Forum home Garden design

Loveliness required


Suggestions please for this side of my front garden.  The border is 39 feet long, ten feet wide at the street end, narrowing gradually to six feet beside the house.  Three years ago, it was full of rather unlovely trees and large shrubs, most of which I had cut down because I wanted to use it for veg.  I kept the beech for its noble, native loveliness, and the elder for the sake of the birds and bees.  They have spread into the vacant space and their crowns are almost touching.  Next month I plan to reduce the spread of the elder, and the tree man I used before is coming to reduce the height and spread of the beech.  I've built raised beds behind the house for the veg, so now I want to make this a flower border, with some of the more attractive looking food plants as well.

I want to keep the elder, beech, fuchsia and rain butt where they are.  Other than that, my only firm ideas are apple trees against the side wall/fence, and asparagus towards the back of the bed so I can eat the spears then enjoy the foliage.

The green boxes are there to exclude light from the multiple stumps of a palm which was cut down three years ago and refuses to die.  It keeps sprouting tufts of leaves.  I thought I might leave it be, surround it with something bushy to hide the stumps, and regard the leaves, which are quite attractive, as part of the display.  That's what I'll do if I fail to starve it into submission.

We're on the North Wales coast. I've never tested the pH but a neighbour who has says it's a little the alkaline side of neutral.  The front of the house faces west, our winters are wet and windy but we don't get extremes of temperature.  Frosts are rare, and snow never.

Please come up with some ideas I'd never have thought of.


  • raisingirlraisingirl Posts: 6,899

    sweet cicely and english mace in the shady parts, autumn raspberries, rhubarb, szechuan pepper if there's a sunnier spot along there, carolina allspice in partial shade

    “It's still magic even if you know how it's done.” 
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700

    Herbs and plants with medicinal properties is my theme. For the sunny spot, near the front of the borders, Winter Savoury, Satureja Montana would make a lovely edging plant. Pale blue flowers sit over the leaves in summer time. For the semi shaded areas, Lovage, Levisticum Officinale would add a relaxing feel with its yellow flowers. A very aromatic plant. The back of the borders if you have space, Valeriana Officinalis, the Valerian. Early summer, stong flower heads tower over. 

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Thanks, I'll look all these up.  Please keep the ideas coming.  Nothing too exotic or high maintenance.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    I decided to plant a rainbow, red flowers at the street end, orange and yellow between the trees, green and white around the beech and blues and purples by the house.  I planted two apples and a plum against the fence, all Welsh heritage varieties.  They don't fit with the colour scheme but it won't matter because the blossom will be finished by the time everything else flowers.  I've planted asparagus all along the back of the border, and lots of different varieties and colours of dahlias.  Also crocosmia, montbretia, forsythia, creeping jenny, aubretia, native bluebells, wood anemones, delphiniums, verbena bonariensis and probably several other things I can't think of just now.  Photos when it all gets going.  All I need now is some rain.  I had another go at the palm stump but it was a hopeless task so I got my tree man to chop it out.
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530

    Someone recently posted "Don't forgot to show us the results when you've asked for advice,"  so here is my newly-planted border.  Still looking very sparse, thanks to the drought, and because the new shrubs haven't had time to fill out.  The plastic bottles are protecting newly-emerged dahlias from whatever ate all three of the delphiniums I planted.  Pictures taken at midday with the sun overhead, it is south facing and gets more sun in the afternoon.

  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 14,359
    The trees are going to take out most of the moisture in that bed, and make it very difficult for anything to grow.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • FireFire Posts: 17,348
    Thanks for the update.
  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053
    Its been a difficult year for new plantings because of the lack of rain. I don't think the trees are that big so they should be ok. I am much more optimistic than punkdoc! Just keep watering it for the rest of the year if this weather keeps up. If you do think the bed is naturally on the dry side, then come back to us for lists of plants that will do well in dryish conditions and you can add them at the back end of the year.  
    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Posts: 11,657
    That looks lovely Josusa, full of promise! I am so envious of your 10ft width, really gives you lots of room to play with.  I wouldn't add anything at the moment at least until we've had lots of rain, but come the autumn, you could put in more bulbs, perhaps some hellebores and maybe sarcoccoca which likes shade, is evergreen and has the most fantastic scent in late winter/early spring.
    North East Somerset - Clay soil over limestone
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,530
    Thank you, @Lizzie27, I've already planted sarcococca, great minds!  There are a few daffs and pheasant eye narcissi between the trees, but room for plenty more, and grape hyacinths in the blue end.  I've more of those in pots which I'll plant out in autumn.  I'll put some species tulips and anemone de caen in the red zone.  What fun!
Sign In or Register to comment.