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Garden border inspiration needed.

Hi, we have recently purchased our first apartment, and just had our garden redone. New patio and grass laid. I have always kept my plants in pots, however I now have a long narrow flower bed which I can use and although I have already placed some of the plants I already own, its still looking rather bare. The main section that is looking bare has bare rooted peonies, and dahlias planted. So I ideally need some other small perennials which will make it look a bit more full whilst the peonies and dahlias grow.

How close can other shrubs plants be planted next to these with the intension of the peonies and dahlias still growing out over the top for summer?

Do I need to redo the whole bed? or can i add things around those already planted?

I have some pictures showing the bed, and other plants / trees i have which could be used?



  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 28,049
    We need soil info - acid, alkaline, neutral, sandy, stony, clay, loam - and aspect which affects how much light plants get.

    Just looking at the soil I would advise you pile on a thick layer of well-rotted manure or garden compost or cheap bought in compost to add some nutrients and texture before planting anything else.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • According to its loamy soil.

    Im south facing, it gets sun all day. I don't know its ph?
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,677
    Even with that many photos, it's hard to work out the scale. It all depends on the types of shrubs you have in mind, and where you will want to plant them. You can use the wall space by growing shrubs trained into a wall shrub. Ceanothus and Pyracantha shrubs are classic examples. If you have neutral to acidic soil, you could try wall training a Camellia shrub too. To save space, some shrubs can be allowed to grow tall and you prune out the lower branches to create space below for your perennial plants. 
  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 19,175

    When plants start into growth I'd go along to your local garden centre and note down the names of plants you like the look of then look them up on Google to see if they are the right height , shape colour etc for what you want.

    I'm afraid I can't see your photos as I have slow Internet and they are too big.

    If the bed is narrow, could you make it wider? Wider beds usually look better.

    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,544
    Hello Kassie, firstly just wanted to say how lovely your new patio is and how lovely to have a south facing garden 😊 i agree get some decent mulch on your new bed before you plant any more. I would then decide what kind of garden you would like.  I’m thinking a nice Mediterranean feel with your existing plants you have in the pots. I would keep the massive gorgeous palm in the pot and would place that one first. In your pics is that a side access? Is it in use? If not I would put the palm there so it was half up the alley and half up against your steps. Think it would give you a good feel as you came down the steps into your garden.  I would then go through your remaining pots and only keep the ones you really love. Try dotting the pots around until you are happy then plant.  Maybe this year wait and see how big all the plants get before buying more perrenials.  You could this year choose something like geranium bedding plants (Mediterranean feel) and plant in all the spaces. They will last till first frosts. This will give you time to source new plants for autumn planting 😊 I look forward to updates on how you get on x

  • Beaus MumBeaus Mum Posts: 3,544
    Ps I wouldn’t plant the xmas 🌲 
  • AnniDAnniD South West UKPosts: 10,393
    Hi Kassie, if you would like to know your soil's ph, you can buy a test kit from the garden centre. Just take a sample of soil, put it in the test tube supplied, and follow instructions on packet. Simples !
    I would recommend taking samples from different areas of the garden, as they are not always the same. As far as l can make out, the plant in your first photo (with creamy white flowers) is a pieris, which would imply your soil is on the acid side.
  • Thanks guys, I will buy a ph soil test kit today. @BeausMum the palm is already in the ground in this location as it was already with the garden when we moved in.

  • @Borderline its 80cm wide (gets a bit wider around the palm tree due to the shape of bed) the length is looong, 19ft is up to the palm tree area. 
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