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Ideas and tips please!

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by kriss, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. kriss

    kriss Gardener

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    This is the first year in gardening career where I’ve grown lots of things myself from seed, tuber and plugs!

    I’m looking for tips and ideas, please don’t be afraid to be critical. I have a young family and work long hours so the garden has slipped recently! It’s normally a lot tidier!!!

    My own thoughts...

    1) The box border in the front doesn’t leave much room for planting but this area could be for newer small plants. A development area for the rest of the garden!

    2) I need a few big terracotta pots at my back door for the cosmos and blueberry plant. These are expensive tho!

    3) The hedge is ugly so need to get bushier things planted in front of it!

    4) All of my lavender plants are woody and leggy. Time for new plants I think.

    The sun rises in the morning, shining directly toward the back door. By early afternoon the sun is moving over the top of the house, and the shadow cast by the house makes it way from the back door toward the bottom where the swing is. So the side with the strawberries gets virtually no sun apart from very early and very late.
     
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    • CarolineL

      CarolineL Gardener

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      Hi @kriss - keep up the good work - your garden looks very tidy! I would suggest that instead of terracotta there are some convincing plastic ones (look around). The advantage of them is that they are definitely frost-proof, whereas some terracotta (the darker ones) react badly and split or spall. The lavender - you could take cuttings to replace them - they would grow on pretty fast if given some tlc. Problem with the hedge (privet?) is that it takes all the goodness and moisture so the plants next to it often suffer. Might be worth considering a fence instead - which leaves more room for plants...
       
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      • kriss

        kriss Gardener

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        Good idea for the pots. I’ll have a wee look!
         
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        • Selleri

          Selleri Gardener

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          Hi Kriss,
          your garden looks brilliant and very well maintained. If this is how it looks when it has "slipped a bit", I just wonder if you spend your free evenings polishing the leaves with an electric toothbrush... :biggrin:

          The formality of straight lines and dwarf box hedging mixed with relaxed planting is absolutely brilliant :) In general, square lawns can be boring but the shape works well in your setting and the Swing User will need her/ his football/ cartwheeling plot soon enough. Good thinking on maximising the space instead of going for the fashionable curvy borders.

          The tall hedge with conifers and shrubs growing in front could be a bit problematic when the plants grow. Will you be able to trim the hedge? Will the border become dry if the hedge and conifers cast rain shadow?

          Strawberries are humble plants but will produce more fruit if they get more sun. How about growing them in containers? I have a posh kind of a washing up bowl full of alpine strawberries grown from seed this year. The first fruit are now ripening, the bowl is on the table so it's easy to pick tasters and the slugs can't get them. Strawberry is a pretty, evergreen plant worth having near where you sit.

          The spot where you now have strawberries could be used for edibles which thrive in modest shade, such as chives (supercheap and easy dividing from supermarket pots), green leaves (anything from exiting lettuces to rocket), or quickly maturing root veg like baby carrots, beetroots or radishes. The Swing User will love to harvest :)

          Big terracotta containers are mindblowingly expensive, but worth the cost. If you don't have the budget right now, consider good quality plastic ones as they weather down to a pleasing shade in the sun. There are also artificial materials, google artstone for example. I'm now experimenting with a pebble look spray paint to create a succulent through from a plastic pot which is great size and shape but dead ugly.

          And finally, your lavenders look fine, trim them down after flowering and they'll be fine. The legginess is probably just because they are not in full sun.

          Your garden is lovely, be proud and enjoy it Kriss! :)
           
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          • Mike Allen

            Mike Allen Gardener

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            Hi Kriss. My compliments to you for having such a tidy garden. Hey that's some Hosta you have, in my garden that would certainly attract the slugs and snails and provide a hearty feast for them. I really like the front wall and ironwork. Your use of shrubs and small trees I like. Sadly I find that shrubs were for some time avoided, thankfully they are now gaining favour. Personally I can't find any problems with yours. OK shrubs, due to their nature and growth, do tend to drain the soil but NOT to any great problem. If I may. Ligustrum-Privet is an evergreen and can be fast or slow growing. For the average garden, it roots actually take up very little space. They dont, until very old and left to grow on as trees, the roots are reasonably shallow and compact. The conifers you have selected are slow growers and of the ornamental class, so no real problems there. The conifers tend to put down deep water searching roots, that is one reason for not planting conifers such as leylandii close to buildings. Although going deep, the moisture is witdrawn from the surrounding soil and the soil collapses also the building foundations.

            A watering tip for shrubs. The natural process is for the roots to search downwards. Thankfully some councils have realised a need here. They have inserted a length of pipe into the soil. Times like we now have. Water can be directed down into the soil. Somply imagine the roots of a shrub or tree, gasping for water. So out comes the hose or can and a drop of water hits the ground. After a while, the roots change direction and begin to turn upwards. This can be deadly for the tree/shrub, soon the roots become a mass of tangles. This can become fatal to the plant. Actually in fact. Trees and shrubs can sometimes do without our help.They can shut down before the autumn.

            Sorry to have rambled on but, as Tesco say. Every little helps. Enjoy your garden.
             
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            • kriss

              kriss Gardener

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              That’s for the advice and nice comments.

              The front gardens borders were becoming tightly packed so I moved some things to the back and plants up some of my echinaceas which are starting to flower. I also swapped some of the mature nigella perisian jewel plants for smaller ones too.

              He box hedging should have been further out from the bay window doe but I’ll just make that area for new, smaller plants.

              I like the idea of edibles in the area where the strawberries are. I could get sleepers and create a raised bed. I could move the strawberries to the back area where the slabs and staggered.

              No hose pipe ban in Scotland so that straw like grass has improved in a few days!
               
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              • Gail_68

                Gail_68 Plant a little love, watch a miracle grow.

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                Well Selleri who better to add a comment like this [​IMG]
                Hello Kriss...I was going to mention your grass it's in very healthy condition to say what the heat and weather as been like...your garden looks nice mate :love30:
                 
              • silu

                silu gardening easy...hmmm

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                I think your front garden looks really nice and yes so tidy full marks! I'm not so sure about the Lavender responding if you go into old wood. Lavender in my experience needs to be pruned regularly and once it is allowed to get a bit leggy it is difficult to get it to respond. It all depends on how leggy it is in reality. It also isn't always the best in Scotland unless you have a summer like this 1!
                Re your back garden. Again very nice but my only slight personal reservation is I'm not very keen on straight lines and the shrub beds look a little regimental but again that is my personal view. I would perhaps think about changing the shape of the lawn to a more say oval 1. You can get an idea of different options by laying hose down and seeing if you like various shapes. Wow you must have been watering a lot. I too live in Scotland and know exactly how incredibly dry it is. My grass is NOT green and with the hedge behind your shrubs sucking up water you must have been watering 24/7 almost.
                 
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                • WeeTam

                  WeeTam Total Gardener

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                  Nice place and plants too but if you fancy a change i would look into cutting waves into the straight edges in the lawn . A curved path to the top of the garden.
                  Shady spot = treefern, sunny spot a nice blue palm.

                  Have u got a dog? Noticed the brown patches in the grass, urine burns?
                   
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                  • Mike Allen

                    Mike Allen Gardener

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                    Hi Silu & Kriss. Returning to Kriss's garden, both front and back certainly are a credit. I also am not one for straight lines and regimentation. I had enough of that supervising in the parks dept. Beds surrounded by lush lawns. The beds containing a variety of summer bedding plants and edged with straight rows of ageratum, bellis, alyssum and lobelia. However in those days what had become something of a tradition was difficult to change and even today much of the same old styles prevail.
                    However Kriss's garden is not some gigantic park/garden. Noticing he childs swing, it shouts out as being a family garden. From the excellent photos the dimensions are not that generous, so to provide a lawn where the child/children can play has to take center spot. Access provided by pathways, really don't allow for much shaping other than straight. So what's left. To hide fences etc, surroundong borders for plants and shrubs. Not all that much space. Perhaps a bit of a gap here and there amongst the conifers etc, and the interplanting of some seasonal subjects.
                    Please. I am not being critical in any way, just offering a few tips.
                    Yes what I am about to say, can be carried out in a small garden, but to make it effective, most plantings etc need to be dwarfed. As I say. No disrespects at all. Judging the garden I would gladly give 10/10. A bit of mystery and imagination in a garden can create wonders. So, straight lines....OUT. A curve here and there is good but, you need to direct the eye to another spot. This might call for say some ornamental gardene feature being placed in your line of sight. Make your brain ask. Hey I wonder where this goes to or, what's this tiny plant tucked away here. Sorry I am going on and on again. Kriss, great garden well done. Hope some of what Iv'e said makes sense.
                     
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                    • kriss

                      kriss Gardener

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                      Great advice.

                      The straw grass areas was the paddling pool water that burned the grass. No pets here!

                      I’m not a fan of the straight lines per se, but I did it because I like the formal lines in the front garden that match the bay window etc. In the back garden I went straight with the lawn because my wife wanted it big for our daughter.

                      I don’t like the hedge because it’s green (obviously!) and that means a lot of plants don’t pop or stand out against it.

                      I wanted to curve the lawn but my wife wasn’t keen
                       
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                      • kriss

                        kriss Gardener

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                        02C8A92B-26C4-4079-A026-E80591C554CB.jpegB8BB8529-C19C-4D1E-B7D2-172C454B1392.jpeg2ECBF32D-415A-471A-86C7-1093AF447A1D.jpeg These photos show how the garden curves off to the side of the house, it’s not square, nor perpindicular to the house.

                        My plan was a little expensive. I wanted to introduce box along the edges of the grass to form contained planting areas like the front. I then wanted to thin out some of the types of plants and instead have a little more repetition to give an architectural look. So I could have 3 conifers and perhaps a couple more acers up each side. Between them could be the annuals like cosmos and nigella, and perennials like echinacea which I like.

                        I just don’t like the pallet of colours in the back garden.
                         
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                        • zilly

                          zilly Gardener

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                          Hi Kriss, concur with other comments. Love the front garden especially the front wall.

                          I agree shaping the lawn would look really nice.

                          The one thing I'd do is grow something up the back white wall.
                           
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                          • Verdun

                            Verdun Passionate gardener

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                            Straight lines can be fine and often appropriate kriss....e.g. alongside a path or where formality is preferred or where curves would not be practical.:) Putting in a curve where not suitable can look odd. A border can have a straight edge, alongside the drive for example, but have broad sweeping contours on the other side.

                            Curves where possible though and I use plenty of them but they can be overdone and look pretentious.......gentle, sweeping curves as opposed to sharp turns for the sake of them. A lawn edge that curves gently is easier to mow than one with sharp turns......I find rehearsing with a mower helps to get the feel of a natural and practical curve

                            Dont overlook the effect plants can have.....Planting can emphasize shapes....single verticals then a group of 3 or so mounded plants to create contrast for example

                            However, experiment; move things around until you get the look you want.

                            It's about fun though.....enjoy the process kriss:)
                             
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                              Last edited: Jul 28, 2018

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