Marigold
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:50 pm

New Home First Garden!!!!

Hello

I've just moved into a new house and I am now proud owner of a tiny piece of land which I am insistent on calling a garden. Ok maybe I'm being a bit of a show off calling it a garden as it only measures approx 3 metres by 1 metre!!!

Despite the size I am determined to bring it to life in some way shape or form. I am a novice yet very keen gardener and would love some suggestions as what to do with this patch. Its at the front of the house and is edged by beautiful privet hedge about 1 metre high. What is suited to be wedged between a hedge and a house, and more importantly what will look good?

At present it just has gravel but this really isn't pleasing on the eye.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Hi Marigold,

Congratulations on your new home!! The first place to start is knowing where you live. Looking at the way you spell metres, I'm thinking you live in the UK, but you could be in Canada. Then we can find your plant hardiness zone so we will know what will survive your winters.

The next thing that will be important to know is the sun conditions.
Full sun is 6 hours or more
Part sun is 4 to 6 hours
Part shade is 2 to 4 hours of sun
Shade is 2 hours or less of sun.

You will most likely have to remove the gravel and add some organic material to the soil. Compost is great for that as it improves drainage, adds good microbes to the soil and improves the tilth (texture). You can purchase it by the bag for such a small area and you will probably need 3 bags. Here's a compost calculator. I would suggest mixing in 2" to 3", with 3" better.
https://www.cedar-grove.com/calculator.asp

If you are wanting flowers or small shrubs it would be important to know. I'm thinking that the bed is only 1 metre deep so you will probably only be able to use dwarf shrubs or just one plant deep. Since it's in the front of the house we will need to pick something that blooms for a long time. Most perennials only bloom for 1 to 3 weeks, but some will rebloom or keep blooming longer. Consider the color of your house and house trim when selecting flower or leaf colors.

Let us know these things and we'll help you to select plant material.

Newt

Marigold
Newly Registered
Posts: 2
Joined: Sun Nov 19, 2006 9:50 pm

Thankyou!!!

Crikey! I didn't think people would read my posts so to get a reply with the offer of help is overwhelming!!

Firstly your detective skills are excellent I am indeed located in the UK. Due to the hedge I would say there is approx 2 - 4hrs of sun each day.

I have no desires for a particular colour, however I do plan to paint my front door in a sage green and the small garden sits below a rather large bay window. Climbing up the wall beside the bay window is I think a winter jasmine. This was left by the previous ownersand is in a large pot.

I've checked out my neighbours gardens, most have paved over this small area so little inspiration has been gained. However one neighbour has a huge exotic looking plant as the focus with lots of grasses surrounding. Although I like the look of this I don't think this is within keeping with my hedge whatever I plant I want to compliment the hedge.

Thanks again

Newt
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1868
Joined: Wed May 26, 2004 2:44 am
Location: Maryland zone 7

Marigold, you are so very welcome! You gave me a giggle when you said "Crikey!" I never knew how to spell it. :D

I'm really glad you mentioned the winter jasmine. This is what it looks like just to make sure we're talking about the same plant.
https://www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/430.shtml

I'm thinking the privet is all green, the house is white, the front door sage green and the winter jasmine is yellow. With those colors you could add almost any color for contrast or to blend. Darker colors will recede and light colors will show better from a distance and in shady conditions. Therefore, yellows, white or light pinks would look good from the street and in the shade.

By the way, with the bed being 1 meter deep you could probably make it 2 plants deep. It would depend on what you select and the mature size they become.

If you want flowers you could use hostas and another flowering plant in front of or behind them, depending on the mature size of the hostas you choose. You could even make the entire bed hostas, but they aren't evergreen so you won't have anything to look at in winter. Hostas come in many different size plants, many different sized leaves and many color combinations. Some are variegated with either white, cream or yellow. There are tiny ones that can be enjoyed close up and large ones that can be a backdrop for other plants. They do bloom, but many people don't like the tall flower spikes and cut them off. With only 2 to 4 hours of sun there won't be too many plants to choose from with a long bloom time, but here's some ideas.

If you want to just look at lots of plants with a particular name you can click on 'Image's at google. It's best to use the botanical name if you have it as there are often many plants with the same common name. Here's lots of hostas and hosta combos to look at.

There are everblooming and reblooming daylilies and they come in different colors and heights. The more sun they get the more they will bloom. The Appster series are nice. We planted a slightly fragrant light yellow everbloomer called 'Big Time Happy' in my daughter's front garden. Just deadhead the spent blooms and cut down the spent flower stalks. Not much needed to keep them going. They bloom from the end of May until hard frost in my daughter's garden now that they've matured.

https://www.perennials.com/hea.html

Another favorite of mine that we used in my daughter's front garden is a hardy geranium - Geranium 'Rozanne' that also blooms from May until hard frost. It's the longest blooming hardy geranium and was discovered in the UK. It can take part sun. In the second picture you can see it spilling onto a walk so plan carefully as it does get full in just a year.
https://www.plantdelights.com/Catalog/Current/Detail/05111.html

[img]https://static.flickr.com/4/4634538_b62fc493c4_m.jpg[/img]

[img]https://www.vasteplant.be/pictures/geraniumRozanne-Nbrief.jpg[/img]

Heuchera (coral bells) is a wonderful US native plant and now comes in an array of leaf colors that will boggle your mind! You can have all kinds of color combos and the hummingbirds like the flowers. You will also see Heucherella at the Terranova site. It's a cross between two US natives - Heuchera (coral bells) and Tiarella (foam flower). It's sterile and doesn't produce seeds and doesn't do well in less then pampered conditions. So don't even bother with them.

Another fun US native is Tiarella - foam flower. Lots of neat leaves on these too.

Bleeding heart in pink or white. My old fashioned ones bloom for a long time in a moist spot and form a lovely clump. In a dry spot they go dormant mid summer. They look nice with larger leaved hostas. There is a new smaller one called fern-leaf bleeding heart. The entire plant is smaller and blooms on and off all summer.

https://www.mrgrow.com/plant/may.htm

Hakonechloa looks great at the front of a bed. It's a grass, but so graceful and lovely. It comes in different shades of variegation and looks great with solid green hostas, purple leaved plants or large ferns behind it. It would need to be on the outer edge of the bed so it can drape over.

Epimedium might be evergreen where you live and comes in several colors of flowers and leaf shapes.

Berginia is a lovely evergreen groundcover that isn't invasive and has large shiny dark green leaves. It comes in white or pink flowers. I think there is a red one now too. I have the pink. It will tolerate dry shade once established.

Another plant that is evergreen and has a long bloom time in shade is Helleborus niger aka Christmas rose or Lenten rose. The flowers tend to nod and face down because they are often in bloom when there is snow and come in many different colors now. They were originally only in cream and green. They bloom for me in zone 7 from March to June. You are probably in zone 8 or 9.

Whatever you decide to plant I would suggest you only use 2 or 3 different plants so the area isn't too busy. Consider the leaf colors and shapes as well as he flower colors for those that don't have a long period of bloom. Leaves come in so many colors and shapes that they add dimension to the planting.

Next fall you could add spring bulbs and extend the bloom season. They will come up before the perennials. As the leaves die down, the emerging perennials will cover the the leaves from the bulbs. Take a look at the 'Bulb's section of that RHS site I gave you for ideas.

Don't hesitate to ask more questions. Let me know if you think you might like dwarf shrubs instead of perennials.

Newt

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