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Garden type

JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,502
Hi all,

Im wondering if my front garden fits a type which will help me plant more successfully.

It’s NW facing.

Large mature trees all around.

It borders my drive.

Soil is shallow.  I’ve tried digging it up a few times but there is bricks etc only about six to nine inches down.

The “successful plants” are the pre-existing, mature (over ten years old) cherry laurel, rose bush, cotoneaster, spiraea japonica, berberis and a tree that needs coppicing.

Since Ive started gardening it only daffodils have really been successful, and some purple weed type things I’ve encouraged to spread. Sweet Williams looked well until I missed watering them.

Also successful but just appeared, not planted; lords & ladies, asaparagus.

What has *not* succeeded; a new rose bush, palm, bay tree, gladioli, lillies, nasturtium, heather, viola...more cherry laurel replanted saplings from the back garden.

Does any of this identify my garden or soil as a particular type?

Or is this all just not watering enough! :lol:


  • Pete.8Pete.8 Billericay, EssexPosts: 6,630
    edited August 2018
    Type your postcode in at this site and it'll tell you the soil type in your postcode area

    PS - Be wary of lords & ladies  - I let one self seed over 10 years ago and I'm still trying to get rid of them. Pretty but highly invasive 
    Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit.
    Wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.
  • ZeroZero1ZeroZero1 Posts: 564
    Have you thought about importing soil? In bulk it can be quite reasoable from the right source, you could also put some horse manure under it and that would provide great fertility for years to come. By providing some small walls (concrete strips are cheap and easy), you would not have to dig. From there you can get any garden you wish for. 
    It's always good to think about foundations when you design a garden
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,502
    Pete8 said:
    Type your postcode in at this site and it'll tell you the soil type in your postcode area

    PS - Be wary of lords & ladies  - I let one self seed over 10 years ago and I'm still trying to get rid of them. Pretty but highly invasive 
    Soilscape 18: 
    Slowly permeable seasonally wet slightly acid but base-rich loamy and clayey soils
    Loamy and clayey”

    Does that match what’s happening in my post?

    The back garden is fine. The front is the problem area.  The L&L appeared this year, there’s tonnes of them under the surface - I just put a storage unit over them.

    @zer[email protected]
    I could but I’m hoping to find a way forward as is, by figuring out what works there.

  • raisingirlraisingirl East Devon, on the Edge of Exmoor.Posts: 4,242
    edited August 2018
    When you say 'bricks etc' - does it seem to be just rubble in any old how, or is it an old paved surface? Have you got any old maps of the area that pre-date your house which might give you a clue about what was there - old roadways or hedge lines, for example?

    At a guess, your mature plants have their roots under the rubble, so it may only be either a thin layer or a discreet patch - like a filled ditch or a soakaway.
    You could try digging a smallish hole - use a mattock and try to get through the rubble to see if it's a layer. If you can, then maybe plant things like a rose or cherry laurels if you want more of those, into the hole.
    If you get down a way and are still in rubble, then try gently digging close to the roots of one of the established plants and see if it's in clear ground. If it is, start to dig back towards the rubbley bit and see if you find an edge. In that case you could plant bigger plants round the outside and plants that like very dry partial shade over the rubble.

    Various attempts to plant trees have revealed a pattern in my garden. I managed to get hold of an old tythe map so I can now see that there used to be either tracks or hedge-banks crisscrossing the area close to the house, with a lot of close packed stones, about 5 feet wide. But beside the hedge/track is decent deep soil. So I have roses and shrubs to the side with euphorbia and geraniums in the stoney bits (it's probably sunnier than your garden). A horticulturist would probably be puzzled at the plants I have next to each other which really shouldn't grow side by side.
    “It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.” ― Terry Pratchett
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,360
    The only way of making your front garden more ideal for a wider range of plants is to incorporate plenty of well rotted manure and compost. Dig in to at least one spade's depth, but deeper, if you can. Then continue to top up once or twice a year. This can be time consuming, but if you want to grow a wider range of plants, this is the way to go.

    Other things to think about. If you already have mature shrubs, the soil around it may be more drier and there may be extra shade around them too. You need to think more carefully about planting what is more suitable. A rose may not thrive because it's only young, or you have not planted it in deep enough. Just an example.
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