Forum home Garden design

Argh too much to do and too much space

Hi I’m not sure what the best plan of action 
I have stinging nettles everywhere which I am trying to tackle but I’m not sure how they just keep coming back
and it’s weed city on the banks but its  heavy hard clay and the weeds die back in winter and then go nuts in spring &’summer 
I would like to make it look better I am seeing some low type of purple and blue flowery displays at the moment on rockery patches. I’m not sure what these plants are called though



  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,846
    Nettles are shallow rooted and easy enough to hoe or pull and remove.  They do at least indicate fertile soil.

    The blue and pink flowers look like forget-me-knots which are usually blue-flowered but can go pink when stressed.  Need a closer focus picture to be sure.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • Oh sorry I mean that I’ve seen other peoples plants as part of a rockery area which I think would work well but I don’t know what they are called. I will have to find them and take a picture or something it was a low spreading type plant with nice purple / pink / blue colours

  • I' a bit worried about the bank not being retained by anything and the fact that the tree roots have been severed and are sticking out of the soil. It might be worth considering supporting the bank with a sleeper wall or gabions, clearing the top of the bank and the planting afresh.

    If there is no plan to retain the bank and just work with what's there, I  think it will be tricky to clothe the steep face given weeds are struggling to gain a foothold.

    In answer to your question, the rockery plants you mention could be aubretia and Campanula portenschlagiana. 
  • I wouldn't want a garden without a few nettles in it.
  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,846
    You are probably thinking of aubretia but you don't exactly have rockery plant conditions on that slope.

    Aubretias like full sun and well-drained alkaline or neutral soil which can be chalky, loamy or sandy but not clay.
    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • BenjiBenji Posts: 10
    If you don’t have a budget for any sort of wall/gabion support and you are just wanting an improvement I’d just cover it in grass and then let it grow.  It would look very pretty with long grass in the summer.  
    Or if you want it planted up you might need to improve the soil first.  This does seem a large job and I also get a bit overwhelmed sometimes so I would advise you just start with one small section and try to add some good manure/ compost and then add appropriate low growing perennials/shrubs? But maybe just do a metre or so at a time.  Plants to cover that would also cost a fortune and take a while to cover the whole area (that’s why I’d opt for grass!) 
    You could also go crazy with bulbs in the autumn. 

    The embankments that surround the city of York old walls are grass with bulbs in and the council don’t mow it throughout the summer and it is glorious.  All swishy and pretty.  It’s amazing how beautiful just grass can be!

    The experts on here would be able to recommend plants for clay soil, also what direction is the area facing?  That would also help for plant knowledge?

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,501
    Reducing the gradient slightly would definitely help - closer to the angle of that panel lying at the back in the photo.
    |A very low retaining wall of some kind would help to stop the soil movement. In my garden in similar situations I've used logs or tree trunks, held in position by pegs, or a couple of courses of flat stones, as there are several derelict stone walls on my patch, but you could use scaffold boards or sleepers if you wanted.
    My garden is rural and we have a large pond retained by a dam as part of water management on a wet and steeply sloping site. The outer face of the dam was very steep and unworkable at first, but over the years we have reduced the slope and created a new flat and very fertile area  at its foot, simply by dumping garden waste and the straw and manure from clearing out the sheep shed down the bank.
    Yours would be a much smaller area to deal with, so once you had the edge in place you could do something similar with non-pernicious weeds, old turf, old compost from pots and so on, with some soil mixed in. A mix of grass and wild flowers would then help to stabilise everything and look attractive for much of the year for relatively little maintenance.
    I have such an area and just edit out plants I don't want, if they are undesirable or just too plentiful, and add in others I do want.
    I have foxgloves, primroses, red campion, cow parsley, bluebells and wild garlic at various places along its length and the buttercups, herb robert and wild violets just join in wherever they want.
    The nettles aren't allowed on this bank as it is too close to where I walk and the top adjoins the neighbour's field and he has enough of his own without mine as well!
    I do leave some in other places though, as they are vital food plants for many of our prettiest butterflies. Those at the top of your bank look to be well out of the way, so you could edit some and keep some too.
    You've already got herb robert and forget me not and probably other things too. If you plant spring bulbs like crocus or dwarf daffodils or wood anemones etc, plant them at the top and then the seeds roll downhill and give you natural cover:)
    Have fun!
  • LoxleyLoxley Posts: 5,561
    Are the nettles spreading through from the other side of the hedge? I wouldn't really want nettles there either. They're a food source for caterpillars but it's not like the UK countryside is lacking in nettles, so I don't think you're helping in any significant way by having them in your garden.

    I think the plants you've seen are Aubretia. They might do OK there if it's sunny, but I would be looking at a mix of wildflowers, or perhaps some sort of weed suppressing ground cover (Symphytum or Persicaria amplexicaulis perhaps).

    Agree with others about reducing the slope, logs pinned in place at the foot of the slope sounds like a nice rustic approach. Then infill behind to create a flatter area.
  • FlyDragonFlyDragon Posts: 834
    What's in front of the steep bank?  I'm wondering if you could put native hedging at the base and basically screen it?  

  • This was after the turf

    the area behind the wood is my back border

    the banks were man made as the whole garden was on a giant slope (it is slightly sloped now) this was done over a year ago and I’ve been planting bulbs and the ground can be rock hard sadly!
    id like something pretty and colourful that spreads like wildfire! Comes back every year and doesn’t need much attention.

    the back border I am working on (this is the second summer) with lupins tulips Azelia and all sorts inbetween . I have just planted about 50 gladioli bulbs too at the back.

    I don’t mind the look of the weeds with little flowers but it dies back to nothing in the winter and looks like crispy stems..
    I can definitely say floxgloves like my soil. I am finding them everywhere (and I didn’t plant them) 

    thankyou everyone 
Sign In or Register to comment.