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I want to see your “Jurrasic” gardens

Sorry - long post alert
My garden is only 2 years old and It’s a slow progress due to funds.i Can only reaaally buy plants every few months once I’ve saved up a little haha (not always the case, sometimes I can’t help myself). My garden is pretty full already with plants I have been given / cutting and things I have grown from seed.  But because I have been given a lot, (which I’m very grateful for) the plants aren’t necessarily what I would have chosen?. But I love plants, so if people were getting rid (going to compost) I would rescue them and give them a home in my garden haha. 

My garden is currently a ‘pretty cottage garden’ and I want a hard landscaped, tall structures, jungle / jurrasic type garden. (Jurassic is the best way I can describe the vision 😂)  

I have a lot of grasses and ferns on their way which I have bought online. I have a fennel which is such an amazing plant, it’s well over 6ft tall now and it definitely gives the height and impact I want from the garden. Shame it’s just the one of them for now (although I have about 20 self seeded ones I’ve potted up)  my MIL has some self set Hostas she doesn’t want which have my name on them.  I have just added a fatsia japonica too and will be ‘vertical gardening’ to cover parts of the fences.

Has anyone else got a jungle / Jurassic garden to give me some inspiration. And recommend some good plants to help me pull it off?   

I have a south (slightly south west) facing garden with sandy soil.  There are tall fences and a drystone wall which gives morning and evening shade and the bed at the back wall is almost always in shade. 

Im worried if I add any Acers that they will just be frazzled by the sun if they are in the Center of the garden.  And things like tree ferns and bananas I’m scared of spending the money incase they don’t make the winter even if I do protect them.  (Cumbria, UK winters can get very cold)  

So send me your pictures and plant reccomendations and just anything else you feel you could add to my very long post haha. 


  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,001
    How about teasels?  They are tall gaunt and spiky, but hardy.  They also have leaf bases which trap water around the stem and drown small creatures careless enough to fall in, which adds an air of menace!  Easy to grow from seed, you get flat rosettes the first year, and the second year, they shoot up to six feet and produce purple flower heads.  These produce seeds which goldfinches like.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,770
    Could you make one area a bit damper, dig a bit of a  hole and line with black plastic, perforated slightly, so it retains more water (when we get any!)? Then you could grow any (maybe not all!) of Gunnera, Darmera peltata, Rheum palmatum,  Ligularias, Angelica, Lysichiton and loads of other moisture loving plants, which are nearly all hefty, thuggish and very Jurassic!.
    If not you could go for some Miscanthus for height - M. saccharifolius is the tallest, and grow some native ferns. Most of the Dryopteris will grow in dry soil, though they prefer some moisture, they will enjoy your shady bit and they can get quite large after a year or two, even if not tree ferns. Don't forget things like cannas and dahlias for some colour and flowers in summer, if you have somewhere to store them to overwinter.
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 24,692
    edited June 2018
    Get yourself a copy of :
    Encyclopedia of Exotic Plants forTemperate Climates. by Will Giles
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 60,525
    edited June 2018
    If you want a plant that can do a bit of 'multi-tasking' how about rhubarb?  Just as architectural as Rheum palmatum, can cope with anything the weather throws at it (it's from Siberia after all) and you get crumbles  :)
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 362
    From seed, paulonia tormentosa.  Cardoon.  Both will give great height and big leaves for a jungle look.  Both fully hardy.

    Try a young tetrapanax rex rex to grow on for large leaf jungly feel.    

    Rhubarb with lots of horse manure will offer large leaf and compliment hosta well.

    Cordyline can be bought young and cheap and brought on rapidly.

    Will post some pics of my jungly courtyard when on another device /desk.

  • granmagranma Posts: 1,848
    How about a very tall aloa succulent.I bought one , an alpine . as an alpine in a three  inch pot   five years later it s three ft tall ,spread out, has flowers
    Similar to a red hot poker.if there are any this year  seed I will let you know.

  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,001
    Fatsia japonica.
  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 129
    Thanks for all your replies!! I’ll look into all of these.  And love the idea of making a damper area. I have very sandy soil so it would probably benefit a whole host of other things! 

    And looking forward to seeing your garden up north! 
  • UpNorthUpNorth South Leeds, West Yorkshire, UK Posts: 362

    just the above on my phone the other day, not my finest photography, but you can see the cordyline and tetrapanex best.   A now fairly scruffy sambucus in a small pot.  in the background an Acer (similar to bloodgood) and a couple of bamboo.    very young for a 'jungle' so a long way to go, but i can see the Paulownia is going to achieve what is asked of year in from seed it has leaves the size of a dustbin lid and must be five foot high.

    forgot to mention 'fig' has great leaves, will compliment a fatsia very well, fairly cheap/fast and relatively hardy (don't expect fruit though)....grow up your fence.

    below is the other side (last autumn), so you can see the above shown area is really to help enclose the seating.  

    finally an 'out there' option....sorbaria Sem.  a 1m shrub, leaves that will compliment acers, it is a great shape, neat, and was the very earliest thing to leaf up in this entire area, by some month or so.  bought to compliment the sambucus but it's much neater and better of my best purchases, and it happily suckers and provides new fresh plants.

    your sandy soil....we too have extremely sandy ( desert like) sandy soil....just a warning but i put a huge amount of rotted horse manure, garden compost, bought compost, leaf mould in that bed.
  • NotyalcaNotyalca Posts: 129
    Your garden looks brilliant!  I’ll definitely be using that as inspiration! The tetrapanex is definitely on my shopping list now as is the paulownia.  Infact I’m going to consider everything you suggested! 

    This is the right hand side of my garden currently 
    This was taken a few weeks ago now so it’s grown a little larger since, especially the front 2 beds.  There will be a pergola over the patio eventually, so as you can see it’s not very tall at the moment, but there’s is quite a lot of space and potential for a lot more height.  The fennel which you can just see to the left of the archway is about 7ft tall now, it’s turned into an amazing plant! I’ve been never seen one so big! 
    I have a buddleja in the dolly tub so that will eventually give some height too.   
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