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Ideas for small bed in front garden

Hello.  We have this small bed in our south-facing front garden which measures around 140cm x 80cm and would like some more permanent plants rather than changing them every season or so.
Ideally we'd like something like a miniature cherry tree or something which will only get to around 150cm so as not to block the window.  As for plant themes, we both like the "country garden" look so any ideas are welcome.  Having said that, I don't know whether that means that we can go for a mixture of perennials and annuals?



  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 834
    A top grafted cherry would be pretty, I have a Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai' which I love, great blossom and autumn colour. I’ve also got a top grafted korean lilac which smells heavenly and is great for a front garden! I’d be tempted to keep the underplanting simple, maybe something like lavender would be pretty? It depends on your tastes!
  • borgadrborgadr Posts: 709
    My folks have a little magnolia stellata in their front garden which stays quite low and compact and flowers beautifully.  Thinking of getting one myself..  just another idea.
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    You can go for whatever you like @gavinf ;)
    The only criteria is that whatever you plant has to suit the soil, climate and aspect.

    Any tree will cast shade, so underplanting needs to be appropriate. You could start with something simple - hardy geraniums and lots of bulbs for example. They will be fine with some shade and the aspect. Bear in mind that the more plants you have, the drier the bed will become, so keep adding organic matter to keep the soil healthy and topped up. 

    As time goes on, you may want some small evergreens, or some edging plants that will hang over the edges. Plenty of choices of those too, from Saxifrages and Aubretia, to Iberis and Thyme, and even Dianthus if the soil isn't acidic.   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • gavinfgavinf Posts: 7
    Thanks for the answers, I'll go away and have a look at some of the suggestions.  In terms of topping up the soil etc, you can see that there's a good 10cm gap between the current soil level and the top of the sleepers, would you suggest just putting in 'normal' compost to increase the level or something else?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    I'd add a bit more soil or rotted manure and get the level up nearer the top. Compost is fine up to a point, but for long term planting, as opposed to annuals, you need a heartier mix. Levels in raised beds will drop anyway, so they need topped up every so often. 

    When you plant, make sure the plants are at that higher level too. If not, you'll end up covering them when you add more material. Some plants, and most bulbs, could cope but not all - especially trees if you get one .  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • PlantmindedPlantminded Posts: 3,459
    Hello @gavinf, another idea for you to consider which does not include trees, bulbs or cottage garden perennials!  I got tired of changing the planting in one of the beds in my sunny front garden and have opted for a "block" planting of a single ornamental grass, Calamagrostis Karl Foerster.  It grows to about 1.5m, including the attractive flower stems and gives texture and movement to the garden.  It is particularly stunning over winter when the flower stems catch and reflect the winter sun.  All you have to do is cut it down to ground level once a year in March before the new leaves appear within a couple of weeks.  It will give a modern contemporary look to your garden and stand out from your neighbours - mine keep asking for divisions of my plants! 

    Have a look at the photos on this link Calamagrostis Karl Foerster – Knoll Gardens | Ornamental Grasses and Flowering Perennials  A staggered planting of three young plants or two larger ones would easily fill your planter. Another grass with a similar upright habit and height is Panicum Northwind which you'll also find details of on the Knoll Gardens site. Top the soil off with some decorative gravel or pebbles to finish, sit back and relax.  I just hope you like grasses!
    Wirral. Sandy, free draining soil.

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