Hello! Your tips, tricks & advice greatly appreciated.


I am new and would adore your tips, advice and tried and tested methods for all areas of gardening. PLEASE.🥰
I have always adored plants, gardens and nature but have always planted blindly. Some of my plants thrive, some don’t, and they never flourish to what I see Monty accomplish or seen to get close to the average size of a typical plant for example.

I always add mulch, compost and follow weather preference guides before planting.

I seem to have combination soil?? It’s different everywhere I dig. Some areas are Sandy, some seem lumpy (clay), some is crumbly and some is gravelly.

what do you think I do wrong? Any advice would be hugely appreciated. This is the first year I have sown seeds and taken cuttings that have grown successfully and I am so excited!

Thanking you in advance hugely.



  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 Bath, SomersetPosts: 4,066
    edited April 2019
    Hi Rachelle,  From the photos it looks to me that a lot of your plants were annuals which won't survive over winter. You would be better off to plant perennials which come up every year. You need to look carefully at the labels to see what kind of plants they are, how tall they grow, how wide and whether they are plants for sunshiney spots or shady areas. 
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 23,087
    Hi Rachelle and welcome to the Forum. 
    The grassy looking thing in photo 3, between pink and yellow flowers, is Carex Pendula and it can become a bit of a thug. IMHO you should remove it before it becomes a problem.
    Don't worry about how MD's garden looks, or anyone else's for that matter, your garden is YOUR garden . If you like how it looks, it's no matter what anyone thinks. Don't be intimidated by it. 
    I'd be wary of the two conifers by the fence , which will get huge in no time..
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 5,201
    edited April 2019
    Hello @rachelle.moore    :) You have some very pretty plants there, as Lizzie says, they won't all have survived the winter, but not to worry,  it's just an opportunity for new plants.
    When you ask "What did l do wrong ?", it may be that you didn't do anything wrong, it's just the nature of gardening. You can care for something and it repays you by dying, and neglect something else and it thrives.
    Monty's garden has grown over 30 years (l think), and he gardens according to the conditions he has. If you are growing plants for the conditions you have, sunny, shady, dry, moist, acid, then you are making a good start. That's the secret ,to grow plants in the conditions they want. 
    If you haven't already, l would buy a soil testing kit from the garden centre. This will tell you the type of soil you have, and use it in various locations. You're already aware that the soil is a different type in different areas, so that's good.
    Another tip is to visit the garden centre at different times of the year to see what is in flower ( and read the labels to see what they like :) ). This will help you to have colour throughout the year with any luck.
    Also l agree with Hostafan1,  you may want to rethink the conifers, they may take up more room than you expect. You could maybe consider climbers for the fence perhaps? 
  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,017
    Another one here says get rid of the conifers, the little slow growing one at the front would be better at the back, but the other 2 in a couple of years will reach 6’ and as wide. Nothing else will be able to grow in there. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Hi Lizzie
    Hi Hostafan
    Hi AnniD
    Hi Lyn

    Sorry for my delayed reply. I had to figure the method to search and reply using this forum. 

    I am so grateful for your replies. 

    Lizzie. I always check labels and I have new pictures to show you from this year. I would love your opinion please.

    Hostafan. Thank you so very much about warning me about the grass. I have removed it and placed in a pot! It was horrendous to remove as the roots were deep! Thank you for this.. I would have had tremendous issues! I love your reply... thank you so much for your reassurance. I have some new pictures to show you below.

    AniD. Thank you so much for your advice. Yes I shouldn’t compare. I think I just need some reassurance and tips for success. My garden is now my passion and I want to get it right if I can. What do you think about the jar testing method to see the soil quality? I use this method mostly. Soil in water with dish washing liquid, allow to settle and view the layers. I obviously do not know my pH though. Would you say it’s a must to know?

    Hi Lyn
    hello and thank you for replying to me. I planted conifers as I wanted to obscure my neighbours fence. There are clematis, ivy (various) honeysuckle planted too. I wanted to ‘cloud’ the conifers once they reach to a foot above the fence. Prune all lower branches off to plant hostas and shade loving plants (my woodland area) with my purple beech in the middle. My flamingo tree offers pink foliage. I wanted a mixture of textures and foliage colours due to the poor soil quality and lack of sun on that side. I would love to know any alternatives. Conifers I like but not love, I wanted green in winter to still obscure the fence. Here are some upto date pictures from today, 

  • I Have planted more perennials and I am growing lots from seed too for the first time ever!

    . Gaura The Bride. 
    sunflower titan
    moneymaker toms
    busy lizzies
    cup and saucer vine
    spanish flag
    morning glory

    then cuttings
    cat mint

    here are my chosen plants so far!

  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,017
    The leylandii can’t be cloud pruned, in 2 years time they will fill the bed on their own. The roots will choke everything else, you need a very big garden to plant those type of trees.  I would remove them from that lovely little corner bed before they get any bigger. 
    Apart from that, the garden is really nice, you’ve made it so pretty, I’m sure your very pleased with it. 
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • Lyn said:
    The leylandii can’t be cloud pruned, in 2 years time they will fill the bed on their own. The roots will choke everything else, you need a very big garden to plant those type of trees.  I would remove them from that lovely little corner bed before they get any bigger. 
    Apart from that, the garden is really nice, you’ve made it so pretty, I’m sure your very pleased with it. 
    Hello Lyn.
    which one is the Laylandii please? I definitely will remove it, thank you so much for warning me. Could you suggest anything as an alternative to obscure the fence? Preferably evergreen to add winter colour and privacy? 

    I am am pleased with my garden but it is only 18 months old. (This is the third summer). I couldn’t do anything at all last year due to completing a huge extension from April through to October. I was so frustrated! 😂😂

    i lost a rhoda due to my cat. She must use the spot for her toiletting and turned the soil alkaline. Hence planting a hydra but the leaves have turned dark red yet they were green. Is there a reason for this please?

    thank you x
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 5,201
    I don't think you have too much to worry about Rachelle!  You have a lovely garden, and your enthusiasm does you credit  :). With regard to the ph question,  it's probably only a concern if you wanted to grow things like azaleas which like an acid soil, but you can get round that by growing things in pots with an ericaceous compost if necessary. 
    My only comment re all those seeds is don't be tempted to sow too many, and try to space them out when you sow. I usually fill my trays or pots with compost and then place them in a bowl of water. When the top of the compost is damp, l drain them off before sowing. This means that all the seeds don't get washed into one corner as they could do if l watered from above. 
  • LiriodendronLiriodendron Scariff, County Clare, IrelandPosts: 5,603
    Hi Rachelle!  I agree - your garden is very pretty.  Congratulations!  

    As time passes you'll undoubtedly find that some plants do better than others - as with the rhododendron you mentioned.  I suspect that if you tested the soil with a little kit, available from the garden centre, you'd find your soil generally was alkaline, which the rhododendron wouldn't like.  Is it a hydrangea whose leaves are turning red?  Sometimes that's a sign of stress - perhaps it's got dry at some time, or very cold.  Mine loses all its leaves in winter, though yours may not if your garden is very warm.

    One thing you'll find is that there isn't room for all your "permanent" plants, the shrubs and conifers, to grow as much as they want.  Eventually you may need to dig up the things which you like least, and give them to your friends, to make room for the rest!  I'm still planting things too close together even though I've been gardening for 60 years... you never stop learning.   :)

    In case Lyn doesn't notice your question about Leylandii - these are the conifers right at the back of the bed with the curved edge, which are growing fast towards the top of the fence.  You could replace them with something like Cotoneaster horizontalis, perhaps, which is better behaved (and has winter berries to feed the birds).
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life."  Rabindranath Tagore
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