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Rented property - new to gardening


I have recently moved to rented accomodation (hopefully long term rent) where I have a garden....well...sort is a patio with two flower pots (two old sinks) and 3 flower bed's with a patio in the centre.

I have been waiting for the weather to get a bit better to start work on it (landlord doesn't mind) and today was the day. I've attached some pictures of it and the work completed today but would like some advice about how best to get it to work for me. I would like to grow my own vegetables and herbs with some flowers. 

There are three yucca plants which are irritating as hell but think I will need to keep them. What can I plant around everything? Some help on identifiying some of the other plants would be great too.

Sorry for all the questions - first time gardener here!

My work today

Annoying tree

Dead bramles/tree

Any help, much appreciated.



  • That really has the potential to be really lovely. I wish it was mine!!! Can't advise because I think there are people better qualified on the site to give you advice. It really is a nice little speck you have there william and I am sure you will enjoy watching it take shape. Maybe reading some gardening books will help. Alan titch marsh has some good ones out and not expensive. I found going through these books gave me ideas and it really was a very enjoyable journey.
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  • figratfigrat Posts: 1,619

    I think the annoying tree is possibly a bay, and with a view to your wanting to grow veg/herbs, you might want to keep it. You can reduce it's size..., (and if you do, keep the leaves for cooking) Another thought is that as bays do tend to have a suckering habit, have a poke around and see if there any babies coming up, so you could junk the big plant but still have some bay to use.

    I can see why you want to keep the yuccas, but in my experience they are rather spiny and do encroach on what looks like a potentially very pleasant space to sit out in. Maybe you could keep one?

    It does have a lot of potential, I would think about maximising soil fertility (especially if you want to grow veg) and thinking about how you want to use the space. In an enclosed area like this, scented plants would be lovely, maybe you could have a look around for some lily bulbs and plant them in containers. Alys Fowler is very inspiring with spaces like yours, you might want to have a look out for her books 'The Thrify Gardener' and 'The Edible Garden'...or borrow them fronm your library.


  • The bramble won't be dead (unless you're very, very lucky).  Next thing to do is dig out as much of it as possible, and keep on top of any shoots that pop up.  I'm waging bramble wars myself (on a much larger scale).  Like others have said, that has the potential to look fab.  You could train climbers up the back wall to hide it, if you want to be productive perhaps a an apple or pear tree on a dwarf root stock, or even some raspberry canes (depending on what you like most).  Things like tomatoes and strawberries can be grown from hanging baskets.

    I think for now, I'd keep on top of the weeds and see what pops up when spring arrives.

  • I agree that it's a fantastic space full of potential and you definitely have some good 'structure' there to build on. "The annoying tree" looks like a bay to me, so it will be useful, and you can prune and shape it so that it is less "annoying" once you've had a good think about what you want it to look like.  

    The 'dead brambles' look like a climbing rose - do you know anyone who gardens and knows what they're doing who could help you to prune it properly?  If not we'll have to see what we can do by remote control image

    As for the sort of tree near the climbing rose, if it's alive it won't be long before it has some leaves on it, then we can work out what it is and what you can do with it.  

    As for what you can grow there .... do you like runner beans?  Lovely fresh ones not the soft withered ones you get in the shops.  Or maybe you prefer French beans (like bigger versions of the fine beans you get in the supermarkets)?  Either would grow well there, climbing up amongst the other things already there, and giving the place a really lush tropical feel.  You could grow some salad leaves too, and a courgette plant, and certainly some herbs.  I think I'd grow some Morning Glory vines in there too - they'd look fabulous image

    Gardening in Central Norfolk on improved gritty moraine over chalk ... free-draining.

  • Check out they list all plants and where to put what and where and are ideal for beginners and upwards. Their plants are superb quality. I have used them for several years and they help with design aswell.

  • I forgot if you keep the yuccas you could go with a jungle theme and choose bright hot plants providing you get lots of sun in the patio. I had something similar 15 years ago  and so don't forget vertical planting. Apart from climbers, put planters on the walls and fill them with trailing tomatoes and geraniums and marigolds dotted about the vegetables in the beds and pots for everything else. It's amazing what will grow in a pot. You could even plug a pot and make a mini water feature and see what comes in? In no time you will have a small oasis of colour, scent, food and wildlife.....and somewhere lovely to sit.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 22,617

    I would be inclined to get rid of the yuccas, they take up a lot of room and have very sharp tips. Does it get much sun? Or is it shady? You could keep a jungly theme, hostas for shade, canna lily for sun. Perhaps a non invasive bamboo and a fatsia japonica. Could the yucca in the last picture be a cordyline? It looks softer and less prickly. And, of course, climbers. Some herbs along the front of the beds and a pot of tumbling tom tomatoes.

    Dordogne and Norfolk. Clay in Dordogne, sandy in Norfolk.
  • If the dead bramble is a bramble, it's stem will be brown, if it's a climbing rose, the stem should still be green, and almost perfectly round.  A bramble will have some flat edges, so when it's cut across, it looks a bit like a hexagon.  A bramble will also be hollow inside at this time of year, a rose won't.  That should let you know if it's a rose or a bramble.

  • Wow! Thanks for all the suggestions! I will give them all some thought and come up with a design plan for review! Good to know I can trim that bay tree though!

    Thanks everyone

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