Forum home Talkback

Hello and an Introduction

I live in north Northumberland in a remote farm the foothills of the Cheviots right at the north of the Pennine range.

I've a large (predominently south facing) garden with a lot of trees and with traditional English mainly hardy perennial planted borders.   I've also got an area of Rhododendrons and Azaleas that surrounds what I call my "cool area" - a "secret garden" all planted in blues and with seating in the shade for hot summer days. 

I plant always with wildlife as a consideration.  We've a huge range of songbirds and birds of prey.  We've got a lot of hedgehogs (4 litters of hoglets this year) , stoats, hares, deer.    We also are very fortunate in having red squirrels (and being in a reds protection scheme) and also even have otters in a stream that goes through our fields. 

When it comes to planting I've got to have stuff that is VERY hardy because it will either survive OR die.   I don't have time (or inclination) to do loads of watering and high level maintenance and anything described as "tender" or even "might need a mulch in winter" doesn't get a look in.

We can be under 4 foot of snow and temperatures routinely down to -18 in winter!   We have lower than average rain falls. 

I'm planting and organising new borders and look forward to seeing advice and ideas and to getting to know who knows what. 




  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Welcome Northernlass! image
  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,502

    Welcome to the forumimage

    I've had a walk up the Cheviot Hills but I always forget how to pronounce itimage

    Wearside, England.
  • LesleyKLesleyK Posts: 4,029

    Hello and welcome Northernlass.  Your garden sounds lovely up to now and I envy you all your wildlife though I know some bring problems of their ownimage  Look forward to seeing some pictures soon.

  • I've never had a problem with wildlife.  The way I see it if there's a healthy balance in nature then nothing will go out of kilter.

    If you do things in consideration of the natural environment and indigenous species then you won't do anything terribly wrong.

    Of course the deer come over my garden and I'm sure they'll occasionally eat some nice plant, shrub or tree growing there. But the environment outside my garden is much more attractive to them. 

    Likewise moles frequently leave me a nice line of mole hills across the lawn.   The housemartins crap all over the plants under their nests (and I've 73 housemarten nests on the house!) and that means their dropping damage the plants.  Same with bat droppings.  Kills anything remotely "sensitive".    But we've got so many songbirds and housemartins, swifts and swallows BECAUSE we've got a lot of insects and a healthy food chain and so if they kill a few plants with their droppings and they do me a favour by keeping the insect population down a bit and I get the pleasure of seeing and hearing birds then so be it.

    I've loads of snails and slugs and that's one of the reasons why I've loads of hedgehogs.   The hedgehogs even oblige me by very kindly having their litters directly underneath some of the best/worst plants for snails.    Only last week I "found" 4 hoglets snuggled up during the day underneath a hosta.

    But it's a small price to pay and my approach to gardening and my personal taste is that I don't like things all regimental and ultra tidy and pristine looking.  I prefer that crowded total tangle of everything look so if there's a few weeds or something dying or not doing so well then "so what".

    I do the likes of growing blackcurrants and sunflowers and leaving fruit and seeds on just for the birds. 

    I've a lot of planting for insects and to attract the birds etc.  I've all the usual suspects like sedum, budlia, escalonia, honeysuckle etc and some of the more unusual or unfashionable.  I've a couple of huge inula magnifica which are loved by insects and bats.      With the wooded area, I keep it quite wild in terms of grass and plant growth and that's where we have red squirrels, woodpeckers, stoat etc.



  • SalinoSalino Posts: 1,609 delightful... I'm not sure I'd want 73 birds nest on my but otherwise it sounds a lovely garden and I admire very much the way you manage it...or don't manage it too much... and a lovely part of the country...

  • When we first moved here 15 years ago the house had been empty for 2 years and so garden was totally overgrown.   It had originally been very well planted and laid out but it was a mess.  So the first year was all strimming and hacking things and digging weeds out and then waiting to see what plants were where and going to come through.

    We had distinct areas and I wanted a very traditional English country garden with zones.   We already had 2 wooded areas around the lawns and with a load of snowdrops and daffodil bulbs planted but I've planted hundreds more bulbs and so that comes up with waves of bulbs and as the year progresses.  Starting with snow drops, then crocus, daffodils, tulips, blue bells.    The first two photos were taken earlier in the year just after the snow had melted.




     Underneath a mountain of earth and weeds I discovered a paved area with an ancient old mill stone that is about 300 years old and I wanted to make a feature of it and because it's in a cooler part of a south facing garden I thought it would be nice to make a "cool zone" and plant colour themed for "cool".   So I've done that all blues, lilacs, silvers and whites.
    The photos that follow start with that area as it is today and go back in time to when I first dug it all out and started planting it.  

    This is my favourite area to sit and read when it's been a hot day.  I've put a couple of benches and tables secreted away in the shade.










     My last "project" was / is a raised bed flower border to attract bees and butterflies.    I'll get some photos of that too because I'm still looking for ideas for that.

  • This time it's a raised bed flower border to attract bees and butterflies.   It started life as a 17th century dry stone wall which marked out a field perimeter.  Nowadays it's a wall at the bottom of the garden and beyond it is horse paddocks, then crop fields and rising up to the hills.   Because the natural views are all greens and yellows, I prefer to keep those colours out of my flower borders and go for something bright.  Hence my cool (blue), hot (red) and whores bedroom (every colour) borders that I showed you before.   This time I've decided to go for the pink spectrum.   From the palest peach and dusky pink through hot cerise pinks to bright deep almost reds.

    The raised bed is about 50 yards long, south facing running east to west so it gets sun all day and because it's raised it's going to drain well. We have a below average rain fall here too.   So I've filled it with tonnes of well rotted horse manure compost and dug into good fertile top soil to help it retain the moisture it will get.   It's always windy here and it's likely to get 2 foot of snow dumped on top every winter so that made me go for lower height hardy perenniels.  

    Because there's a lot of flowers in the pink spectrum that have great scent there's a lot that naturally attracts butterflies and bees so I decided to consciously select for that.  So masses of sedums, agastache, valerian,  geum, liatris, dwarf lupin, salvia, diascia, malva.  If it's pink, hardy, low and attracts insects I'm buying it and planting it.  My strategy is always to swamp a border with plants so the weeds don't get much of a chance and so last year was preparation and starting planting and this year more planting and positioning and it's starting to come to life.   I'm ultimately wanting a tangled wild look to it.   Though there's a heck of a lot of planting to achieve that.

    I seem to be having a problem posting photos and am getting error messages so I'll come back and try later and edit the post.

  • Victoria SpongeVictoria Sponge Posts: 3,502

    Wow NLimage It looks amazing...

    Wearside, England.
  • image









     I couldn't edit my earlier post.  Is there a time limit on when you can edit?

  • WOW!

Sign In or Register to comment.