Seriously! Where do I start?

 I felt blessed that when my fiance and I moved in to our new house that our adopted new garden was beaming with energy. It was clear to see that the previous owner was a keen gardener and must have felt devasted to leave it behind, but as I am keen to keep it tamed and maintained I am a little against it as my fiancé would much prefer a 'printed concrete' option. I made a promise to her that I would have it under control and looking beautiful before next summer but to be honest... I haven't a clue! Nor where to start.

i know it is getting to pruning time (recently started to watch gardeners world) but am sure what to prune and what not. I can guess I need to read up on things but don't know what to read!

please can some help with some pointers.




  • Lily PillyLily Pilly Posts: 3,008

    Hi Craig green 83

    how about taking some photos and uploading them so we can seem more and be constructive in advice?  It sounds exciting

    Weeds are flowers, too, once you get to know them.”
    A A Milne
  • Hi Craig,

    How exciting image your fiance sounds like my other half and  we have agreed that the garden stays my domain and he will just benefit from its beauty.

    We moved this time last year so this year for me has been very much about finding out what is in the garden and learning about new plants so I can start thinking about how I want things to take shape from the base I already have.  

    I think a garden is always a work in progress as it will always be evolving but for me it is fun. 

     To help me learn, I've joined here and read, read magazines and also watch a whole range of gardening programs both new and old. You tube is a great place to find old shows and videos.

    Ask people too, you may be surprised who else is also interested in the gardening thing.

    Also don't  be afraid to do things a little different, I have a retaining wall bed at the front of my lawn which became my vegatable bed  it was companion planted with marigolds and snap dragons (because I forgot what seeds I'd put down!) but the veg was lovely and it looked nice too.

    As Lily says put some pics up and let people know about which way the garden faces, your soil type and the advice will come.

    I  now love catching my partner making comments about the garden being so nice to others.


    Miss KK

    Last edited: 07 October 2017 08:00:08

  • LynLyn Posts: 8,072

    I would just try to get the grass cut one more time for the winter then wait until it starts growing again next Spring.

    there are a lot of plants that flower early, if you prune now you won’t get any flowers.

    maybe take some photos for ID. 

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • WoodsiWoodsi Posts: 9

    How exciting! I would advise against pulling anything up for a year- you need to see what's there already. I so nearly ignored this advice when I moved in and have since found two stunning plant I had never come across before but that I would likely have pulled up when they looked dull in the dead of winter! However, if there's anything you know you want in the garden that u can't see, winter is the time to buy in bareroot which is cheaper an easier than buying 'n the green', so by all means add a favourite Rose etc :)

    in the meantime, try to get some IDs- the RHS does a good guide to rose ID that recently helped me decide on pruning, as I have no idea what it is! You can upload things here for help too. i think most things want pruning when they're dormant so no rush there!

    As for hedges and patches of large, out-of-control shrubs, in my experience they don't tend to suffer with being pruned back quite hard if they're well established- as mentioned above they may flower less next year but if they're overgrown its got to happen at some point or they'll never be back under control!

    I'm a complete amateur too, so this isn't necessarily the worlds best advice, but it's what I've found works for me over the last couple of years!

    J x

  • WoodsiWoodsi Posts: 9

    Oh, and the other thing you can be doing now (if you hurry) is plant bulbs for next spring. A bit of spring colour is a great way to get the garden off to a good start and get in your fiancé's good graces! 

    Is she really, really against it, or would giving her some ownership of it help? Just thinking a rose for Xmas, or you could plant things like sweet peas which you can pick and bring into the house for her? That way she might appreciate it a bit more?

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,692

    I'd agree with Lyn, Craig. If you don't know what you have, you can't prune it or do anything else to it!

    Get some photos on here, and you'll get help with IDing everything. Then wait till late winter/spring to see what's coming through - there could be all sorts of nice things in there. If you start digging - you could destroy lots of bulbs and perennials. It's easily done when you get in there with a spade image

    In the meantime, read books and magazines, and enjoy some gardening programmes etc.  image

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 683
    Woodsi says:

    Oh, and the other thing you can be doing now (if you hurry) is plant bulbs for next spring. A bit of spring colour is a great way to get the garden off to a good start and get in your fiancé's good graces! 

    Is she really, really against it, or would giving her some ownership of it help? Just thinking a rose for Xmas, or you could plant things like sweet peas which you can pick and bring into the house for her? That way she might appreciate it a bit more?

    See original post

     I wouldn't plant bulbs - as the garden has been well cultivated, it's probably full of them already, and you'll only damage them if you start digging planting holes.  Spend a cosy winter with those books, mags, catalogues and TV shows.  And just a gentle hint:. 'er indoors may be more sympathetic to the garden if you make sure anything that needs doing to the house gets sorted first.  Also point out to her that many a woman would give her eye teeth for her man to have a hobby that kept him at home.

  • Wow!!!

    i didnt expect such a prompt and thorough response. Thank you in advance to all who is helping, I know the more I get involved the more I will learn and will get there in the end. 

    It seems the common trend to get things ‘ID’ed’ so I have taken some picks of the garden this evening. I have tried to do a picture of the whole plant/shrub but then followed by a close up of its leaves, I have also tried to label each photo with corresponding numbers/letters to try and ease the feedback. I also have whole garden pictures from summer which may help?






  • 6aimage6bimage





  • 11aimage11bimage





  • 16aimage16bimage



  • General garden picture:


  • Summer garden pics:imageimageimageimage

  • I can make a stab at a few craig - on a broad level - but there will be some much more knowledgeable folks along soon I'm sure with specific ID's....and corrections where needed lol!

    1 Geranium

    2 Laurel(?)

    3 Fuschia

    4 Camellia

    5 Geranium

    6 Hydrangea

    7 pass

    8 Geranium

    9 Camellia

    10 Acer / Japanese Maple

    11 Hydrangea

    12 pass

    13 Wysteria (?)

    14 pass

    15 pass

    16 Hosta

  • My ideas - 1a, b Geraniums, 2b 3a ?Magnolia, 4a Hardy fuschia, 5b Geranium, 6a, b Hydranga, 7b dont know main one but primula/primrose in there, 8a b geranium, 10a b Acer Palmatum. Some of the flowers above. I would just tidy it up then leave to the spring and see what comes up. 

    Last edited: 09 October 2017 19:19:40

  • following on 14b Climbing hydrangea?, 15b Sage?, 18a hosta, strawberrys, sedum, 18b sedum, 13a looks like helleborus. Its a lovely garden.

  • PerkiPerki Posts: 1,092

    Carrying on from Dave and Summergarden.

    2 - magnolia

    7 - Its in my head somewhere it just not coming to me image

    12 - Lonicera variegated 

    13- Wisteria - hellbore planted below. Wisteria on the drain pipe as well.

    14 - Hydrangea petiolaris ( climbing hydrangea )

    15 - not sure

  • Kitty 2Kitty 2 ManchesterPosts: 3,443

    Hi Craig image.  What a lovely well stocked garden you've inherited.  I agree with the comments above to wait and see what comes up. The previous owners were obviously keen gardeners, and you may have some hidden treasures appear in the spring ?.  Taking photos will help you keep track of what you've got, and get ID's of your plants. The RHS website has good care and pruning guides to get you started on the basics.

    I'll have a crack at the ID's, sorry for any repeats (I'm too lazy to keep scrolling up and down).

    1: hardy geranium

    2: magnolia

    3: fuschia

    4: camellia

    5: hardy geranium

    6: hydrangea

    7: cyclamen

    8: hardy geranium

    9: camellia

    10: acer palmatum dissectum

    11: hydrangea

    12: lonicera nitida (variegated)

    13: wisteria

    14: climbing hydrangea

    15: sage?

    16: Hosta

    17: Hosta

    18: sedum

  • Dilly3Dilly3 Posts: 81

    What a beautiful garden you have, that looks like it has been planted up by a real gardener. 

    If it was my garden I wouldn't change a thing as it looks well thought out. I bet in the spring and summer it will burst into colour and you will want to spend all your time out there, I would.

    Now you know most of the plant names just read up about them and you will get to know how to look after them. 

    You have what many people spend a lifetime trying to achieve . 

  • Allotment BoyAllotment Boy North London Posts: 900

    I agree beautiful well stocked garden. I am sure more will come up in spring & even next summer. As for pruning with woody shrubs the best advice is to do the 3 D's. i.e. remove anything dead, diseased or damaged, eg branches rubbing where they cross. Dead ones will look different & if not sure gently scrape a little bark off the stem if there is green underneath it's alive so leave it. Even if that is all you do for a while it will help. GW magazine has lots of pruning advice. The herbaceous plants that will die down (like the hosta) you can take all the top off & it will re-emerge in spring. You will have a great time learning.

    AB Still learning
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