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Deciding when to plant up a new garden

Hi there, I have not visited forum for a while and hope someone can help out. I have had a neglected part of the garden professionally designed and it is currently a totally plant free area of beds and paths. I have a great planting plan of trees, shrubs and perennials, bulbs etc. Designer orders plants and positions them on arrival and I am then planting with help of friends. I live in south Manchester. The garden is south facing but quite exposed at the moment.

My problem is that the designer is eager to plant all at once in March or early April. I said from the start that I wanted to wait until late May due to the very hard frost we had here suddenly last May. I thought better safe than sorry. It could also turn out very expensive to lose plants on this scale.

Am I being over cautious? As I am planting I can stick to my guns but obviously there is a temptation to get them in to enjoy. Easter seems to be a time when everyone gets planting and I have often planted in Spring myself but only odd plants not a whole new garden.

Just wondered what general opinion might be.
Thanks in advance



  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 77,318
    Where are the plants at the moment?
    What are the plants? hardy perennials or are some more tender?
    “I am not lost, for I know where I am. But however, where I am may be lost.” Winnie the Pooh

  • robairdmacraignilrobairdmacraignil CorkPosts: 585
    If the new plants were in the garden in pots with the roots more exposed to any late frost it might set them back more than if they were in the ground so I'd be inclined to just go ahead and plant when the designer suggests should work. If they are a professional they should be aware if there are particularly frost tender ones selected and if they are sourcing them they should know if the plants have been already out doors for some time to harden off to out door conditions. It is very much dependent on what you are planting as to how cautious you need to be and most plants I would use in the garden are good to go out in the open ground now.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,105
    I planted hardy perennials in January the ground was not waterlogged or frozen and they grow all year round. Guess your designer has given you a plant list as this will help you look after them in the future. Grasses however should be planted when they are actively growing to do well .Shrubs will depend on what is being planted. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,085
    It definitely depends on the types of plant and their hardiness, as well as size and how they're being grown.  :)
    If they were all a good size, totally hardy, and haven't been cossetted and kept undercover, they can go out if the conditions are fine - ie no frost/ice/snow in the immediate forecast. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • Jane4985Jane4985 Posts: 6
    Thanks for all your input.  I really appreciate it. Plant list below. All plants yet to be ordered from the nursery. So we are discussing this issue of planting time.  I know a lot of the plants and I think they would be classed as hardy. Designer is local, very experienced and would know the climate so as you say I should probably go with him. I have spoken to the nursery and I think most are in stock or will be by end of month. I have marked with ## those I am not certain of.

    Any comments welcome. I can update you on progress in due course.
    Thanks again

    1 Acer pal. 'Dissectum Garnet'

    1 Berberis thunb. 'Rose Glow'

    1 Betula utilis - multistem 200- 250cm Container grown

    1 Ceanothus thyrs. 'Skylark'

    1 Choisya 'Aztec Pearl'

    1 Cornus alba 'Sibirica Variegata'

    1 Cornus sa. 'Magic Flame'

    3 Cotinus cog. 'Royal Purple' 100- 120cm

    5 Euonymus fort. 'Emerald Gaiety'

    3 Lavandula int. 'Grosso'

    1 Philadelphus cor. 'Aureus' 60- 80cm

    1 Physocarpus opulif. 'Diabolo'

    6 Potentilla f. 'Abbotswood' 30- 40cm

    1 Pyrus salicifolia 'Pendula' half standard

    1 Sambucus nigra Black Lace

    1 Sorbus aucuparia 6- 8cm standard Container grown

    1 Trachelospermum jasminoides 125- 150cm

    8 Achillea fil. 'Cloth of Gold'

    5 Allium afl. 'Purple Sensation'

    5 Allium 'Mount Everest' Bulb

    5 Anemone Wild Swan

    20 Calamagrostis acut. 'Karl Foerster'##

    10 Crocosmia 'George Davidson'

    7 Echinops ritro 'Veitch's Blue'

    3 Foeniculum vulgare 'Purpureum'##

    8 Geranium 'Rozanne'

    7 Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola'##

    5 Helenium 'Moerheim Beauty'##

    3 Nepeta 'Six Hills Giant'

    6 Ophiopogon plan. 'Nigrescens'

    10 Persicaria aff. 'Darjeeling Red'##

    3 Santolina chamaecyparissus

    11 Sedum 'Autumn Joy'

    6 Stipa tenuissima##

    5 Verbena bonariensis

    4 Polystichum setiferum##

    9 Galanthus nivali

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,085
    The only one of those which wouldn't be reliably hardy here where I am, is the jasmine. Some wouldn't care for my rainfall and clay soil, especially over the cold winter months [ the santolina for example] but in the right spot would be ok. 
    Probably all perfectly fine where you are, assuming your soil is in good order and isn't heavy or waterlogged  :) 

    You must have a large garden!  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,105
    Yes agree with @Fairygirl you must have a large garden .I am always concerned that landscape gardeners over plant and by year three it can look overcrowded  .I used to work as a gardener and have seen this for myself. Is the plan to edit some of these plants in the future to give the more permanent plants space to grow. Keep this list as it will be critical as the garden develops.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze South NottsPosts: 1,105
    @Jane4985 Just to add it is impossible to predict the weather some years we do get late frosts. I would personally go with your designer. Planting as late as May can also be a problem as plants are taller and will  be more dependant on you watering them to get them to establish.  No amount of watering is as good as rain from the sky!

    Your planting list is very rounded and you have planting for all seasons. What is noticeable is that the plants need very different soil conditions, I guess you have a warm corner of the garden. One plant you might like to add is Sarcococca or sweet box for winter scent.  A large pot of annuals such as Tagetes Cinnabar or maybe salvias will give you more colour in high summer. Going forward, a garden that has been planted by a designer will need to evolve unlike a newly designed room. Nothing stands still you always need to be one season ahead with your gardening plans. Good Luck
  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 6,059
    I agree, most of those will be fine as long as they've been grow hard, outdoors on the nursery and not been forced or coddled, or at least have been properly hardened off before delivery. It sounds as if you're spending a lot of cash on plants so it would be wise to ask before accepting delivery. If they're used to outside conditions, I think they'll establish better planted sooner rather than later, before they get into full growth. 
  • Jane4985Jane4985 Posts: 6
    Thanks again for your input and I will chat with my designer and see if we can arrange something more in line with his views.  Yes it is a large garden I attach pix of...

    1. Top end near house which has always been developed. Taken before blooming of shrubs and Wisteria unfortunately. I am about to rearrange some of that myself. 
    2. Bottom end, beyond pergola that divides garden, before development. I had tried various plans over years but when I got designer in last July I just left it as it was. It was seven months before landscapers could start work (booked up). I cleared all weeds and the last pic .. 
    3. Now it is finished and awaiting planting up. (For some reason pix did not display in order I labelled them).

    Picture was taken wide angle so it would all fit in. Makes it look much longer. I think it is about 13m by 10m from memory. 

    Whole garden is around 150 feet. There will be a large stone or sandstone sphere solar water feature in the far bed in front of the arbor. Everything was recycled gravel and bricks/stone/slabs that was already there.

    You are right about the constant work in gardens. Thanks for taking the time to comment and give your suggestions. All gratefully received. Roll on Summer.

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