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It's not only new builds...

That have crappy soil conditions.
As part of my front garden rework I have finally been able to commence working over the new beds that I am creating.
On breaking into the compacted and weed infested existing crust this is the state of the subsoil that I find...

lovely isn't it?
which begs the question which way to go with it?
I guess my choices are either try to improve it by working in organic matter or else work with it and grow things that will tolerate such sparse conditions of dry, stony soil, but what might they be?
I guess Lavender would be right at home here? but what else might I consider?

Just another day at the plant...


  • AmphibiosAmphibios LondonshirePosts: 158
    Hi Owd Potter perhaps inspiration in the form of Beth Chatto’s Gravel Garden while you work on getting the soil sorted out long term? 
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 716
    Didn't she advocate making the most of existing conditions, sort of growing with what you've got kind of thing?
    I like the ethos, i'll look up her plant lists from that garden.

    Just another day at the plant...
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    I extended a bed into what could loosely be described as lawn 18 months ago and it looked a lot like that underneath. I added some compost (from my bins) and a couple of bags of manure from the GC but only a thin layer so I mostly went with what will be happy. Here it is today. Lots of the perennials aren't out yet, and it needs some low-growing stuff at the front where I've pulled out forget-me-nots, but otherwise I'm quite pleased with it.

  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 716
    @JennyJ, I think what you did in terms of supplementing the existing soil is basically what am anticipating.
    New bed looks great.  
    Just another day at the plant...
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    edited May 2020
    Thanks! :) It helps that it's south-facing so the silver-leaved things do well.
    Some of the things that are doing well in there (as well as lavender) are:
    Artemisias (Powys Castle, Silver Queen and another one whose name I can't remember)
    Salvias (shrubby and herbaceous kinds)
    Teucrium (fruticans is the shrub at the back, and the herbaceous "Purple Tails" kept going all summer last year)
    Verbena bonariensis
    Self-sown forgetmenots, honesty, knautia macedonica, purple toadflax and opium poppies,
    Asters (Lady in Black and Monch - I know they have a new botanical name now but I've forgotten what it is)
    Hardy geraniums (Johnson's blue, Ann Folkard and a couple of sanguineum hybrids)
    Erysmium "Bowles Mauve".

    There are also some penstemons, oriental poppies and a couple of peonies that I moved from other places, none of which are "textbook" plants for sandy soil, and some lysimachia "Beaujolais" just coming into flower but I don't have high hopes for them long-term - when I've grown them before they've not lasted long.

    Hope that gives you a few ideas.
     PS the lupins are still in pots while I decide where I want them, but I expect they'll do fine if I can fend off the aphids.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 716
    This is the whole bed that I have now roughed up, and weeded.
    It is West facing and gets baked in the sun on top 2 sections, the bottom section is shaded by a large Rhododendron.
    My soil, apart from resembling moonsoil, is acidic.
    Plants that are in there now are a shrubby salvia in top section and a mature Forsythia in bottom corner, under the Forsythia are what look like Crocosmia (although never flowered yet) and Hypericum invading from an adjacent bed.
    As this is the front garden and therefore on display, I am looking to maintain some year round interest and would like it to be low maintenance as far as possible.
    Just another day at the plant...
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 716
    Yes, silver leaved things to add are on my radar.
    I am thinking to add:
    Salvia Caradonna
    Sedums possibly for autumn colour and wintrest
    what else?
    Just another day at the plant...
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    edited May 2020
    I forgot, I had a gaura in there last summer. Not sure whether it's reappeared. And self-sown stachys lanata and aquilegias as well.
  • owd potterowd potter Posts: 716
    I'm thinking about cuttings and divisions from plants that I have elsewhere that I can use, what about 
    Bearded Irises?
    Those like sunny conditions and should be drought tolerant ?
    Just another day at the plant...
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,629
    I have Acanthus spinosus in another part of the garden so that should do well. I've never tried bearded irises because the conventional wisdom is that the rhizomes need to be exposed to the sun and I like my plants packed in as you can see.
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