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Why does my bed look rubbish?!

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I created this bed under a cedar tree earlier this year and it looked ok. All plants were researched and recommended on here. It looks messy and unkept now. I pulled the weeds out the  today after I took the photo. I'm new to gardening and garden design. What can I do to make it look like a pretty bed and not an unkept bed of weeds?!image

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,568

    Weed it!  Water it.  Feed it.  Soil looks a bit poor and parched between plants.   Then be patient.

    Water it in dry spells as the new plants will still be trying to get their roots down and are competing with that tree for water and nutrients.   Mulch with well rotted compost and/or manure in autumn after some serious rain and when the herbaceous perennials have died down.

    Give a generous feed of blood, fish and bone next spring, water well.  The cedar is always going to leech moisture and nutrients so you have to keep the soil in good nick and water in dry spells or the plants will always struggle to thrive.  I believe we did mention that the soil would be poor...........

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129

    As already said Liz - new plants need regular watering till established - and the location of those will mean regular watering for longer than  most plants. 

    Annual spring feeding, watering and a layer of mulch after watering will be the regime long term. Weeds need removed - same as in any part of the garden. They'll thrive where less tough, desirable plants don't, so you have to keep on top of that till your 'wanted' plants get the upper hand. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Liz WarnerLiz Warner Posts: 199

    Morning all. Thank you so much for replying. You're right-I was advised that the soil is poor and I'd struggle but I'm stubborn! I will mulch and feed as recommended and I do water regularly. The shrubs at the back were bought small so I think I need to be patient and let them grow before I'm too mean about them. In the bed is lupin, skimmia, sweet box, azaelea, geraniums. 

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,543

    Photo taken of a bed under the partial shade of a beech tree in July 2015

    I think we can agree this looks rubbish

    image

    Same view this July, having watered, mulched and weeded in between times. Still not exactly a prize winner but definitely looking better. It takes a little time.

    image

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
  • TopbirdTopbird Posts: 6,974

    I have a large woodland border with several mature trees. Looks good from autumn to spring - but it's pretty rubbish at this time of year because the soil is poor & the ground is really dry (too large an area to water regularly).

    Two plants which really earn their keep just now are geranium nodosum and the silver leafed lamium maculatums.They only seem to fade a little when the soil is really parched and it's very hot but they soon perk up with a drop of rain.

    Otherwise - water & mulch as aboveimage

    Last edited: 06 August 2017 09:25:51

    Heaven is ... sitting in the garden with a G&T and a cat while watching the sun go down
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,632

    I think you are being too harsh on yourself. The way you have planted will have been text book style planting with spacings, so in reality, it's about being patient. With so many programmes including Gardeners' World, squeezing plants here and there, you forget that they spread with time and they grow tall with time.

    It's true, planting under trees limits some plants, but then again, isn't that with gardening in general? It's usually through trial and error, listening to a bit of advice here and there, trying new things yourself, and most of all, trying to create your own style but working with plants you think would thrive in that area.

  • Liz WarnerLiz Warner Posts: 199

    Wow raisengirl- that's really interesting to see the before and after. Maybe I'm not watering enough then. And I definitely mulch in the autumn. Any particular kind of mulch?

  • Liz WarnerLiz Warner Posts: 199

    Thanks borderline. Sometimes I'm too impatient!

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 27,568

    Well rotted garden compost and/or farmyard manure.  If you don't have those, you can buy bags of manure in good diy stores or find a local riding school.   Cheap multi purpose compost will also do but you should then add some bonemeal for autumn mulching and blood, fish and bone for spring.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 5,543

    My local garden centre sells a rotted manure/compost blend that works really well. My soil is heavy clay so I also use grit as a mulch in some places and also bark chips. Nothing exceptional, in other words. image

    I mulch in Spring, as a rule, but that's because it's clay (to let the frost get at the soil over winter).

    Last edited: 06 August 2017 11:32:42

    “Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels, it finds the darkness has always got there first” 
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