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Overwhelmed by large new planting area



  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,162
    I look forward to seeing photos as the project goes along @Cecelia-L :)
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,759
    Cecilia, You’ve received some great advice and encouragement so far so I won’t repeat any of that, but you mentioned that you didn’t want this new area to be an isolated feature, so I think it’s really important to consider how the new area, the rest of the garden, house and crescent terrace all relate. There may be opportunities to link these areas via paths, hedging etc. and, although these can be implemented later, when you are designing the initial layout is the time to identify those and incorporate into your grand masterplan 😊 

    Given it’s length, I would be tempted to split each of the beds surrounding a central circular feature into further squares/rectangles with formal paths in between. So four square or rectangular beds with nibbled out corners around your central feature then a further four at each end, something like this, with the outer beds stretched to fit the overall dimensions:

    The central circular (or oval) area could also be much more prominent, taking bigger bites out of the surrounding four beds and perhaps incorporating a seating area. Have fun playing around with shapes and options on paper until you are happy. Then, mark it out with sticks/string to get an idea how it would look and feel walking through it, how it looks from the terrace etc.

    Take the time to find out the preferred growing conditions of each of the specific varieties of your plants and also their ultimate height and spread as that will help in their placing and in what you need to do to amend or improve the soil in each area. For example, if you chose to plant your roses in the four beds around the central feature, they love manure so dig lots of that in there. Some plants are perfectly happy anywhere on any soil, while others prefer poor soil and really good drainage.

    How much space your roses need depends on their type - and specific variety within that type - are they tall, upright hybrid teas, sprawling shrub roses or compact floribundas?English shrub roses do tend work better in a mixed border than in formal rows, hybrid teas may be better placed further back so you can plant in front to hide their bare legs. I’d want the ones with the best fragrance near the seating area... 
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 103
    I just admit I have never grown peonies but only admired on garden tours. Just two weeks for all that effort!  :'( I have been obsessed with having my own peonies, it was love at first sight and I am obsessed:D 

    Fantastic insightful advice thank you! 
    I love the idea of having an oval shaped centre as opposed to two smaller circles. I could have a focal point in the centre and gradually slopes down in height. Or perhaps turn to sitting area if I find the work unsustainable. I don’t have time to sit down and enjoy just yet, so much to do! 

    I love the idea of a centre oozing with tulips in the spring and a summer flowering shrub like hydrangea, or perhaps mock orange for the fragrance?
    It’s quite silly of me but I have lost the order confirmation email for the roses. And I haven’t bothered to label any of them. Now I am stuck with 30 nameless roses. Trying identify roses without the flowers is rather tricky! 

    Some are showing buds so hopefully I should at least be able to categorise them by colour. 

    Will definitely post the photos once I have pegged out the design! Would love to hear what everyone thinks of it. 
  • NollieNollie Posts: 6,759
    30 nameless roses, oh dear, that’s going to be fun sorting out. If you remember where and roughly when you bought them, try emailing the supplier to see if they can trace your order and resend you a copy. If you had a list that would be a good start!
    Mountainous Northern Catalunya, Spain. Hot summers, cold winters.
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Labelling the plants as you go and keeping track of where they are is important, esp as you plan over the years.
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 103
    @Nollie great idea! I still have the despatch note! They are all from J Parkers. Lovely online shop. Only one rose died and that was because I didn’t pot it properly. 

    I used to think labelling is such an unnecessary faff but now I absolutely agree that labels are quite important part of gardening. Especially since my memory is not what it used to be!  :p
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,280
    I worry that you are maybe making this a bit too complicated, for someone with your knowledge base. That is not meant to be rude and am sorry if it seems so.
    With such a large bed, rather than some really complicated design, why not stagger your Roses, which are obviously your key plant and then interplant with perennials, including your beloved Paeonies?
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 103
    not at all offended, I am aware of my limitations  o:)

    The train of thought began with the issue of access for weeding and general maintenance of the sheer amount of plants. Stagger the roses and perennials was my initial idea but the space is much too large for simple staggering. It will end up looking like a rose farm. 

    The six meters in width means I can easily fit five rows of staggered roses along the 30 metres. Meaning I would need 150 roses to fill the space. Even with the peonies it will still be too much like an agricultural space, much too boring even for me. 

    The discussion came about to come up with a design that has all year long interest, easy access for weeding, reduced maintenance and pleasant looking. 

    The garden as a whole has already been designed and hard landscaped but this space is simply labeled as flower border, then husband accidentally on purpose doubled the width! Consequence/revenge for my nagging I

    I am aware installing seating area, swing, pergola, seats etc sound awfully complicated, but that’s not my priority yet, if at all. 

    It is my intention to use this opportunity to learn and try to set a solid foundation, something to start from scratch, something I could be quite proud of in years to come. I find the advices insightful and extremely valuable. I am quite confident I can pull it off, I always do, it may take a while but I will get there  ;)

  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    edited May 2022
    Have you tried mapping out the border yet?  I find it's the best bit - sketching out, imagining, flip charts, graph paper - brain storm a lot of ideas. Knock ideas around a lot before deciding. Thinking about soil types, sun movement, winter months, irrigation, succession and your own pleasure. 
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 103

    This is my first sketch! The aforementioned terrace is right next to the flower bed. Having ovals or circles inside the flower border doesn't seem to go with the flow of the rectangular area.

    I have added a discreet stepping stone path at the back of the border allowing the front half to be a respectable 3.5m in width. Two curved paths to echo curve of the terrace. 
    Rhythm established with the viburnum tinus in the very back, each about 1 metre wide. Hydrangea in front and in between to soften things up. 
    Peonies planted right by the stepping stone at the back. When not in bloom will act as a subtle "invisible" green background. Hydrangea should be tall enough to be seen still. 

    Curved path to be edged with lavender. Roses in the middle section, multi-coloured for the time being and replace with better colours in the future. perennial and annuals on the other two beds with layering technique. Right now I am thinking Nigella everywhere to create uniformity. Perhaps a different annual (direct sowing) each year. 

    Focal point: have not decided. Love the idea of having birds so maybe a large bird bath. Or an urn, maybe another flower hedge to design the space. 

    I am sticking to the everything is best in three rule. Open to the possibility of having three bird baths, one in each bed, to create another nice beat (rhythm). 

    path: creeping thyme perhaps. It will be low traffic so thyme should be okay!

    It's past midnight and I have ran out of creative juices, but the brain will probably think all night while I am sleeping! 
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