, all instructions are on the packets. If you think your soil is poor, get some multipurpose or John Innes compost and dig into the soil, this will improove things... enjoy!

hatsoff Wed 04-May-05 22:55:46

when i first started i bought a fantastic book called the first time gardener by pattie barron. it's fantastic and is still my bible. it explains real basics - eg what does perrenial mean, what is a tuber. and has really excellent guides on how to do all the basic tasks eg looking after the lawn, pruning. it's honestly all you'll need

saadia Wed 04-May-05 23:28:38

Aha, more good advice. I always think sunflowers look great, so dramatic, and I would imagine ds will love them. The book sounds like exactly what I need - thanks guys.

spod Thu 05-May-05 22:11:24

kids will love sunflowers... my dd is only 18 months and she has had a glorious time helping me plant thousnads of seeds.... when we cover them up she waves and says 'bye bye seeds'.!!!

hub2dee Tue 10-May-05 00:05:44

Hi saadia, typical advice would be 'ammend the soil' - add grit to improve drainage, if this is an issue. Add well-rotted compost / manure to improve nutrients, add lime to break down clay (if applicable) etc.

In terms of planting, the pros would typically suggest you firstly conside the aspect of the bed, how much shade / sun it gets, and begin by considering structural elements to provide backbone to the planting.... this can be big (trees) medium (shrubs) or small (individual plant specimens)... then fill with stuff which compliments or contrasts in colour / form / season of interest. Aim for repetition and simplicity rather than stuffling 200 different species in, but above all do it for you and have fun.

Attemtp to consider what might suit the style of the house too.

Watch Gardener's World on Friday nights, and consider visiting some of the Royal Horticultural Soceity's flower shows (like Chelse / Hampton Court, but there are shows all over the UK) for inspiration.

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