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Plant/shrub removal to plant new things (newbie gardener)

GLHGLH West YorkshirePosts: 16
edited June 2018 in Plants
Hi all, I am new here and would love to pick your brains! Frankly I've not got much clue what I'm doing!!! Sorry this is a bit wordy.

I moved into my current house last summer. I've been given permission to tidy it up as I please, but no clue what to do! It's been almost a year and I know what has and hasn't grown so far... I mostly just want to remove what is in certain sections and start again, I don't mind doing it before a full year has passed (please don't judge me - I have been told "always wait a year"!) Any tips on how I tackle all of this, I will be sooo grateful for! It seemed like a fun project but I'm lost now it's time to do it!

The front garden 
This is almost all shrub type stuff. I am assuming this is why my pathway and front door therefore become a playground for slugs and snails when it's wet, it's a bit excessive! I basically want to remove the back section of it and plant pretty flowers instead. I pulled out one at the weekend (think it's call aubreita? I've really hated the stuff since I was a kid and I have LOTS EVERYWHERE) and ended up with a moving pathway as the woodlice all ran to the next bush! Is this going to be a nightmare? What is the best way to get all of the shrubs out and the ground prepped to plant new stuff? Is it even still possible now we're in June?

I am leaving the row nearest the wall... keeps the bugs happy - and further from my door ;) I want to take out the middle section - you can see where I started removing my least favourite plant at the weekend from the end of that. I abandoned due to the mass migration of bugs!

The back garden
I have one section of soil. Half has a small pretty tree-like bush in but also has yet more blinking aubreita (argh) and what I think is a mass of stinging nettle which seemed to grow in a fortnight?? There seems to be some flowers in there too but I don't know if they're weeds or not as I can't get close enough. How do I successfully remove nettles or whatever it is without killing everything else? The other half of the section is barren, except for weeds which I am mostly keeping clear, still needs work though... My plan was to get that section treated and turn it into a veggie patch next summer - the soil is pretty bad so I know it won't be ready this summer.




Sorry again it's so long - and thanks in advance if you can help at all! :)

Gemma

Posts

  • LinusRLinusR LondonPosts: 8
    edited June 2018
    I'm new here, too. I think you've got a great project to do and now is a good time to plan it. First I suggest you decide where to put a compost heap so that you can dump all the shrubs and stuff that you want to pull out and put them to good use to feed your future veggie plot.

    If your soil is pretty poor you can put this to good use if you want to grow native wildflowers which prefer low quality soil. You could plant a mix of native shrubs and wildflowers in your front garden. You could either sow seeds for the flowers in the autumn or get some "plugs" like these (like I did) https://www.bostonseeds.com/products/34/Wildflower-Plants-and-Bulbs/48/Wildflower-Plant-Collections/

    Growing native shrubs and wildflowers will need less watering and more likely to flourish without much effort.

    See what your neighbours are growing and doing well for your local climate and take a steer from them

    I would let the nettles flower and help the bugs and bees and then before they turn to seed put on a pair of gardening gloves and just pull them out complete with the roots and dump them on the compost heap. Same for any other plant - just pull them out roots and all and compost them.

    There are various techniques for keeping the slugs off like surrounding your planting with broken egg shells and thorny cuttings. I've not had a problem with slugs so can't help there. [edit] try looking here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/organic-pest-control/non-toxic-slug-control/

    Happy garden planning!
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    Woodlice aren't a problem in a garden.  Some people claim to have had plants damaged by them, but they mostly live on dead plant remains, helping to cycle the nutrients back into the soil where they're available to growing plants.  Personally I find them rather endearing, like tiny armadillos.  

    If you post pictures of the plants you want to keep, we can probably identify them.  It's best to post a picture of the whole plant and a closeup of the leaves, and flowers if there are any.
  • Cut the hedge down as close to ground level as you can, then use an herbicide to kill the remaining roots/ stumps... but bear in mind that it may take several weeks before they totally rot down and you are able to remove them... so you may not be able to plant pretty flower there straight away! I understand you are planning to clear the whole back garden border in order to create a veggie patch? If so, nettles roots can easily be removed by digging carefully with a garden fork. Once the ground is clear, add plenty of organic matter (regular compost is fine for the front flower beds - mushroom compost or horse manure is better for the veggie patch). Good luck!
  • GLHGLH West YorkshirePosts: 16
    LinusR said:
    I'm new here, too. I think you've got a great project to do and now is a good time to plan it. First I suggest you decide where to put a compost heap so that you can dump all the shrubs and stuff that you want to pull out and put them to good use to feed your future veggie plot.

    If your soil is pretty poor you can put this to good use if you want to grow native wildflowers which prefer low quality soil. You could plant a mix of native shrubs and wildflowers in your front garden. You could either sow seeds for the flowers in the autumn or get some "plugs" like these (like I did) https://www.bostonseeds.com/products/34/Wildflower-Plants-and-Bulbs/48/Wildflower-Plant-Collections/

    Growing native shrubs and wildflowers will need less watering and more likely to flourish without much effort.

    See what your neighbours are growing and doing well for your local climate and take a steer from them

    I would let the nettles flower and help the bugs and bees and then before they turn to seed put on a pair of gardening gloves and just pull them out complete with the roots and dump them on the compost heap. Same for any other plant - just pull them out roots and all and compost them.

    There are various techniques for keeping the slugs off like surrounding your planting with broken egg shells and thorny cuttings. I've not had a problem with slugs so can't help there. [edit] try looking here https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/advice/gardening-for-wildlife/animal-deterrents/organic-pest-control/non-toxic-slug-control/

    Happy garden planning!
    Hello fellow forum newbie! Thanks for your tips and links :) I hadn't thought about a compost heap. Is it bad to put weeds in them? My back garden got invaded by what I am 90% certain is Himalayan Balsam and the council won't let me put in my brown wheelie so I'm assuming it shouldn't go in the compost either? I thought it was a regular plant so didn't yank it out sooner then it was everywhere... Fail!

    I love some of those wildflowers, especially the one that looks like a snowflake! I am tempted to put some around the edging where my hedge is (out of shot but it surrounds the side of my property from the street). Would that work? They'll still get a lot of decent sun :)

    Thanks again! 

  • GLHGLH West YorkshirePosts: 16
    josusa47 said:
    Woodlice aren't a problem in a garden.  Some people claim to have had plants damaged by them, but they mostly live on dead plant remains, helping to cycle the nutrients back into the soil where they're available to growing plants.  Personally I find them rather endearing, like tiny armadillos.  

    If you post pictures of the plants you want to keep, we can probably identify them.  It's best to post a picture of the whole plant and a closeup of the leaves, and flowers if there are any.

    Tiny armadillos!!!! :D:D:D I did read they were helpful and not really a pest. To be honest, I've always just found them weird little things but don't actually mind them (except when they find their way into my house - but I do evict). It was more that there were SO many of them, I've never seen anything like it. I guess it was a nest. I was more bothered about ripping out the home of hundreds more and not knowing where they're going...

    Thanks for the tip on posting what I plan to keep. I'll get some pics later of those and pop them up - hopefully nothing too terrible is in that bit and it just needs taming more than anything! :)
  • LauraRoslinLauraRoslin Posts: 496
    When you take the nettles out, chop them up and put them in a bucket of water and cover it.  Wait 2-3 weeks for the nettles to break down and then you can use the water as feed for the soil.
    I wish I was a glow worm
    A glow worm's never glum
    Cos how can you be grumpy
    When the sun shines out your bum!
  • GLHGLH West YorkshirePosts: 16
    Cut the hedge down as close to ground level as you can, then use an herbicide to kill the remaining roots/ stumps... but bear in mind that it may take several weeks before they totally rot down and you are able to remove them... so you may not be able to plant pretty flower there straight away! I understand you are planning to clear the whole back garden border in order to create a veggie patch? If so, nettles roots can easily be removed by digging carefully with a garden fork. Once the ground is clear, add plenty of organic matter (regular compost is fine for the front flower beds - mushroom compost or horse manure is better for the veggie patch). Good luck!

    Thanks for the suggestion, I would've assumed I just have to graft and pull it all out by hand! 

    With the back, no I am only planning to use half of that section in the pic. Where there are already plants I plan to leave as is (but tidied). There is a barren section (has three solar lights in front of it) which is where I plan to put the veg once it's completely weed free and nice soil. I was going to section it off from the bushy bit.

    I've never heard of mushroom compost - I've always used some basic multipurpose stuff for my pots - I will definitely be looking for that! Someone on the next street used manure last month and the smell was so bad in combination with the heat that I couldn't have any doors or windows open for nearly a week! I don't wanna put all the neighbours through that again haha :)
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    When you take the nettles out, chop them up and put them in a bucket of water and cover it.  Wait 2-3 weeks for the nettles to break down and then you can use the water as feed for the soil.


    A word of warning - it will smell awful.  But not so bad once you've diluted it.  
  • GLHGLH West YorkshirePosts: 16
    When you take the nettles out, chop them up and put them in a bucket of water and cover it.  Wait 2-3 weeks for the nettles to break down and then you can use the water as feed for the soil.

    Thanks for this! 
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