Help needed for a gardener wannabe!

My New Years Resolution is to learn about gardening and make a start on the garden in our new house this year!  I'm quite excited but I've a lot of learning to do so I shall be asking lots of silly questions about different bits of my garden I'm afraid!  Here I'm asking about my west facing border of my drive in the front garden.  It's about a foot deep and two car length wide.  Our wall is made of malvern stone and the other side of the border is a bit of grass before the concrete drive.  We chopped down a few trees last year but have two blossoms remaining.  It looks like theres loads of bluebells growing already.  I'm thinking of planting some rock cress on the wall, crocus, albums, black mondo, and lavender, maybe some Tiarella.  Whats peoples thoughts please?  

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  • PerkiPerki Rossendale - LancashirePosts: 1,544

    If it was my border I make it wider, a bit more impact then. 

    I personally wouldn't bother with black mondo, I think it would blend in and get lost with the wall being quite dark colour as well. Tiarella  spring sympathy really nice maybe with some alliums purple senation. Guem - Astrantia roma / shaggy- geranium rozanne / ann folkard  for summer colour 

    Maybe some crocosmia  for late colour 

    winter colour like a viburnum tinus - hellibores.

    Unfortunately I cant zoom in to see what else you have. It look like you have two flowering cherry but I cant tell.

  • You're so right about the black mondo. It's not the right place for it. I shall look up the other plants you've suggested. I've spent the morning clearing out the leaves and rubbish and pruned back the fushia in the far left corner. My first day of gardening!!
  • Dave MorganDave Morgan Posts: 3,124

    Liz don't get too enthusiastic just yet. Wait to see what comes up. By the way fuchsia's are best pruned in spring, after the frosts, which by the way are about to hit us. Reason, the old branches provide some protection to the plant, plus if you haven't identified whether or not it's hardy you may lose it.

    ID what you have first then look for plants to either compliment what you have or rip it out and redesign it.

    I'd spend the next few months reading as much as you can and finding out the pH of your soil, then decide suitable plants, and creating the right conditions for them. It's too easy to run away with it plant things then they don't thrive.

    Welcome by the way, there are no silly questions here, just friendly advice all the way.

  • Yes. I'm discovering the gardener is a friendly person! I know it's just bluebells in that bed, a couple of roses that hadn't been touched for about a decade so have been chopped/pruned to the soil line when the trees were cut down and a fushia both ends. We only moved in in October but have seen the garden since last March when it was incredibly overgrown as the house hadn't been lived in for about 6 yrs.
  • PosyPosy Posts: 1,560

    Two big questions to sort out first: what sort of look do you like? There are so many options, so take the time to look around, read the books and think about what you want. Second, how much time and effort do you want to put in? Some of us here spend every spare minute working away, some would rather sit in the garden and enjoy looking at it and some have to fit it in to work, kids, other interests and so on. The key thing is that it is a pleasure and not a chore or a worry. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy every bit of it!

  • I work full time and have 3 boys who all fill our evenings and weekends with clubs and parties so not much time at all. I can dedicate a couple of hours a week as me time and time in the fresh air. I like the more formal structured look for this house. It's a mid century house we've recently renovated and tried to make it look modern. I like sleek lines and structures more than cottage garden style. I like bamboos, aliums, and herbs etc
  • PosyPosy Posts: 1,560

    My goodness! You will certainly need plants that look after themselves. Bulbs and lavender are relatively easy and there are other shrubs and grasses which will give structure but others on this site will warn against bamboo, some of which can take over the whole garden. I would avoid herbaceous perennials: they are lovely but labour intensive. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,399

    HI Liz - if that was mine, I'd either make it wider to give more scope, put in a hedge, or keep it very simple with repeated planting of a structural type to keep it easy to maintain. I'd personally opt for the last one.

    You won't want to spend much time gardening there if you have a back garden and a busy life. The back will always take priority, and a straightforward neat front garden is an asset. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 8,235

    Hi Liz - I'd second the advice of waiting to really find out what you've got there before making any decisions.  I'd also spend the next year peering over your neighbours walls (in the nicest possible wayimage) to see what grows well for them.  You don't have to ape their style, but can use the plants that are good doers in your area in your own way.  Good luck - and let us know how you get on - we love a before/after story image

    We did not inherit the earth from our grandparents.  We’re borrowing it from our children.
  • Black mondo grass can be used in part shade ie an area of shade that has sun for 2 to 4 hours. I have it growing well under a damson tree and it complements variagated hostas hat I have there  very well. If you plant it in groups of 3 or 5 it will contrast well IMO 

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