Why does my garden look raggedy?

I was wondering if anyone else's garden looks a bit raggedy after all the May / June perennial flowers have finished?

I'm beginning to think something is wrong in my garden (or I'm doing something wrong!).  I started the growing year by replenishing the borders with my own homemade compost, putting in slow-release fertiliser (Vitax Q4), and mulching with Strulch.  For awhile my garden looked very good.  But now, many of my plants seem to be suffering a bit - wilting or browning or yellowing leaves, lots of snail damage, little growth.  In general, the garden looks a bit rubbish (my honeysuckle is turning brown.  I don't know if it's just that the roses and geraniums have had their first flush and other spring flowering plants are done, or if it's suffering from lack of feed / water / sunshine, or even too much water.  I try to water well at least once a week.  Last year I seem to remember July was filled with flowering plants.  

On the plus side, at least my Japanese anemones are developing flowers...



  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,122

    Have you chosen perennials which flower in just may and june, or ones that flower at different times?

  • I didn't think I did - I have a large number of roses, foxgloves, verbena bonariensis, African lilies, a number of perennial geraniums (Johnson's Blue, palmatum), hydrangeas, delphiniums, oriental poppies, salvia, veronica, aquilegias, rhododendron and camellias ...

    I know that some are strictly spring (i.e. the poppies and aquilegias and ericaceus plants) but I'm concerned about why even the plants which are flowering (or should be about to flower) don't look particularly healthy.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Not sure where you live, but the very hot dry weather takes its toll, it makes alot of things go over before they should, i doubt you are doing anything wrong, my garden looks a little tired too image
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    Have you got a photo of the plants?

    Mine looks a bit raggedy but if I were to cut off the finished flowers, (and do a bit of weedingimage), it would soon look a lot betterimage

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    This is an oppotunity to buy some nice late summer plantsimage
  • DovefromaboveDovefromabove Central Norfolk UKPosts: 42,722
    bekkie hughes wrote (see)
    This is an opportunity to buy some nice late summer plantsimage

    image image

    A society grows great when old men plant trees whose shade they know they shall never sit in - Greek proverb 
  • Thanks for the reassurance, bekkie.  I live in London and the garden is south-facing, so you probably are right.  

    I'll try and get some photos to post, nutcutlet.  Perhaps my problem is that I cut back all of the spent flowers / foliage, and now it's exposed all the plants who seem to have been suffering (perhaps from the competition).  (I too completely understand the bit about weeding...!).  Also maybe I simply need to add some annuals for more colour, as you say...

    Would it be a good idea to water the plants with some seaweed feed?

    I also wonder if the compacted soil is part of the problem.  I did loosen it with my own compost earlier in the year, but it's still become very compacted.  Perhaps adding some more might help rejuvenate the bed?

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    It cant be that bad, def need pics image

    I find seaweed feed is always a good idea, i also use sm3 from the organic gardening catalogue is very good, not trying to be patronising, dont get the leaves wet when its sunny image
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Oooh just thought i bet you can grow stuff that lots of us can only dream of! image
  • image












  • Oops, I put titles, but they don't seem to be appearing:

    The top picture is 'The Sad Wisteria'

    Below that: 'The (Also) Sad Daisy'

    then: 'The Emptying Border'

    then: 'The Depressing Anemonopsis Macrophylla'

    then: 'The Dying Acer'

    finally: 'Finally, a Flower'.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    That wisteria looks scorched

    The daisies are pretty inderstructable, should get better, be sure to dead head

    The anemopsis looks poorly, might have a fungal problem, cut back and tlc should sort

    It looks like a mulch has been put on too close to the plants, just genyly scrape it back a little

    The acer dosent look great, but that could be for the reason above, or it could be in the wrong spot, where is it?

    That rose is a stunner!

    As far as that bed looking empty, all thats happened is everything has done its thing, its a good chance to fill the gaps image
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 24,024

    I think you need some more substantial and reliable plants. Anemonopsis is a woodland plant that may need acid soil, I can't keep it. 

    Acers are not competitive in a border, easily swamped in the early stages and a bit inclined to scorch in the sun.

    Nice rose thoughimage

    Something in the cheap and cheerful range would bulk up the planting and make it look more generous


  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Are you set on a cottage garden style? image
  • LynLyn Posts: 8,062

    You can overfeed , soil can replenish itself and what you may have done is raced your plants on, they are finished now. Please.... dont feed them, they are going into their rest period now, they will be twice this size next year, just leave them to rest.. 

    Next year, grow some annual seeds, just to fill in the gaps, but you should find that they will spread from the roots and grow big. 

    Gardening is a long learning curve, take your time, dont give up.


    The lupin looks very small to have been planted out, i like to get mine biggef in pots before planting out. They stand a better chance with slugs.

    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    This is the perfect time to sow things that will flower this time next year, i k ow it sucks to wait, but its cheaper and many say the plants grow better when they were " born" in your garden.

    Have a look on the plant shop sites like crocus or t&m for ideas, ive just grown eupatorium for next year after seeing it on a garden visit image

    Agapanthus may do well in your garden image
  • Thanks so much for all your feedback and advice!  bekkie, yes, I typically favour a cottage garden (but open to suggestions!).  Lyn, that's a brilliant idea and thanks for your encouragement.  Perhaps you're right that it raced on.  This was how it looked a few weeks ago (so much better image).  Oh well...








    The acer doesn't have much around it and is in my woodland, shady border (with the anemonopsis).  

    Think a trip to the garden shop is in the cards image

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    You have a beautiful garden, i think they all reach a point where a littl tweaking is needed, im in the process of digging lots of mine up- it looks like a building site! image
  • Thanks so much bekkie!  Good luck with yours! image

  • pansyfacepansyface PEAK DISTRICTPosts: 10,227

    Your garden is (was) gorgeous and will be so again, next year. All gardens have a best moment. Mine is just about there now, but I wouldn't dream of showing anyone round it in August. image

    Apophthegm -  a big word for a small thought.
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