First garden - some novice questions

Hello all,

I am completely new to gardening and have recently moved into my first house with the first garden that I own. The front garden has two beds/borders which are about 9 feet long x 2 feet wide and 6 feet long x 2 feet wide. I want to plant them with plants/flowers that are attractive to wildlife but I think I want it to be fairly controlled and structured. My questions are

- The area faces south east. Is this relevant?

- The front of the house is on a busy main road. Is THIS relevant? (I cant see how it could be but then I am currently clueless)

- I don't have an outdoor tap but I do have a watering can. Am I right in thinking that native plants dont need so much watering and I might be ok without a hosepipe/water butt.

- I would rather plant established potted plants - is January a terrible time to do this? 

Thanks!

Posts

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 3,636
    RobinW says:

    Hello all,

    - The area faces south east. Is this relevant?

    - The front of the house is on a busy main road. Is THIS relevant? (I cant see how it could be but then I am currently clueless)

    - I don't have an outdoor tap but I do have a watering can. Am I right in thinking that native plants dont need so much watering and I might be ok without a hosepipe/water butt.

    - I would rather plant established potted plants - is January a terrible time to do this? 

    See original post

    hello and congratulations on getting a house with a garden image

    Yes the orientation is relevant. South east is a sunny direction - is that the way your house faces? And are the beds then facing north east and south west, perhaps? Most plants have a fairly strong preference for sunny or shady locations. A north east facing bed will be cool and quite shady, a south east or south west facing area will be warm and sunny (unless there's a big tree/fence/neighbour's house/garage casting a shadow for most of the day).

    This is one of the two most important things to know when you're choosing plants - is it sunny or shady? The other is what type of soil you have - sandy, stony, clay - and if it's acidic or lime. You can buy soil test kits in garden centres quite cheaply - a worthwhile investment as it saves wasting money buying plants that would never survive in your garden.

    The busy main road is only relevant to how you will use the garden - less likely to sit out there?

    Yes with a small garden a rainwater butt and a watering can is fine. My advice would be to resist the temptation to buy pots - which need watering regularly - and to limit yourself to plants in the ground, which will generally cope without watering apart from at the time that you plant them.

    January to March is a good time to plant woody shrubs and establish the structure of your garden. It's not a good time to sow seeds or plant young herbaceous plants (ones with lots of soft green leaves that die back in winter). The best time to start those is in spring as the risk of hard frosts reduces - it depends where you live as to exactly when that would be.

    Last edited: 03 January 2018 16:41:44

    Flying...
    Or am I falling?
  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,206

    RobinW

    raisingirls advice is of great benefit to a newbie

    My questions are more basic and for you to think through so you can set your first  5 year plan

    1.Is the garden/s just for looking at and sitting in

    2.Do you want to eat some of what you grow

    3.Is it just you working on it

    4.How much time per week can you give to the project EVERY WEEK

    5.Whats your budget for tools and plants

    6.Do you have "naughty dogs "that may move some of your plants

    There are many roads I can chose to get to London and i will get there eventually but chosing the best route is important

    We are all here to help once you know what your aims are

    Last edited: 03 January 2018 16:52:29

    Never change Tigers in Mid Stream
  • PosyPosy Posts: 1,653

    The way the garden faces determines how much sunlight the area gets and many plants prefer more or less sun and shade. Seed packets will tell you about individual needs as will most plant labels, and of course, books and the internet.

    The busy main road won't matter, although I wouldn't want to attract wildlife to it for obvious reasons, apart from the flying sort. Roses often do well in that situation because traffic fumes weaken blackspot.

    Plants, native or otherwise, need water, but how much depends on soil type and rainfall as well as variety. An outside tap is much to be desired, but you can get by without one with a small garden.

    January is a pretty awful time to plant out established plants in Britain unless they have been living outside in their pots. What plants have you in mind? If you go to a few garden centres you will be able to see what's attractive now and what can be planted but most native plants are dormant at this time.

    Stay indoors and enjoy the seed catalogues and plant catalogues while you find out a bit about your soil and situation. You can plan for all that happy planting when the weather improves!

  • NewBoy2NewBoy2 Posts: 1,206

    A couple of sights I use if you are going to grow stuff to eat

    http://www.realseeds.co.uk/

    http://moreveg.co.uk/

    Lets us know your progress Robin

    Never change Tigers in Mid Stream
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 4,957

    Having very little imagination at the best of times, and even less at the moment (!), any chance you could post a couple of photos? 

    As NewBoy says, apart from anything else, how much time do you want, or are able, to spend in the garden ? Do you want easy care plants such as shrubs, or do you want to potter about on those lovely Spring and Summer evenings we hope to get image.

    Is the main road a problem in that you want to try and achive some privacy or are you happy to show off your garden ?

    Enough questions from me image

  • RobinWRobinW Posts: 2

    Dear all,

    Thanks for the replies - really fantastic and very helpful.

    @raisingirl

    Thank you - I had no idea it was possible to test the soil and to plant accordingly. My father in law nodded approvingly at my soil but it's not been tested. This sounds like an excellent first step and I will get a soil testing kit this Sunday. 

    @NewBoy2

    1.Is the garden/s just for looking at and sitting in

    It's my front garden and is just for looking at/looking nice. Its fairly open and by a main road but I might add a bench someda, next to the front door.  

    2.Do you want to eat some of what you grow

    No, not in the front garden. Maybe in the back garden but thats a whole new issue! Excellent website recommendations btw, When I get round to planting the back garden in summer I will definitly use these. 

    3.Is it just you working on it

    Yes, just me. I am very keen and my wife isn't! 

    4.How much time per week can you give to the project EVERY WEEK

    Hmmm, 2-3 hours I suppose, riainsg to 4-5 hours when we get longer days.

    5.Whats your budget for tools and plants

    I think I have all the tools I need (parents gave me a lot). For plants, no idea, No more than £200

    6.Do you have "naughty dogs "that may move some of your plants

    Nope, but I do have a 2 year old son which might create other considerations

    @Posy

    Yes I was thinking of insect wildlife mainly, bees and that. Good tip about the roses, Ill consider them. Honestly I have no idea about what plants - I'm going to do a finding out trip to the garden centre on Sunday. Great advice to see what they have now and what they look like. 

    @AnniD

    Ah yes, I will put up a picture or two tomorrow! Usually I go to work and come back when it is dark but start late on Fridays!

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