Please help me design my garden - part 1

We completely cleared the jungle that was there when we moved in but now need to figure out what to plant, and I have no idea where to start!  This post is to ask for help with my flower bed, but I have other posts for the other edges.

Last year I planted a couple of rose bushes (which are still alive!) and some other bush that I don't know what it is. Also some marigolds that did ok.  Now this year I want to think more long term - I would like to plant some flowering perennials and other pretty but easy plants.  It only gets around 2-3 hours of sun a day, and the soil quality isn't great (but I can't tell you whether it's alkaline etc as I have no idea) but I think it has good drainage.  I wish I had planned better as rose bushes probably aren't the best option for a beginner, especially with young children running around.  I don't want to spend too much money.

Here's a picture if it helps:

 Any suggestions of plants much appreciated!


  • Laura PLaura P Posts: 7


     Sorry here's a picture if the link doesn't work.  Thanks!

  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Any garden centre will have a soil testing kit for about £5.00 apparently according to this forum you should use water from the water butt (rainwater) to activate the kit; according to Gardeners Question Time on Radio 4 you should use distilled water. My jury is still out on thisimage

    Once you have tested your soil you will know whether you can plant acid loving plants like Camellias and Hydrangeas and some Heathers, (but not all). My soil is pretty alkali so I plant accordingly; if I want an acid loving plant it goes in a pot with 'ericaceous' compost.

  • -- Posts: 88

    Your soil looks nice, why not some easy stuff like Lavender, Salvia (there are

    many types and colours, many of them perennial), perovskia, some dependable and

    adaptable shrubs like Spiraea and Skimmia, colourful foliage like Heuchera and 

    Tiarella. All of these are easily available and won´t need much care.

  • amadan10amadan10 Posts: 1

    How about two or three lupins near the back of the border. Collect the seeds at the end of the season, put them in an envelope and sow them in a tray next Spring. You have some more plants and some to swap with friends. Perhaps friends might be splitting perennials and will give you some "chunks" to plant. Good Luck!

  • greenp12greenp12 Posts: 5

    Hi Laura p 

    My tip is if you have children don't plant shrubs with thorns, berries, and are poisonous, all should be in the attributes and if you like perennial plants go for the cottage garden look, there are lots of online stores, but try the T.V.channels i did saved pounds 

    One thing I learnt is get the children invoved and the younger the better 

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 12,114

    There are lots of different sorts of perennial geraniums which are pretty and very easy to grow, also veronicas, penstemons, campanulas. Have a look on Google or a gardening book and look in your local garden centre. The plants often have labels that tell you about their care as well.

  • You must teach your little ones that nothing, I mean nothing, from the garden must go in their mouth.  My 4 year old understands this, my two year old does not. 

    You could try things like red-hot poker, delphniums, hollyhocks etc at the back of the border - I wouldn't plant lupins, as the seed pods contain very shiny black seeds that might be mistaken for berries by little ones.  Things like scented pinks, ground cover lillies, snapdragons etc can go at the front of the border.

    I've not read the rest of your posts, one thing I would say is if you have little ones, now is the time to start teaching them about food.  You could get a trough planter and put things in there that are quick to come up, like radishes, spring onions, resistafly carrots and lettuces - then they've made their own salad (and if they've grown it themselves, they're more likely to eat it, if you have fussy eaters).  Strawberries can be grown very successfully in stackapots or hanging baskets, so can outdoor tumbling tomatoes, if doing these you need to get on with it pronto, tomatoes should really have been sown last month, but you should have enough time provided they get sown in the next couple of weeks, or you could buy some small tomato plants from a nursery or GC.

    This year I am growing Pumpkins with my little ones, as the one I bought last year for halloween was a big hit, we kept it for over a week (it started going funky so we had to throw it out).

    Just be very careful that you don't grow anything too toxic in case your little ones aren't old enough to understand the dangers.

    Another top tip (one I passed on last Friday), is if you have a trampoline, instead of putting it up over grass, cover the ground with weed-supressing membrane and then cover it with bark chippings, you will get fed up of hauling a trampoline around in order to mow underneath it!

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