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Overwhelmed by large new planting area

Hi all, 
To satisfy my ever growing need of buying more plants and to rescue the poor overgrown plants in pots, I have constructed a new growing area that is 6m by 30m. West facing wall. Well draining, well I hope it’s well draining as I put 2 feet of top soil on top of existing ground to create a raised bed, but without a physical border such as a railway sleeper. Window behind it which can’t be blocked completely so I only have about 1.5 to maximum 2 meters to play with. Not shaded at all but could be quite windy. 

Now what do I plant in it? I have a random collection of flowers that I purchased over the years while reading and learning about gardening, but I feel I still don’t know enough to start?
I would like the peonies and roses to take centre stage. Got some perennials to go with it from secret gardening club, so a random selection. 
Do I plant the rose bush in front/behind/next to the peonies? 
What do I plant behind the flowers? More flowers or evergreens? 
Should I construct a box hedge to protect them from strong wind? 

Thanks all! 


  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120

    I have spread some dried long grass clipping as mulching last week but the wind blown most of it away now! Read online that dried grass clipping is supposed a great long term slow releasing fertiliser but must react with oxygen to work. But they just don’t put! 

    Should I plant roses  in a straight line, or maybe S line (wave) and slot peonies behind it? In the front of the border or middle of the border? 

    I have 12 peonies (sarah Bernhardt, coral charms and edens perfume) which I am keen push as the stars of the show. But have to be mindful of the short flowering season compared to roses 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    Have you got a photo @Cecelia-L ?
    How is the bed constructed? If you've added 2 feet of soil without any edging, how is it staying in place?
    In most places, west is where the prevalent wind comes from, so unless you have shelter somewhere nearby to filter that, then yes, it will be quite windy - depending on where you live. An exposed area at even quite low altitude is very different from a garden in a town. Sutherland isn't the same as Surrey.  :)
    Peonies like a good sunny site if possible, and good drainage, so they'd prefer a reasonable site where they don't have other plants shading them out too much. Some evergreens will be useful as supports too, otherwise many of the perennials will need supports put in, depending on their size and type.  The size of the plants when you put them in, is also a factor. If they're all tiny ones in 3 inch pots, they'd benefit from being grown on until bigger before planting out, to give them a good chance of survival. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120
    Thanks for the first reply! I a new to the site for any public forum really, and must admit it’s quite exciting to be watching and waiting for replies!  :D

    The peonies are only little babies, bareroot I got this winter and currently  in pots. The idea was to plant them straight away, according to a guy on YouTube. 

    A mini landslide at the edge is inevitable in the future so I must somehow stop that. Not sure how to do it yet. Maybe a little three or four course brick wall as edging? Then a box hedge or lavender hedge to further reduce damaging winds? 

    I live in rural Nottinghamshire, very high up and very cold. A good 2-3 degree colder than urban areas. Wind is a serious issue but I haven’t experienced anything yet as I haven’t stated planting properly yet. Not sure how to create a natural wind barrier nearby as the hedge is quite a distance away. 

    The perennials are currently in the veg bed, much to my husband’s chagrin, but looking quite contend. They all die back to virtually nothing during the winter. I am hoping they are not the type that needs physical support 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    edited May 2022
    I think it would have been better to get the wall in first. Difficult to do it later. The golden rule is always to do hard landscaping first. Keeping a proper division between it and the surroundings is always a good idea, especially if it's grass, to prevent the grass creeping in   :)
    A box or lavender hedge won't really help filter wind, so it would come down to the hedging/trees/shrubs you have elsewhere, and how effective that is will depend on how far away they are, and what size.
    You'll probably need physical supports for the plants, unless they're all low growing, and you have nothing bigger than about a foot. Peonies will certainly need some support as they grow and mature   :)

    I've just seen you added another post while I was typing earlier. It's worth adding a lot of organic material to that before planting anything, especially if that's just been grass. It will pay dividends. Extra mulching as regular intervals is also beneficial. 
    Grass clippings are better used in the compost bin IMO. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120
    Six mysterious viburnum, not sure what’s it called. Pretty white flower clusters in its heyday 

    96 potted dwarf Pomon dahlia grown from seeds. Inspired by a thread on here. Purchased from Kings seeds. 100 % germination rate but the cat killed a few seedlings. 

  • FireFire Posts: 18,951
    6m by 30m is a huge area to plant in. You put in two feet of top soil on 180 square metres? I suggest considering taking a portion of that area to start with - maybe 3mx3m perhaps near a door, and start with that. You will learn a lot from that first bed.

    How long have you been in the property?
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    Viburnums generally get very big, so you'd need to be careful with placing those. They like decent moisture too. 
    A few smaller evergreens would help, and would give you interest over winter, especially if you're using that room a lot that overlooks it.
    A huge bed of perennials is a lot of work, especially once they all mature. Many need dividing to keep them thriving. Your dahlias will probably need lifting and storing over winter too.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120
    @Fairygirl invaluable advice thank you 

    In terms of planting pattern, is it better to plant in clusters or straight lines for roses. I understand roses need room to “breathe” so plant them in a long row? Then perennials in clusters for maximum effect? 
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Posts: 87,860
    edited May 2022
    Hello … this is going to be a great adventure … but no need to rush … if I were in your shoes  I’d have a look around the Internet and see what sort of garden areas you like the look of and then show us what you’d like to aim for. It doesn’t have to be ‘totally plants’ … it might be nice to have a little paved or gravel area with a focal point such as a bird bath, or an arbor to sit out in … that would help to give the area some sort of structure …. 😊 

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,789
    I don't grow roses, so I can't offer advice about them, but if you want to plant anything in drifts, you have to take time to positions everything. Repeat planting is key in a big area. The same plant, in groups, repeated through the length. 
    I'd agree with @Dovefromabove - take time to see the overall look you're aiming for. Nothing but perennials will be very empty in winter. You may want to attract birds nearer the house, so planting that encourages them is a good idea, as well as the aforementioned bird bath  :)
    Bear in mind that if you have lots of small plants, you need to leave enough room for them to mature. You can always plant some annuals, or sow some seed directly over the next month to fill gaps. Bulbs for winter into spring will also help to extend the season, so you can add those around your perennials in autumn while they're still small, and they'll grow together nicely. 
    We have a gallery thread here too, for people to post photos of their gardens

    That may give you some ideas  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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