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How do you learn to garden? HELP ME

(29 Posts)
Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Jan-14 17:17:51

I have a blank canvas on the back garden & shrubs/ young trees out the front. I don't like the shrubs the builder put in or the trees so they need to go.

How do you know what to do? I'm worried I'll spend money and it will all be for nothing because they won't thrive sad

thejoysofboys Thu 30-Jan-14 17:27:56

Our local garden centre has a really good reputation and they run a garden planning service where they can advise what types of shrubs would work in your garden (soil type/ light & shade/ height/ size/maintenance, etc). Maybe there's somewhere near you that would do the same?

I tend to get stuff for my garden from my Mum/other family's gardens (cuttings or unwanted plants) which makes it less painful if you lose them. It also means I get the free advice on how to care for them too!

I have the Alan Titchmarsh book called "the gardening year" which tells you when to do which tasks (so you don't end up pruning in the growing season etc) and the rest I look up on google or make up as I go along.

My mum still dispairs at my gardening skills (but she's practically an expert!) but I manage OK really smile If you don't try you never learn IMO.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Jan-14 17:48:21

I have an Alan titchmarsh book, plus readers digest plant encyclopedia.

Our nursery is trade and sells teeny plants.

I have 30cm topsoil, do I need to add manure to it? Can I pull up my hated shrubs yet?

LaurieFairyCake Thu 30-Jan-14 17:54:15

Why do you hate them? Any chance you haven't seen them come to fruition yet or flower properly?

If they're quite good quality trees/shrubs you could flog them on EBay/gumtree and they would dig them up.

Then you'd have spare cash for plants you might want smile

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Jan-14 17:59:40

You know that wide spreading evergreen shrub supermarkets put around the car parks? The one that has small leaves? It's that one.

So it looks like a car park border sad

The others are bare twigs, I have a suspicion one might be a dogwood.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Thu 30-Jan-14 18:12:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Thu 30-Jan-14 18:13:45

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Jan-14 18:20:06

Hello grin

goandshowdaddy Thu 30-Jan-14 18:34:44

I'm interested in this too. We've just moved into a new house with a lovely garden (front and back). It's got loads of lovely bedding plants and some nice little mini bush/trees (sorry, just not a gardener so no idea what they are!) in the front. There's also some stuff growing round the window on the wall with red/orange berries (not ivy) which looks nice but I need to know how to control it.

We never kept on top of our old garden but as this one is so nice to begin with I want to keep it nice. Sorry to hijack Fluffy!

So do you reckon I get an Alan T book?

Ohhelpohnoitsa Thu 30-Jan-14 18:36:16

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ohhelpohnoitsa Thu 30-Jan-14 18:38:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 18:49:11

listen to this, twice a week and back issues.

watch this and go through all the show gardens

and then this

get some squared paper,

draw out the garden, as it is, from above,

take photos of all the areas,

then make a drawing outlining the area side and bird's eye, of each of the spaces, photocopy this, then get out your colouring pencils, draw shapes, shade spaces, until you find something pleasing to the eye,

Now go for a walk, take a compass, walk around all the neighbourhood,

look at other people gardens, anything you like that is growing in gardens, take a photo of it, and note the direction the garden is facing, note if it is shaded, or open,

each space in the garden needs at least plant that gives structure, a plant that gives ground cover, a plant that give foliage and a plant that gives colour each month of the year, and white as white sets off everything,

so that walk you go on, do it at least every three weeks, and you will start to notice what grows well in your area,

Go to all the local National trust gardens, and local parks.

when you do your drawings don't try to draw specific plants, shade vague spaces, when you have what a blurry vision of your space would look like, you can then find plants to fit your scheme,

there are so many gardening forums, they all love to help anyone starting out.

try to plant things that have edible parts, either for humans or for birds, stick to natives where possible, so native bluebells, rather than breed,

don't worry about making mistakes, that is half the fun,

you will get fit,

another standard design practice is to take the eye around so if you plant a group of bulbs in one area you then plant a group of the same in the next space, so if you are looking at the garden your eye is taken round.

plant in odd numbers, 1,3,5,7 it works better.

I promise you it takes very little to get from where you are, to accomplished, just jump in.

Oh and study compost making it is the key to the whole thing, you will end up loving it, and think of it as a work of art.

make habitat/homes for all critters, that way you will create a balance quickly and problems won't be big.

never spray with nasty chemicals, or use non organics, it's a good way to waste money, and you will never quite get the balance right, and it's far harder work,

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 18:51:56

I agree get a basic gardening year book from Oxfam. Percy Thrower predated Alan Titchmarsh and is good. The RHS website is very useful.

The key to plants surviving is to plant them at the right time (usually spring or autumn) and in a big enough hole with lots of compost. Most beginners dig too small a hole. Also it is good to choose plants for your type of soil (ie clay or chalk????) and sunny or shady as it is no use planting a plant which likes sun in the shade as it simply won't flower very well.

Other than that the world is your oyster, and you can choose your colour scheme, your style, your period etc. I like borrowing books from the garden section in the library.

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 18:57:13

Heavily scented rambling and climbing roses, with jasmine and honeysuckle makes a great back drop for any garden.

I'm sorry I forgot scent, go mad on scent, every area each season should have scent, and each area night and day scent.

go mad on scent, it is that that keeps you in the garden late into the night, I can't get people out of my garden in the summer, it more intoxicating than the wine.

and plant food, lots of it. herbs everywhere.

and start with a pimms bed, I find anyone starting with a pimms bed, tends to get totally hooked,

and a few nine by nine posts to support hammocks and swing chairs, helps you relax.

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 18:57:49


funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 19:15:48

What is a Pimms bed?
I agree about scent and herbs. What plants do you like best in your garden for scent quoteunquote??

goandshowdaddy Thu 30-Jan-14 21:05:28

Wow, this is all great. I'm glad I joined this thread! Thank you smile

Turvytopsy Thu 30-Jan-14 21:06:15

I use it has loads of different forums and there are some really helpful people on there and so much information! It's an American site but there is a uk section but people around the world use it. I love the garden junk forum on there but then I am slightly odd smile

Turvytopsy Thu 30-Jan-14 21:07:22

Way too many buts in that post sorry blush

Quoteunquote Thu 30-Jan-14 21:07:31

What is a Pimms bed?

Apples, cucumber, oranges, lemons, strawberries, borage, mint, herbs, raspberries, ginger anything you may want to add to a glass, while swinging in a hammock.

funnyperson Thu 30-Jan-14 21:27:21

Can you seriously grow apples and oranges and ginger in the same bed?

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Jan-14 21:42:38

You can grow ginger in the uk? shock

I did not know that.

Ouroboros Thu 30-Jan-14 21:53:57

This thread is great, am hopefully moving to a house with a great big untidy garden in a couple of months. I'd love to have a cottage style garden but have zero gardening skills. I have lots of books though!

Quoteunquote Fri 31-Jan-14 10:10:04

instead of lime try 'Calamondin Orange' - x Citro-fortunella mitts works well it's a cross.

The Nagami Kumquat (Fortunella margarita)

Valancia orange, Meyer lemon in a pot just bring in for the coldest bit of the winter,

just keep it warm and use a very sunny spot, which is where your pimms garden needs to be anyway as that is where the hammocks are.

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 31-Jan-14 10:58:41

I definitely feel calmer about it now. I really want a David Austin rose tree too.

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