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Growing Medium

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  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,856
    The beds do look very narrow which will restrict root space.   I would certainly use some of the stony rubble and maybe some stryrofoam as drainage but not all the other plastic stuff. 

    I would suggest some herbs such as rosemary and thyme in the sunnier parts.  In the more shaded parts - variegated ivy for all year foliage and some softening, trailing effect; spring bulbs and some cyclamen hederifolium for interesting foliage and flowers in autumn.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,697
    What you want to grow and what growing medium you use are kind of related. So if you want to grow plants that like good drainage, mix in lots of grit with the compost and topsoil. Mix on the ground or a wheelbarrow so you get everything mixed up evenly then shovel it in on top of the hardcore, broken pots etc.

    It is pretty narrow, so no big shrubs that like to spread their roots in a large circle, but you might get away with a couple of columnar shaped shrubs. I have a similar width in a raised bed, and grow things like prostrate rosemary, salvia, hardy geraniums, nepeta, gaura (whirling butterflies, cascades beautifully over the sides), verbena bonariensis for height plus small patio roses and dwarf dahlias for longer interest. It has lots of grit mixed in, but the bits with roses and dahlias have extra well-rotted manure and compost dug in around the planting hole as they are hungrier plants. Try and include a few small evergreen structural plants for winter interest.

    That’s quite ‘cottagey’ tho and it depends on your style and taste. You may want more contemporary, spiky and dramatic... Have a think about what visual effect you want to create and get back to us if you have any queries about the kind of look/plants you decide you want.
  • bullfinchbullfinch SurreyPosts: 346
    Sounds gorgeous @Nollie, any pictures? (Sorry to hi-jack your thread @hartk10 🙄).
  • madpenguinmadpenguin Isle of WightPosts: 2,135
    Those beds may be narrow but could be filled with colourful annuals.
    These photos from outside a local garden centre show what you could do.The chap who planted it says he uses all he 'crappy' plants that have not sold and just puts them in this bed! It is about 6-9" wide.

    “Every day is ordinary, until it isn't.” - Bernard Cornwell-Death of Kings
  • hartk10hartk10 Posts: 17
    Love the photo

    if only I could do that 😥
  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 21,856
    You can if you choose your plants well.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,697
    @bullfinch, sorry for late response, I don’t have any recent photos and have just cut a lot of stuff down, but here is how it looked when first made and planted up. Some of the planting has changed (all the lavender died) but you get the idea...

    It’s in two layers for a fuller effect. Thr rear is troughs and pots, 35cm wide, on stone ground (footings of the house) and the front is the raised bed bit, 40cm wide, on soil. The way the photos have loaded, the first one is slightly later in the year than the rest, as the rose and gaura were added later...

  • bullfinchbullfinch SurreyPosts: 346
    Oh my goodness, that is glorious @Nollie. It's so lovely to see pictures of other people's gardens, it really gives me ideas for planting combinations. I love gardening, but I don't always seem to be able to get the "whole look" quite right 🙂
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen SpainPosts: 3,697
    Thank you, but oh I’m still very much trying to do that @bullfinch - that bed was my first and I was really chuffed with it, then the lavenders died, so did the pelargonium x Intermedia (turns out they were annuals), the salvias were not the Caradonna I ordered as, well, a salvia is a salvia here, so what’s your problem! Hence a lot of shuggling and replanting later. The soil in the pots behind is pretty exhausted now so I am going to have to change all that soon... and I still can’t get the combinations how I imagine them nor get the ‘succession of colour’ thing right. Also, photos always leave out the scruffy bits and bare patches :D
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 34,053
    @bullfinch- sometimes the easiest thing to do is link colour. Pick a background colour - say green for example, as the majority of foliage is green. Then decide on a main colour. Let's say blue. Use that for the bulk of planting, bearing in mind that it may be seasonal, and finding blue flowered plants could be hard if you want lots of winter interest. Then pick an accent colour. That can be a clashing colour like bright orange, or a toning one - like white or purple. You can also add some plants with coloured foliage, and of course - bulbs. In winter, you can have the focus on a different part of the garden, or on some evergreen planting in the bed/border. 
    Then use repeat planting. So if you have a Hebe for instance, with green foliage and white flowers, you can have three of those in a ten or twelve foot run. That gives a basic structure. Add lots of verticals which have blue or purple flowers - alliums, veronicas etc,  then infill with more prostrate, or lower growing, planting which covers edges, or spills over a raised bed or edging stone, and some other blousier and bigger perennials for different times of year. Those would be a mix of the main colour and the accent one.
    The bulbs would be planted in among the perennials to keep the interest going through the year, and you can add annuals if you like to fill in gaps etc.  If there's a wall or fence, you can add climbers too :)
    If you look at what @Nollie has done - there's a distinct colour palette, and variation in height and shape, so the whole thing is harmonius, but not 'samey'   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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