Begginers help

Hi, just wondering if people can offer advice on what the best sources of information are for a total beginner to gardening?

I enjoy being out in the garden and pottering, planting/weeding/pruning etc, but have no real gardening knowledge base or experience, which ordinarily hasn't been a problem.

However....we're hopefully...if all goes well.... going to be lucky enough to be buying a lovely new house soon...only it happens to come with an absolutely stunning garden that has been well tended and even won local garden awards. I don't want to let it go to ruin after all the years of work that has been put into it and would like to learn how to keep it and maintain it etc.... but where to start..... I was weeding in our rental garden today and realised I wasn't even sure if some plants were weeds or not....and started to get worried about my lack of basic knowledge!

So can anyone recommend some good videos or books etc to get me started?

This garden is on a steep slope, is pretty large, has wisteria on the house, roses, all manner of beautifully pruned shrubs, including a huge holly bush, and other climbing plants and many pots - not sure if any of those are staying or not.

So we will have to hire someone to at least trim the hedges as there's no way I'm letting myself climb ladders and use cutting machinery, but otherwise I'd like to do as much as possible.


  • PalaisglidePalaisglide Posts: 3,172

    Ellerslie83, believe it or not charity shops are a wonderland of garden books often never opened, people give them as presents they sit on shelves and end up in the charity bag, check them out.

    My library of well used books give masses of information even though I am from the old school of gardeners, you never stop learning.

    One bit of advice when you get your new garden is do nothing in a hurry, do the weeding and tidy it up but watch the plants develop flower go to seed, make notes, see what is working and what needs adjustment, you will be there for a long time take a long time to weigh things up and alter slowly as you put your personality on your new garden and we all do that.


  • LynLyn Posts: 8,376

    I am so pleased to hear that you are going to keep the garden much like it is, so many people move in and dig the lot up to put their own mark on it.

    The people that bought my last house, dug up one of the big lawns and covered it in paving slabs, enough for 4 patios! I felt like asking them if i could have the plants back.


    Anyway back to OP, i find the internet a wealth of knowledge, lots of pictures, including weeds,  i do have a good pruning book and an encyclopedea of plants with pictures.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 19,717

    A book I had many years ago which was very useful is Alan Titchmarsh's 'How to be a Gardener'. It gives lots of basic information and advice. Something which will  help with identifying various shrubs, trees and plants would be useful - the RHS have several books of that type. I have the Reader's Digest one which is very good too. 

    And don't forget you can take pix and put them on here for help with anything you want identified, and if you're unsure of anything  - ask questions, as there are loads of experienced, helpful people here who will answer them  image

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 7,192

    I used to use the Readers Digest Gardening year a lot - it prompts you what to think about each month.  I also take two gardening magazines ( GW - obviouslyimageimage - but also the English Garden).  And these days i use this forum - never failed me yet !  Its like having a load of gardening experts at your personal beck and call 24 hours a day - LOVE it image

    Really hope your house purchase goes through, and that we start seeing loads more of youimage

    The Stone Age didn’t end because they ran out of stones ......
  • I have nearly 80 gardening books on my shelf (I live far too close to RHS Wisley) but the one that comes off the shelf more often than the rest is Alan Titchmarsh's How to be a Gardener.'

    I would also recommend:

    The Gardener's Year - A month by month handbook from Alan Titchmarsh.

    RHS New Gardening - Matthew Wilson

    It might not be the best book for beginners but one book that I have read more than once is 'The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer' by Stephanie Cohen and Nancy Ondra. Love dipping into this one!


  • Thank you everyone! Makes me feel a little more confident, I'll look out for the books you've all mentioned!! image

  • Not much more than what everyone else has suggested,i have not been gardening for long but fast learning,the world wide web is full of information,Gardeners World on T.V and this forum has been a great help so far,also i find a great idea is to do what i have i walked around my neighbourhood and saw some wonderful gardens full of variety so i knocked on the doors introduced my self and explained i had took up gardening as hobby and asked for some advice i now have two new friends with bags of experience and knowledge best of all same weather conditions which is a massive help image

    sorry i lost my self a bit there image

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