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hello from a completely clueless newbe

Hi all, I purchased a new house this year which has a reasonable sized garden for a urban plot and since then I've had loads of ideas for it but no clue what I'm doing. Not exaggerating either I have no idea where to start! I've looked locally for beginners gardening courses but they just don't seem to do them where I live so I'll have to learn as I go, hopefully with the help and advice of the wider community (that's you guys and gals ????) It's hard to describe what I have to start with. I have a end plot in a culdisac so my garden is a iregular shape, kind of long and thin but the boundaries are not in line with the house and to one side it goes out at about 45deg. Hard to plot out but I'll try and upload a rough picture. I don't really want a steriotypical garden with a patio and boarders around the edge but hopefully the shape will help me with this At the moment I have a boarder to the left with a apple tree (no idea which type) some bushes (again no idea which type) a lovely well established rose bush with pinky pettles, what I think is a lily below it that is not doing well in the shadow of the rose bush, anot her large lily with stunning red/orange flowers, a white lily that I put in and a well established bamboo bush. My mum has bought me a palm which is I a pot until I know where it is going and I have some holly bush cutting's growing in pots that I have been given. Oh and there was these lovely flowers growing that I Googled and I think they are called lords and ladies All the plants are down the left at the moment and produce a nice screen from my neighbours garden as the fence is 3ft tall. The garden is north facing and heavy clay. It's already starting to get boggy so I'll have to think about that as well. I quite like a more tropical leafy look and orangey tones and I've been to the garden centre but was a bit overwhelmed to be honest. My budget is also low so it's going to have to be a bit at a time but I figure that if a get a plan together and get the planting done first it will have time to get established as I do the hard scaping around them Well that was a long introduction so thanks to anyone that bother to read it. I'll post some pictures later but I am open to any advice that anyone wants to share


  • GussGuss Posts: 8
    Wow all my paragraphs have merged. Sorry that makes it alot harder to read
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Hi Guss and welcome.  You'll find most of us are quite mad, but we do know a lot, between us.  If there's one thing that gardeners like more than gardening it's talking about gardening!

    Given that you have heavy clay, the best treatment is to spread as as much organic matter on it as you can lay your hands on.    Well-rotted manure is best if you can get hold of it - if there's a riding stables nearby and you can beg or borrow a trailer, you can tip it on at the rate of a barrowful per square yard.  Garden compost is also good of course, but you won't have any of that yet: your local council maight be able to supply large quantities, made from the green waste that they collect.  Whatever you use, put a thick layer on top and leave it for the worms to do the digging in for you.  By the spring your soil will be improved.

    Has your apple tree had fruit on it in the last month or two?  Does it look well-looked after or neglected? It would probably bebefit from pruning during the winter.

    Others can advise on the pretty stuff - I do muck and food!

  • GussGuss Posts: 8

    Ahh back on the laptop, much easier than the phone. hopefully this is more successfully than my first post,lol.

    Here is a crude drawing of my garden lay out.

    2015-10-27_01-35-24 by Russ Hale, on Flickr

    And here is a couple of pictures of the garden now

    20151027_132639 by Russ Hale, on Flickr

    20151027_132928 by Russ Hale, on Flickr

    We do plan to extend the house out by about 3.5mtrs to where the shed is so need to take that into account when planning the garden

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Take the Gardener's Question Time advice and plan your garden out with bamboo sticks and a flexible hose on the ground.

    I would wait until your building work is done, as depending on the type of work it will probably spread further than you think and builders can be very careless about what they stand on.

    You don't say what type of garden you want. Children, pets, easy-care, colourful, muted, for entertaining, relaxing, pond? That's just for starters!
  • GussGuss Posts: 8

    Hi Steve,


    My Apple tree did produce apples this year. They didn't look that appetizing to be honest so I didn't try them. My mum thinks they are crab apples but my next door neighbour thinks there beauty of bath. I haven't got a clue.

    I don't think anything was looked after my the last owner of my house. I know he didn't plant any of them. I pruned some of the lower part of the tree, again I had no clue what I was doing but my mum pointed and I cut. I couldn't reach any higher so I will need to invest in something to reach up there. Will I need to do it yearly?

    The boarder where the tree is has weed mat covered with stones. I other boarder also has weed mat but covered with wood bark. I think this one was done by the last owner as so far I have found paving slabs and fencing material buried under it. I think I will have to remove it, clean the rubbish and start again. I was going to dig compost in but are you saying that I just need to put it on top? Would that raise the soil level as I do not want to rot the fence posts away?


  • GussGuss Posts: 8

    Hi WelshOnion,

    The building work won't be for a year or two yet but the builders are family so I trust them to take care.

    My garden will be mainly used to entertain and relax in. I plan to include a outdoor kitchen and/or bar and different seating areas to take advantage of the available sun/shade. I would like a less traditional feel to it and I prefer plants along the lines of palms and bamboo over the more traditional English flowering plants. I do need a lawn area for now as I have a 4yr old but not as much as I have now

  • WelshonionWelshonion Posts: 3,114
    Just you wait until you bring in your 4 year old's stuff and he needs room to ride his bike!

    IMO both bamboo (a dreadful spreader unless you chose the right variety) and palms look alien in an English garden. But that's only my opinion!
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    The grass looks in q good nick, Guss, so that's a good start.  If you want to reduce its area and increase the size of the borders, cut it into rectangles then skim off the top inch or two with a sharp spade and stack the turves upside down, covered with something,  for a year or two to turn into loam - i.e. good quality topsoil - which you can then use elsewhere.

    If you want to dig in the manure/compost, feel free, but it's not necessary and it's bl**dy hard work in clay.  I'd leave it to the worms.  If you're worried about the fence posts rotting, just leave a little clear bit round them, surrounded by a couple of bricks or something if you need to.

    If you take a few close-ups of the apple tree I can tell you how it needs pruning (although that's best done by someone on the spot).  Do you also have any photos/descriptions of the fruit?  And when they were ripe?  That might help someone identify the variety.

    If there's buried rubbish, it'll have to be removed: that's somethimg to warm you up on a cold winter's day image

  • GussGuss Posts: 8
    My phone clearly does not like this forum. I'll get some closer photos of the tree at the weekend for you as I'm back at work tomorrow
  • Steve 309Steve 309 Posts: 2,753

    Sounds like a plan.

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