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New garden from scratch - HELP!

(26 Posts)
ATouchOfStuffing Tue 11-Dec-12 16:19:47

I am possibly the least green fingered person I know. So, from that standpoint, plants need to be minimal maintenance...

I am planning my new garden and have been asked by the architect to plot on the plan EVERY plant I intend to have! Please help me!

I was hoping to have a bit of colour all year around and have made a list from RHS on russet/red bushes and foliage for Autumn/Winter but am really a bit clueless as to what goes well with what.

I love lavender and intend to have some near the porch, so that the scent hits as you get to the door. I like the silvery foliage as well.

I like white flowers and would like a pergola in the back garden over a seating area. My mum suggested hop for this when she was alive (much keener gardener than myself but not sure they flower?). I like snowdrops and bluebells too for Spring flowers.

So really I would love a garden with colour all year around; blues and whites with the odd red rose in Summer, reds and yellows in autumn and reds/whites in Winter. Is this possible?

House is east facing, if that makes any difference and soil is very good.

Thank you in advance. Will scan in the plans if you think you can help!

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Sat 15-Dec-12 21:16:25

That sounds doable. How big is the garden and how much time will you be able to give to gardening?

ATouchOfStuffing Sun 16-Dec-12 12:37:00

Thank you for responding! I really don't garden at all apart from dead heading obvious things...I would probably need to get someone in a couple of times a month. Am awaiting the plans for the garden from Architect as he is going to send them to me so I can plot where everything goes, hard to tell how big it will be with the house on the plot as well, but I am guessing about 20 meters long by 25 wide at the back and about 15 meters wide (giving room for 10 meter driveway) and 8 meters deep at the front. Hope that makes sense!

ATouchOfStuffing Sun 16-Dec-12 12:38:18

Sorry, meant 5 meter driveway - DD distracting me!

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Sun 16-Dec-12 17:59:58

So, what's on the list you compiled from the RHS?

ATouchOfStuffing Sun 16-Dec-12 19:16:06

Too many I think:

Feels like a lot and I haven't gone through it ruthlessly yet. Anything there you hate that you think should go? Any suggestions?
I have a very large pear tree at the rear of the garden and blackberries to the eastern fence too so hoping to keep these. Oh and a goosberry bush that needs re-locating somewhere in the middle!

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Sun 16-Dec-12 21:17:43

Nothing there that I hate, but the calluna and (I think) the pieris need acid soil - do you have that?

I wondered whether you would also like cercis canadensis Forest Pansy?

Photinia Red Robin also has (as its name suggests) red foliage.

You might want to find a few more things for ground cover, as otherwise you and your gardener are going to have a massive weed problem.

For your pergola, golden hop could look lovely, but it's very vigorous so it would best on a large pergola. You could add a white clematis - such as Marie Boisselot - or honeysuckle.

ATouchOfStuffing Mon 17-Dec-12 10:55:14

Oh thank you! I do like the Red Robin! I think the pergola will be quite large anyway so the Golden Hop would probably work well. I am not keen in wasps (is anyone?) and was wondering if you think there is any difference between wisteria and clematis for attracting them? Someone told me last year wisteria can attract them? I had mentioned having it over the porch...
When you say ground cover, do you mean lower/shorter plants? I am wondering about some silvery rockery type plants but can't seem to find them just now when I looked! Wild strawberries spread well, would that work?

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Mon 17-Dec-12 17:03:33

I've never heard of wisteria attracting wasps. Wisteria is lovely but can soon outgrow its supports and needs careful and precise pruning to ensure it flowers. If you can cater for that, it should look delightful over the porch.

Yes, ground cover are low-growing plants which, well, cover the soil. Without them, the soil underneath shrubs can look rather naked and fall victim to weed infestation. Silver rockery plants will be great as long as they have enough sun (most rockery plants come from mountain scree and so like sun) and good drainage. Geraniums are good ground cover. Wild strawberries are fabulous (I have them) as they spread into all the nooks and crannies and look good all year round.

You might also want to think about having more bulbs apart from lily in the valley, snowdrops and bluebells.

ATouchOfStuffing Mon 17-Dec-12 20:15:20

Yes, I have wild strawbs in my current garden and love them, just checking that is what you meant smile.

This geranium looks nice, thanks for advising them
So things like that will grow around bulbs? Was thinking bulbs would be worse for weeds as would need light directly? I do like tulips and daffs too so will look into those.

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Mon 17-Dec-12 23:43:45

Most bulbs are pretty robust and as long as you don't stab them with the digging fork should be fine!

Have you looked at hellebores? They are lovely in January and thereabouts.

fossil97 Mon 17-Dec-12 23:45:40

Have you thought of climbers? I am not very green fingered but have success with clematis and roses.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Mon 17-Dec-12 23:48:44

Photinia does not like frosty spells, and will die.

I am surprised that you architect told you to plot the plants.
What does the landscaper say? Where is your hard landscaping? My garden designer said she would not even suggest plants until we had seen the hard landscaping. Paths, patios, terrace for entertaining, etc. Your shed. North of south facing?

You need to consider whether your soil is acid or not, where the sun shines etc. Pieris prefers shade. Lavender full sun.

If you have some shady spots and acid, I would recommend Cammelia which is winter flowering.

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Mon 17-Dec-12 23:56:20

Photinia Red Robin is described by the RHS as hardy. It has survived deep frosts and snow in my neighbour's garden and I imagine that part of the reason for its popularity at the moment is that it's tough. I'd be surprised if it died in any mild area of the UK but that prompts another question:

Whereabouts in the UK are you, OP? If, for example, you're on the coast that might limit your options.

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Mon 17-Dec-12 23:59:36

RHS hardiness ratings here - Photinia Red Robin is rated as H4.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Tue 18-Dec-12 00:01:32

I am in London. My Photinia was 7 years old, and had been grafted on another trunk. My gardener (that did my landscaping) said it was common for grafted Photinias to die during frosty spells, especially if they were not sheltered from the wind, ie standing in the middle of the front garden. To give more detail.

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Tue 18-Dec-12 00:02:52

I should add, my neighbour had two Photinias, also in her front garden, a year older than mine, they also died the winter with the heavy snowfall. (was it two years ago?)

ISawMommyKissThorinOakenshield Tue 18-Dec-12 00:06:35

Well, we'll have to accept that our experiences and observations are different as I'm in London too (and I think my neighbours' apparently very robust photinias are grafted too, being standards).

GoldQuintessenceAndMyhrr Tue 18-Dec-12 00:26:15

How strange. We have acid soil, and our front gardens are south facing, but with little shelter from the wind. The soil is also quite lacking in Nutrients. I would love to be able to grow Photinia successfully, as I love them. The flowers, the red leaves, they are just beautiful.

fossil97 Tue 18-Dec-12 13:21:20

If you are starting from scratch, would it be worth getting a garden designer to do you a planting plan? Given this is the quiet season you might get it done for £200 or so and it would take the stress out of choosing. Obviously you can brief them up on your wishlist.

We have had our garden almost obliterated by building work this year and are gradually putting it back together. I have taken the approach of starting with climbers and the bigger shrubs/trees this autumn, and going to fill in with perennials in the Spring - spreads the cost too.

ATouchOfStuffing Tue 18-Dec-12 18:02:32

Just seen all of the posts!
I was also surprised at such an early request as we haven't even started laying foundations for the new house, but I think it is because we are in a conservation area they want to ensure we aren't planting anything that may kill of local wildlife? I don't think we need to plant them straight away, just gives them time to veto anything they don't like before we start.
I do know where I will have patio though, and the lawn at the front and back should be quite clear. Maybe it is worth getting a designer in and showing them my plants list?
Love the Red Robin and clematis is on my list I think. Anyone have ideas for low lying plants to cover the ground from needing too much weeding?
Thank you everyone!

LadyMud Mon 21-Jan-13 17:33:47

Ground cover? How about a selection of different thymes? They come in various shades of green and gold, some smelling (obviously) of thyme, but others are lemon-scented.

I hesitate to recommend Veronica Repens (Creeping Speedwell), as I planted a tiny one last summer and it's now about 75cm across . . . and growing fast shock

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 22-Jan-13 20:52:30

For ground cover, you could also look at pulmonaria, hosta (prone to slugs, though), astrantia and vinca (another one that can be invasive).

ComeIntoTheGardenMaud Tue 22-Jan-13 20:53:26

Oh and my current love, heucheras, especially the purple or lime green varieties.

LadyMud Wed 23-Jan-13 11:46:32

Yes, heucheras are wonderful, such a fantastic range of colours!

Maud, not sure whereabouts you live, but there's a specialist heuchera nursery in Cheshire, with an Open Weekend in April:

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