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New Gardener out of my depth!

Discussion in 'NEW Gardeners !' started by KTSJ, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. KTSJ

    KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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    Hi there, I need some help!

    We bought a new house last year and for the first time I had a massive garden! which my dogs love. you could tell that at somepoint it had been the previous owners pride and joy, however over the last couple of years it had started to get ontop of them.

    So when we moved in it was quite overgrown and I've tried my best however I'm somewhat out of my depth. I've never had to do much in the way of gardening before and I honestly have no clue what i'm doing.

    I think I have just about got on-top of the weeds and I've managed to plant some new plants in the gaps but I have a few niggling problems.

    firstly the plants are abit of a jumble, I was aiming for 'cottage garden' with mostly perennials to complment the existing roses and peony's however I've just created 'chaos' the colour scheme in the back is mostly 'pastels' which I've stuck with but it isn't looking very cohesive. I did try and buy bulk lots of plants because I thought that would be less chaotic but i'm not sure it works.

    Secondly I have a patch of crocasmia which I love because they are so pretty but the flaming orange doesn't seem to go with the pastels. Also it seems to be really struggling, I think it's the dry weather but a lot of it is brown and unsightly but lots of it is lying flat against the floor.

    Any tips on making it all look more cohesive and help my crocasmia.

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    • KTSJ

      KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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      20180730_100013430_iOS.jpg

      Full length picky
       
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      • Verdun

        Verdun Passionate gardener

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        Morning KTSJ :)

        Well, it is exciting to have a new garden:). And you have some nice plants there.

        Take your time and determine what plants you like there; clearing the weeds is a good first step.

        The crocosmia! You can dig it up and divide it and move it maybe to where it won't clash with your pastels. The brown bits are the dying flowers and you can snip them off, thus tidying it. When you cut the old flowers cut the whole stem back to the ground. I would move it in September. (Personally, I like the colour orange and if planted with a blue flowering plant looks great I think)

        Many do, but I don't, buy bulk plants.....you get what others have decided you need not what you really want. Remember you can move plants around in the autumn, winter and very early spring so you can try and try again with plants in their right places. Better to decide what plants you really like and go for those....quality every time over quantity. Besides, as I said, you can divide perennials to make a lot more of them over 2 to 3 years.

        Not just colour but shape and form of plants is important.....some spikey, some mounding, some tall, some short, some foliage colour ...so maybe make a bit of a plan !!?

        The lawn! The hot dry weather has taken its toll on it, as with most of us, but soon you can get it into shape. Since it is so imposing there, it would be good to improve it. Dont cut it too short...raise the mower blades and the grass looks better. In September it will green up anyway so you could trim sides at the same time.

        Always good to do a PH test too to see what sort of soil you have, acid or alkaline, as it determines what you can and cannot grow. This is a very cheap, quick test but an important one.

        Mainly though, I suggest you take your time. Build your garden slowly with good plants you really like....maybe add a couple of shrubs for structure

        It would be good to see how you get on.....I'm sure we can help you along the way :)
         
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        • KTSJ

          KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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          I do think I need a real plan, but I just don't know where to start :/ I thought I had a plan and now I have a patchwork mess!

          Where I did buy 10 or more of a certain plant I have scattered them all over, i'm wondering if 'clumps' of the same plant would have worked better? When could I move them as a lot are flowering now I guess I need to wait for them to finish?


          Also I love poppy's but the do seem to go all scraggly and messy as do the roses everything drops it's petals everywhere and it all looks a big mess even when there really aren't very many weeds.
           
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          • Verdun

            Verdun Passionate gardener

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            You will be suprised how quickly plants bulk up so wasteful to buy in multiples I think. For example, buying plants now means you can divide them of them, pot them up and have say 3 of them next year and at full size.

            Perennials will recover even in summer if you move them and WATER them well; when they have finished flowering, yes, but you don't need to wait until they have finished flowering either unless you want to enjoy the flowers a little longer.

            Poppies are lovely.....when they flower; after that they are untidy, messy almost ugly things and they take up a lot of space so, are they really what you want in your garden? There are some superb plants available now so maybe read up on them or check them out in the garden centres or see pictures of them on the forum.:)

            KTSJ, A lovely flowering plant for now through autumn is an aster called Frikartii Monch. Plant one (or two) now and you will give your garden a splash of colour for several weeks. It's a start to give you encouragement perhaps!
             
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            • Gail_68

              Gail_68 Guest

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              Hello @KTSJ :sign0016: to GC and nice to have you with us and your in marvellous hands with Verdun :)

              Looking at your pictures and thank you for adding them as it helps members to help you:thumbsup:...if it was me weeds would be cleared out totally, then any plants that needed trimming with any dead flowers or leaves for example would be removed and then come the autumn or spring plants would be moved about...I usually move plants in late September which I will be doing with some this year.

              I would suggest getting a few old boxes when altering them around just to place them in and do what Verdun mentioned to me when I purchased Grasses stand back before planting to see if they look right first, as it will help the eye more regarding colour scheme and when replanting I do suggest adding compost to the ground and plant to help them regenerate.

              Regarding your lawn at the moment we've had so much heat a lot of members have lost the plush look, so I suggest watering it if your able to when the suns not about;)
               
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              • Jack Sparrow

                Jack Sparrow Total Gardener

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                Hi @KTSJ I started serious gardening last year. I bought most of my plants in the autumn at a reduced price. I then cut them in half and repotted them. I now have 2 of everything.

                20180730_151012.jpg
                These geum totally tangerines came from one of last year's castoffs.


                I'm not really fond of multi packs either. You often get more variation than you would ideally like. Recently I bought a 6 pack of coleus. They were all very pretty but I would rather have had 6 of the same. Next year I will try to do it properly.

                You seem to have a good clump of crocosmia at the back. The clumps at the front look superfluous to me. You could have something smaller and prettier there. Each individual stalk grows separately so they are very easy to remove.

                My aster Tonga is on the verge of breaking out, as the Achillea another member generously sent me.
                20180730_150806.jpg

                For good all season grow anywhere plants, my heuchera and my hardy geranium are doing really well.
                20180730_150905.jpg
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                Gardening is a learning curve all of us. Stick with the forum and we can all grow together, triumphs and mistakes alike.

                :snorky:

                G.
                 
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                  Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
                • longk

                  longk Total Gardener

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                  A couple of questions if I may;
                  1. Where in the country are you?
                  2. What direction does the garden face (ie was the full length piccie taken facing east, south, etc)?
                  3. The soil looks rather good and free draining - is that the case?
                  4. How long have you been there? It looks as if someone has indeed taken a lot of care over it and there may well be a lot of spring bulbs sat ther in a dormant state.
                  Don't worry too much about the Crocosmia. They're rather drier than they like by the looks of it and you'll soon be cussing them anyway as they can be a little invasive if they're happy.

                  That looks like a nice stand of Agapanthus in one of the photos :blue thumb:

                  Avoid mail order plants unless you're after something rather specific and difficult to get hold of. They are grown fast on a massive scale and have a habit of performing a little below par.

                  One final observation - in my mind a cottage garden is not really cohesive, it is more an abundance of colour that makes maximum use of the space available.
                   
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                  • KTSJ

                    KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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                    Hi there,

                    i'm up in Liverpool.

                    The garden runs North/South. I was standing at the house when I took the picture looking north where the tree is. Light wise … at this time of year the whole of the border under the tree is in Deep shade because the tree is very over powering so pretty much nothing grows there, even the grass there dies.

                    The west border (left on the picture) gets about 2-3 hours of direct morning sun, The east border (right) gets sun at the top from about 11am and it slowly comes down towards the house I would say it gets pretty direct light most of the day around noon it's baking.

                    The soil is great I did have a gardener who came to help out get it under control and he said it was good quality a lot of work went into it. There aren't really rocks, it's well fertilised or anything and it's free draining.

                    We've been in the house since last March, we didn't do too much to the garden last year I wanted to 'watch' and see what it did haha.

                    Soooo in Spring we have, big purple globe allium at on the west border at the top and on the east border at the bottom basically in front of the agapanthus. We also have a small pathetic stand alone bunch of tulips at the bottom of the west border and a few under the tree which come out when the tree is bare. The alliums are great, very pretty but they get abit lost in the massive borders, almost everything planted in them is herbaceous so its all still hiding when the alliums come out and there isn't enough to really make an impact. (I've added a spring photo)

                    Yup we have 3 big Agapanthus (we did have 4 but one didn't survive the very cold winter :( )
                     

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                    • KTSJ

                      KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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                      Spring

                      20170320_145747665_iOS.jpg

                      I've spent the day today, clearing all the paths they had started to get abit unsightly, they get loads of weeds growing up though the cracks it's really annoying.

                      Heres a shot from the bottom looking up towards the house

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                        Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
                      • Verdun

                        Verdun Passionate gardener

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                        a lavendar hedge by the path near the house would create wonderful scent, billowing blue flowers and movement there in summer.....for the rest of the year aromatic evergreen foliage clipped neatly would give form and definition.
                        Great garden potential there KTSJ :)
                         
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                        • longk

                          longk Total Gardener

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                          So not the coldest part of the world then.

                          I personally would remove some of the lower branches and pop a bench or a table and chairs under there.
                          Planting wise, snowdrops and crocuses, maybe wood anenomes and bluebells too.

                          Fuchsia, preferably the less showy species such as Fuchsia magellanica..............
                          [​IMG]Fuchsia magellanica by longk48, on Flickr

                          F.magellanica 'David'...............
                          [​IMG]Fuchsia "David" by longk48, on Flickr

                          F.magellanica 'Hawkshead'............
                          [​IMG]Fuchsia by longk48, on Flickr

                          [​IMG]Fuchsia "Hawkshead" by longk48, on Flickr

                          You could train 'Lady Boothby' up against the wall...............
                          [​IMG]Fuchsia 'Lady Boothby' by longk48, on Flickr

                          Tricyrtis are good for shady spots. Stick to the easily found species and cultivars;
                          Tricyrtis formosana.............
                          [​IMG]Tricyrtis formosana by longk48, on Flickr

                          Tricyrtis formosana 'Dark Beauty'..............
                          [​IMG]Tricyrtis formosana 'Dark Beauty' by longk48, on Flickr

                          Tricyrtis 'Tojen'.............
                          [​IMG]Tricyrtis 'Tojen' by longk48, on Flickr

                          Tricyrtis "Taiwan Adbane"............
                          [​IMG]Tricyrtis "Taiwan Adbane" by longk48, on Flickr

                          Good old Digitalis (Foxgloves), Aconitum, Dicentra, Polygonatum, Uvularia, ferns etc.

                          I'll come to the other side in a while.
                           
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                          • Gail_68

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                            Hello KTSJ up the top in front of your window as the space looks big enough by the pic you've added...you could make that alone in to a small decking area from your back door on to it...i'm adding your picture with a drawing off it regarding a decking area with Rope handles would be nice...excuse the rough lines ;)

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                          • Mike Allen

                            Mike Allen Gardener

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                            Welcome KTSJ. As our friends have said. Gardening is something of a learning curve. Gardening grows on you and in return, you become part of the garden. It is so therapeutic also. I think that many folk see a well established gardens, like those with historic buildings etc. Those never ending herbacious borders. They don't happen over night.
                            So back to the pics of your garden. You mentioned the weeds growing through the cracks in the paths. Fill the cracks in is one suggestion but, if the weeds are of a perennial nature, they will find a way through, chemical treatment is an alternative. Fast and simple is using a burner. Check out Ebay. You can buy a lance to which you fix a small butane gas can. Results very good.
                            Back to the great borders. Usually many plants of the same species are set down in groups. As time passes the clumps can be split up, thus providing you with more plants. Plants can be swapped with other gardeners. Plants such as your hardy geraniums. Don't be afraid to peg some of the runners down. During hot summers like we have at present. Many such plants endup with the centers being burned up. You have already a reserve stock, which can be severed and potted up if you like. My dear friend Verdun, is a very knowledgeable chap, he mentioned about the poppies, I take it he was talking about the Oriental Poppies. After flowering let them rest for a week or so, then you can cut back the now flattened leaf stems by half. Soon they vanish.

                            You have some very strong clumps of crocosmia. I prefer to lift these say every fourth year. no need to completely seperate the bulbs, simply cut out and sad looking ones and split into bunches the remainder and replant. To keep them and similar spreading lax plants. Gather up some thin twigs. Insert them into the soil as supports, much neater than using bamboo canes, let some of the foliage spill over. These twiggy bits are also useful with growing peas.
                             
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                            • KTSJ

                              KTSJ Apprentice Gardener

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                              Thanks for the ideas all, I think I’m going to try and rearrange some of the plants, some didn’t really turn out the way I thought the would and even though many are still young and growing I can start to see how they will look fully grown. Where as before I was looking at pictures and trying to guess

                              I had originally thought that by spreading my multiple of each plant across the garden I’d unify the theme, instead what I got was a mishmash. I’ll try and group up the plants into small groups so I get bigger impact and you can really see the interesting characters, I don’t want it looking too formal but at the same time I don’t want it just looking uncempt and crazy.

                              Thanks for the advice on the crocasmia I’ll wait till it finish’s flowering and lift and divide the lot, I do love it, so I’ll rehome some to the front garden and plant abit back in the existing place, any recommendations on a good companion? I’d like to break the colour up a little but don’t really know what plant would flower at the same time and can hold its own against the fiery orange?
                               
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