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Raised bed ideas

Hi, I've been reading the posts in this Topic group with interest and am looking for advice. Having just bought a house I am trying to figure out what to do with the neglected south facing garden. 

I have a couple of packs of wildflower seeds I was given that I would love to use but wasn't sure where to try sowing them. Then today I cleared a small raised bed that was choked by weeds and it dawned on me that as it's outside the kitchen window it might be a nice place to put them to try and attract wildlife.

We're not living there yet so working from memory I'm estimating it at 6ft wide, 2-3ft deep and height of 3-4ft although not sure how deep the soil goes.

Does this sound like a goer or is it too small/too sunny/is there something I'm not considering that means it isn't workable? I was also thinking of using other established plants and/or small shrubs in the same bed.

I'd be grateful for any advice or suggestions on this as I have loads of ideas for the garden but as this is my first I'm low on knowledge about practicality!

Thanks for reading. TC


  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Derbyshire but with a Nottinghamshire postcode. Posts: 16,472

    Are they perennial wildflower seeds or annuals for wildlife?

    Perennials can be sown now into cleared ground.

    Annuals would be better sown into a cleared area next March.

  • That's a very good question, I think they are perennials but not sure. The packets are round at the house. I'll check tomorrow. I know one of them definitely suggested they could be sown in the autumn.

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Your garden sounds like it will be perfect for growing almost anything, most gardeners would love a south facing plot image

    What would you like to grow? Flowers, veggies?

    Phacelia tanetifolia is a good thing to start with, its a tallish plant with beautiful blue flowers, an annual but quite tough, and it can be dug into the soil if you want to, this will improve the soil image
  • WateryWatery Posts: 388

    Perennial wildflowers grow best in low fertility soil but cornfield annuals are find in high fertility soil.  If you are trying to grow other things there, consider what soil type you need/want.  I think  most mixed wildflower packs are generally cornfield annuals (poppy, cornflower, corncockle, corn camomile.)   Have you considered herbs?   You can grow native herbs like wild marjoram, which in a recent study was found to be a much better insect plant than buddleia, chives, lemon balm (with seeds birds eat), thyme etc.  Borage has edible flowers.   Bees and butterflies love them and you can use the herbs.  Rosemary and hyssop are great small shrubs-- rosemary has early flowers and hyssop blooms around now.   I, too, am a novice gardener.  I've spent lots of time on the internet reading about things but putting it into practice, well... I'm a bit haphazard and  messy as a gardener.   Good luck.

  • Thanks for your replies. I am stupidly excited by having a garden at last, and got a bit too enthusiastic about getting a compost bin and starting it off today!

    Overall I veer towards the cottage garden look rather than anything too formal, but think it would look odd in a small 1970s estate garden. At the bottom we have a shed with a space next to it that will home little 'un's wendy house. There should be enough space for a little patch between the two for her to grow some easy to raise flowers and veg. She sowed some lupins today, pack said sowing ok in July so hoping they are a bit forgiving. I'm also planning on growing some veg in containers.

    For the main part of the garden I need fairly low maintenance and love structural plants with attractive foliage and flowers. My daughter has vision and hearing problems so I want to make it quite a sensory experience, lots of colour, contrast, scents and textures.

    This raised bed is really for my enjoyment as I stand at the sink, but will also be pretty stimulating for her. I checked the seeds and they're a mix of annual, biannual and perennial. The Phacelia tanetifolia looks great, can see already that I'm going to need a diary to write down what I should be planting when!

    I have inherited a couple of planters with herbs in (mostly colonised by grass though) so have thyme and mint already. I love the idea of more herbs, especially so conveniently located. I'm going to have to start a proper shopping list.

    Thanks for all the ideas!

  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Have a look at sites like crocus, then have a look on the thread called wish list for seed and plant swap, there is usually someone happy to send you some of the things on your wish list image

    A sensory garden sounds great, possibly more something to start next year as there are lots of bright/scented/edible flowers you could grow, there are even thornless (or very close) roses that could be used.

    Dont worry about if the style suits too much, there are ways of making a cottage style planting scheme look a little more formal, but its your garden, you should have exactly what you want image
  • bekkie hughesbekkie hughes Posts: 5,294
    Watery made a good point about herbs too, they dont need to stay in a bed by themselves! They really look good mixed in the borders, and are a great sensory experience image

    Sorry for going on a bit, am exited for you too! image
  • Lol, just signed up for crocus and on the first page I then came to was a big link to butterfly and bee attractors. I hadn't heard of the site before so will take a look around. The wish list sounds great too, might wait until I have something to offer in return or I'd feel a bit cheeky!

    I do have a bit of a dilemma around roses, as virtually the only livings plants we have are roses. They're beautiful but very thorny and madam also has balance issues so not a great idea unless I can figure out how to put a buffer between the lawn and them.

    I have been toying with popping some of the more ornamental veggies like some of the lettuces in beds with flowers, don't mind mixing things up a bit.

    So sweet of you to be excited for me! I know my nan is delighted, but as the daughter of a head gardener on an old estate she was raised into gardening (not too keen on these new fangled ideas and plants she's not seen before though, bless her)

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