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Help me Obi Wan, you're my only hope!

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by Pineapple, Jun 11, 2018.

  1. Pineapple

    Pineapple Apprentice Gardener

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    First Post, so hi!

    I'm renting and I think I've taken on a little more than I can handle with the gardens. The other two are slightly more under control, but this part is just dire. I think I need to dig it all up and start again.

    What would you do if this mess was yours? Bear in mind I'm renting and don't want to spend hundreds!

    The patio. I can't get the slabs relaid so my plan for this is to kill the grass and weeds growing through, then clean with a pressure washer. Any tips on stopping the weeds coming back without getting a new patio?

    The borders. There's a handful of nice plants there, I think I want to add some flowering hedgerow type plants, low maintenence and big and bushy so less room for weeds. As you can see my garden gets a fair bit of sunshine on a nice day, with one side stay g in shade pretty much the whole time. I'm thinking Holly for the shaded side, we have a lot of birds that eat berries.

    Paint the delapidated fence a nice bright shade and add a little picket fence or log border roll. I know those rot after a few years but I'm renting, so that's more my budget.

    I have a dog and the garden attracts a lot of bees and birds even in this state, so I need to consider the safety and environments of the wildlife and dog too. I've never had a garden before, I'm not really sure what to do! I started by pulling up two wheelie bins worth of goose grass!

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    • Clare G

      Clare G Gardener

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      Well done on making a start!

      Patio: I use a patio knife (which has a cornered blade) to hoick out weeds from between the stones. If you don't mind using chemicals a systemic weedkiller like Roundup is also a possibility. Should be safe enough if you don't let your dog onto it before it dries - but obviously, read the label. Once you've done your cleanup I would also get a bag or so of kiln-dried sand and brush it into the cracks to fill them up a bit. You can get it from the builder's merchant - specify kiln-dried, because it binds together better. The weeds will still tend to come back but it will be much easier to keep them under control with the patio knife/ occasional use of Roundup.

      You've got some nice wild-life friendly plants there already, like the ivy. I'd say tidy up a bit at this stage but leave the creatures some cover while you think about what plants you want. Autumn will be a cheaper time to put in any shrubs and trees because you can get bare-rooted specimens. Do some research into which would work for you - hollies for instance are lovely but some can grow very large.... look at ground cover plants too, there are lots of ones which like shade....

      Meanwhile maybe some bird feeders, a bird bath (raised so that your dear dog doesnt think it is a drinking bowl!) and some pots with some jolly geraniums etc would be a quick way of cheering things up for the summer!
       
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      • redstar

        redstar Total Gardener

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        Your renting. to save money, are there return paint colors at the hardware store for the fence.

        what kind of bees?

        natural weed killer is
        Natural Weed Killer
        • 1 gallon white vinegar
        • 1 cup salt
        • 1 tablespoon liquid dish soap
        Combine ingredients in a spray bottle and treat weeds at the sunniest time of day for best results.
         
      • 2nd_bassoon

        2nd_bassoon Gardener

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        Welcome, @Pineapple!

        I'm in the same position as you in that I'm in a rented flat, so am loathe to spend much money on anything "permenant". When we first moved in the garden was an overgrown mess; I've worked it into a nice, useable space, but I have cut corners that I might not have done if we owned the property. Gumtree and similar (have a look and see if you have an active local Nextdoor.co.uk group, ours has been very fruitful) are excellent - in the last 18 months I've picked up a power washer, compost bin, small shed, bench, lawn turf, and multiple containers/pots, either for free or very cheap.

        Depending on how long you want your border edging to be, you might find repurposed scaffolding boards a cheaper and sturdier alternative to the log rolls. I got a bunch from the local wood reclamation yard, I think I paid about £12 per full length board (2.5m), and painted them up with Cuprinol garden shades when it was in the Wilko sale. I'll try and remember to take a photo of them tomorrow.

        The main thing I would add to your space though is lots of pots, of all shapes and sizes. The patio is big enough that you could get some really nice large containers on there and plant them up with all sorts, with the added bonus that you can take them with you when you move on. I've got an ever-growing collection that have followed me from house to house over the last few years, including a lemon tree, a herb planter, and a pretty respectable veg garden.

        Keep us posted with how you get on :)
         

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        • redstar

          redstar Total Gardener

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