Designing new flower gardens

Hello!

I have been reading through the forums for a little while and thought I'd take a shot at showing you all what I'm working with. I would love suggestions as to what course to take with my property in Atlantic Canada, hardiness zone 5b. I know a lot of you are across the pond and that's ok, I think that I need more help with designing shapes and ideas of what to do with the area rather than specific plant selections for my area.

We have lived in our home for 3 years now and have plants flower gardens along the front and sides of the house. Before there wasn't anything but bare earth. I don't know if the previous owner was a hoarder, but I've pulled everything from brakepads and glass to exhaust pipes out of the ground. I'm really happy with what I've accomplished so far, I'm sure that this and that could be moved or spaced better, the odd thing is too crowded or the colors don't flow, but it's all a learning process right?

What I envison is a flowergarden along the side of my driveway and across the front of my property facing the roadside. I love cottage gardens, how they are full and lush and laid back. I like those types of classic flowers like lupins, hollyhocks, lilacs, roses, etc. Maybe the whole thing could be backed by a fence with roses climbing over it?

I am not very good at deciding the overall shape or size of the garden. You can see in some of my photos that I spray painted a crude line with an idea, but it ended up very straight and boring. I like how some gardens have all the curves, but have no idea where to start.

I will post some photos - thanks in advance for your suggestions!

Posts

  • JulieB30JulieB30 Posts: 4

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  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,588

    Your garden space is lovely, but looks like it will have a fair amount of shade from all those trees. Phlox paniculata, astrantia and hardy geraniums are some cottagey plants that don't mind some shade. The grassy ditch at the front could be an interesting planting opportunity too - is it damp at the bottom, does it get wet at some times of year?

    The classic way of laying out curves is to use a hosepipe. That way you can take a look from various angles, then change it if need be - easier than with spray paint! Make your borders as deep as you can, then you can have many plants of differing sizes and heights. It is hard to avoid straight lines if there is only room for a single row of plants. In any case, you will need that room once you get the gardening bug!

     If you want that laid-back cottagey feel, then you have to give up on the discipline somewhat! Give your edger a rest. Plant frothy things at the front, like nepeta and alchemilla mollis, or spreaders like dianthus, that will overflow the edges and avoid straight lines.  Mix up your heights a bit, let some taller things come to the front in places,especially if they are see-through like verbena bonariensis or grasses. Have a mix of billowy things and spiky things ,and different leaf shapes too. Have fun !

  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,780
    A relaxed naturalistic planting with grasses and frothy 'cottagey' perennials in swathes would look more comfortable with your beautiful forest setting. Nice ideas here -
  • JulieB30JulieB30 Posts: 4

    Thanks for the ideas! You are right about giving up some discipline. I love a cottage feel but can be sort of OCD about keeping everything in it's place..! 

    Thanks for the link WillDB - I love the grasses in the photos.

  • JulieB30JulieB30 Posts: 4

    The ditch was full of water the day that I mowed so I had to give it a wide berth! Normally I mow the ditch and hill, it is most often full of water in the spring, expecially after the snow thaw.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,588

    Then you could grow bog plants in the bottom and ones that don't mind it drier up the banks - water irises, caltha, candelabra primulas, siberian iris, monarda, hemerocallis - lots of lovely things!

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