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Advise need for low maintenance garden

tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 200
Hi all,

Can I ask for some advice? I have 2 front gardens. Theyre next to the road so Ill never 'use' them. So Im looking for low maintenance, green vegetation (or something that looks nice), and something that isnt going to turn into loads of weeds. Possibly bark chippings? I dont know.  :(


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  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,002
    They look quite nice in your photo. Won't you 'use' them by looking out on them too?
    Have a look at Hardy Geraniums.
    They come in different colours, some are pretty much evergreen and the spreading ones such as G. macrorrhizum, G. oxoniana and G.sanguinium will cover the ground much more attractively than bark and keep weeds at bay too. They also hide dying bulb foliage nicely, so spark up your spring bulb collection, add a few geraniums and you'll be sorted :)
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 200
    Thanks.
    Yes, I will look at them, so I suppose in that sense I will 'use' them. At the moment it doesnt look too bad becuase I dumped a load of compost down during winter. The ground is basically clay and stone, so Im trying to get some nutrients in there.

    I liek the thought of evergreens. Groundcover basically. So I really like your idea of geraniums. I just hope they grown in that ground. It mostly builders rubble (I had extensive building works 2 years ago) hence why the only thing that grows in it is weeds. Everything else just seems to die.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,002
    They grow pretty much anywhere and while many of them are deciduous, others only lose some of their leaves, especially if you are somewhere mild. I know Dartmoor means that it's not necessarilly the case, even in Devon, but it is probably still warmer than where I am!
    They are reliable and start into leaf fairly quickly but pairing them with the bulbs means you have something to look at for longer.
    If you can give the original plants a good start in life and keep the ground well mulched with whatever you have they will do fine. The shoots tend to surface root into the soil and the stems then become more like rhizomes as they spread further.
    I have G. macrorrhyzum on an impoverished bank under ash trees and it grows well enough, though it has indicated some preference for greener pastures by swallowing a chunk of the adjoining grass! I have a plan to move it to where it can grow at the edge of our big pond and grow down the steep bank to help stabilise the stones there.
  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    edited March 2021
    Have you thought about creeping juniper or similar spreading conifers?
    You could still use bark to cover the rest of the area.
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 200
    Hmm. I like the sound of Hardy Geraniums!

    Ive never heard of spreading conifers. (I didnt know conifers did that!!). Ive just googled them and I like the look of them. I presume theyre fast growing?


  • K67K67 Leicestershire Posts: 2,507
    edited March 2021
    Juniper is nice but not a mile a minute growth. I planted 3 small ones and several years later had to remove 2. They grow about a foot or so each year.
    This website gives more information
    https://www.gardenplantsonline.co.uk/product/juniperus-horizontalis-blue-chip-creeping-blue-chip-juniper-wiltonii/
    The final height they give seems rather tall as mine never got that height but perhaps mine were a different variety.
    You could intersperse them with the geraniums. 
  • B3B3 Posts: 21,501
    That could be a beautiful little garden. It seems a shame to just use ground cover plants.
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • tuffnelljohntuffnelljohn DartmoorPosts: 200
    B3 said:
    That could be a beautiful little garden. It seems a shame to just use ground cover plants.
    Thankyou. I agree. But I have a shocking lack of imagination (Im new to this) and even less money. So perhaps groundcover is the way to go.  :(

    Speaking of which. This may be a silly question. But does it matter where I plant all the creeping conifers and geranium and stuff? Or do I sort of randomly plant it all together?
  • JoeXJoeX Posts: 1,729
    Plant in bunches
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 4,453
    Phlomis russeliana, in large clumps, would look nice and tolerate the poor soil well. It'll tolerate partial shade but prefers some sun. It has big leaves that hug the soil, smothering weeds, and soft yellow flowers in early summer that dry into attractive seedheads that last well in the winter.
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