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New house, new garden, no idea where to start....

We've recently moved house and so inherited a new garden...I've identified some of the plants but stuck with others and no idea what to do with them.

There are four what look like palms (one has a flower sticking out the top) - any ideas what they are? We're not really keen so can we cut them back/reduce the size?

Also there are two pine trees - maybe cypress? What do we need to do with these as they're looking a bit shabby.

There was a beautiful purple clematis next to the back door when we first viewed the property in May - the flowers are all gone. Any ideas what I should do in terms of pruning this?

any other tips much appreciated!

thanks in advance.



  • kate1980kate1980 Posts: 10

  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    edited August 2019
    The spiky ones look like phormium. You can cut out the tatty leaves right back to the ground but don't just cut the ends off - that looks horrible.  The length that the leaves grow to is the size that the plant will be, so if that's too big you'd be better off taking them out and planting something smaller.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • Those are phormiums, I agree with Jennys advice. And they always look tatty in my opinion. The leaves are very tough and it's no fun to tidy up this plant.

    Here is how to care for your clematis, which is in pruning group2 I believe:
    It also benefits from watering and mulching, especially as it's so close to the wall.

    The shrub near the table and clematis is rosmarin. It's a very large specimen, you could give it a haircut now; treat it like any evergrenn shrub. And every time you cut twigs for the kitchen, cut low down to encourage new growth.
    The back of the garden looks quite shady. Are the tall trees on your property or the neighbors?

  • kate1980kate1980 Posts: 10
    Thanks both, that's really helpful!

    I think we'll want to get rid of the phormiums but that feels like a big job!!

    There is an olive at the bottom of the garden which is ours but everything else is neighbours. We've actually just had a letter from the neighbour saying they're getting the oak cut back next week which is good.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 10,465
    Take it steadily, one step at a time. A big strong person with a mattock is probably the best way to tackle those phormiums.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • It will take a while to dig those phormiums up. But with patience, diging a trench around them and chipping away at the roots, they will eventually be gone. I once broke a garden fork trying to dig one out. :s
    When it's done, you will have some space to add flowers and colour in their place!
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    The tall pencil thin pine-like trees are probably Italian Cypress, Cupressus Sempervirens. They will keep their habit of being slim and tall. Can be lightly trimmed yearly to keep their size, but avoid hard pruning into wood as they will unlikely rejuvenate from that point.
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