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Help Please!


I am a completely novice gardener. We have a small back garden which is mostly lawn, and have neglected it forn the past three years. It has a couple of established shrubs, but the largest bed is mostly weeds! I really want to invest some time in the graden this year but dont know where to start?! Any advice or guidance appreciated.










  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 29,647

    It's a bit like cleaning aneglected room.  Do the duting and vaccing and a bit of tidying and it looks so much better.

    So, tidy away any rubbish and pull or dig up obvious weeds.   Cut the grass once air temps get to above 8C and it starts to grow.  Treat it to a weed and feed which is a product you can buy at DIY and garden centres.  Read the instructions for when and how to apply it.   Keep the grass cut at least once a week, going to every 4 to 5 days in the peak growing season to keep it neat but don't ever cut it shorter than one inch as it needs the leaves to feed the roots.

    While you're shopping, buy a bag of pelleted chicken or cow manure to spread around the base of all your shrubs and work in a generous handful or two with a small hand fork so it gets mixed in to the top layer of soil and feeds the roots.

    Sharpen your secateurs and prune any obvious dead or broken stems from your shrubs and then tidy up the general shape if needed.  It's best to wait till after flowering to do any major pruning.

    If you decide to dig over any empty or new beds, do it as soon as you can and then add plnety of well rotted manure or soil improver which you can also buy in if needs be.  Then keep an eye on what's on offer at your nearest garden centre and plant some new perennials for colour with annuals to fill the gaps till they mature to full size.

    Have fun.  Sit back and admire.

    Vendée - 20kms from Atlantic coast.
    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    Thats in pretty good condition - I've seen worse. The best way to tackling any thing in life, is to be methodical and consistent in your approach.

    Choose a small section and decide if it needs just a tidy, dig or cut. With the chosen tools just crack on until that small section is done. Once it is, put your tools away and go make yourself a tea/coffee - stand and admire your work.

    With your beverage in hand, allocate your next little plot and make plans to do this another day.

    This was the best advice given to me by gardeners with 30-40yrs experience, when I was like you. And believe me, it does work ! LITTLE and OFTEN is the key here.

    Goodluck - it will look great in no time.

  • Tropical SamTropical Sam Posts: 1,488

    Do you have the Dahlia in an unheated greenhouse? My tubers are still in the garage resting, though it pushes up the odd shoot - I would like to put them outside in the greenhouse asap.

    My Dahlia imperialis is in the bathroom (south facing window) and is romping away as it is inside. I want it to grow tall this year.

  • Do the tidying, crack on. Then get a pen and paper and hot down a map of what you have and where. Speak to friends, neighbours etc and I bet you come home with no end if free plants!! But having a plan of shapes etc helps to keep your head in gear for what your aiming at. That's what I'm going to do when I change my lawn into raised beds.

    What you have is so exciting! Keep a picture diary week by week and then look back in 6 months and you will feel so proud.

    Also peek at the neighbours gardens and see what they grow well and you like And what you don't like. Be weary of rapid growing things that can take over if you take your eye off the ball, like ivy, hate the stuff!!
  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,306

    The weeping cherry looks fine, the choisya might need a few bits trimmed after winter. Good few bulbs coming through. Can't get focussed on that climber and the shrub next to it. Not too bad at all. Except for the brown conifer, I'd get rid of that.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • Lots of good advice above. Also why not buy some reasonably priced containers and plant up with some showy flowers e.g a pot with 3 dahlias of one variety, plant spring bulbs in pots in autumn, hostas in pots. etc. This will give you a fairly immediate return for your efforts and a boost to your gardening morale as you tackle all the other jobs.

  • nutcutletnutcutlet Posts: 27,306

    Agree WW. A few strategically placed pots take your eye away from the bits you haven't done yet.

    In the sticks near Peterborough
  • JojoRoseJojoRose Posts: 2
    Thanks everyone! I managed half an hour if weeding this morning until the kids got too cold and wanted to come in.

    Question re the woody clematis- should I do anything with it now? Or wait to see when it flowers? There is also a jasmine behind the weeping cherry, is it ok to cut that back? X
  • marshmellomarshmello Posts: 683

    I'd personally wait until the clematis flowers. There are 3 pruning groups and it depends on which variety you have, as to which group it belongs to. But do remove dead and damaged parts if it is required.

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