Debatable gardening in witches land

Yup, lots of you know me already. I am the foreigner who lived for years in Cornwall and now lives in Germany. I try to apply what I learned from gardening in warm and humid Cornwall in a cold and harsh mountain climate. With disastrous results. With great passion. And with the belief that one day my garden will remotely look like all your pretty pictures.

What was five years ago a storing site for building materials and home to three massive, huge, out of control, five meters long, four meters wide, three meter high hedges, is now the vague promise of a garden. One can at least see that someone is trying. Very hard.

Due to the harsh climate the growing season is here delayed. These pictures were taken a week ago. I was so happy that my twenty crocus bulbs had shown up and flowered... and then I saw the pictures... and I despaired...

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  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Don't you get much hotter summers though in Southern Germany? Cold winters and hot summers are what Eastern american plants appreciate so why not try those rather than ones suited to cornwall?

  • Dear Invicta2, you are correct that I have to try and find plants that are suitable for this climate. There two minor problems. One: I do not live in Southern Germany. The summer is indeed very hot, but also very short. Confusing the life out of my simple brain.

    Two: the gardening culture in Germany is pretty deplorable. They try to go at it as if they are developing a new chemical formula and as we all know, that doesn't work. That means I have very little reference points.

    I will keep posting here throughout the year and any ideas and suggestions are welcome. In the meantime, I keep trying with a lot of va-va-voom, lots of great ideas and many disasters.image

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    I used to live in Bremen Garden Viking, we lived there for some years in the 1980's and what I remember is snow, snow, snow but very nice summers spent larking about in the Harz mountains which is my favourite place ever!

    We didn't have a garden at that time but I remember that friends had very nice gardens with lots of evergreens. Evergreens did very well and provided a good all year round background looking nice in the snow too.

    I think that the first thing I'd do would be to put a sound evergreen structure in, something that you will enjoy looking at all year.

  • Lou12Lou12 Posts: 1,149

    We used to see a lot of gardens like this and people would put in annual plants for a bit of colour in summer.

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  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,660

    You aren't alone, you just need to forget Cornwall, except as an unattainable gardening dream!

    Fairygirl is in Scotland, I am high up (over 400m) in the Pennines, and our gardens are probably not very different from yours. I still have snowdrops and crocuses out and only a very few daffodils yet. Most are still to open, but other people are deadheading theirsimage. Fairygirl has posted pic's on the Garden Pictures thread that show she has something similar to Lou's suggestion.

    Our winters are generally cold (though not so much this year) with ice and snow and cold nights well into May. Daytime temps aren't always that great either, and in between it rains a lot. You may be lucky and have a more reliable continental climate, with less rain and warmer summers, even if they are short.

    I haven't gone down the evergreen route, as I enjoy stunning views of open country and have lots of lovely bare tree silhouettes to look at in winter. Instead I use a greenhouse to extend the growing season and enable me to grow plants that would not withstand either winter cold (like salvias) or the wet )like echinaceas. My garden is slowly coming to life now, it will erupt in May and June, look good through July and August, and in September be mostly dying back and reliant on autumn foliage and berries. October to February there is little to see in the borders, despite my best efforts with late and early flowerers.

    Finding plants that will survive is partly research and partly trial and error,as every garden is diffferent and different parts of your garden may have different micro climates. Check RHS hardiness ratings for plants and also look at the American climate zones to find the best match for yours. There are some good US websites where you can find info about growing plants in their conditions.

    Take heart, don't give upimage Find yourself a couple of nice hardy evergreens and resolve to plant lots of Spring bulbs next Autumn. They will survive most things and wlll come up when the time is right. Hardy geraniums come in lots of different sizes and colours and are very tolerant of different growing conditions, so is Alchemilla Mollis, which has greeny yellow flowers that combine well with any other colour. Ask lots of questions, but ignore Verdun's answersimage, they are great advice for southerners but don't always work for folk like usimage

    Sorry about the essay, hope it helpsimage

  • Invicta2Invicta2 Posts: 663

    Gardenviking

    Sorry I assumed you were in Southern Germany, your mention of a harsh mountain climate made me jump to the conclusion you were in the Bavarian Alps [with the added jealous thought of how can he moan about that]. I still standby my suggestion of eastern American plants which resist far colder winters than Germany.

    Small trees include Amelanchiers, eastern Dogwoods [Cornus florida] and if the soil is acid Snowbell trees Sorrel tree . Kalmias, are evergreen and relations of Rhododendrons but much hardier. Herbaceous plants include Trilliums [Wood Lily and Wake Robin], Dicentra cuccularia [Dutchman's Breeches], Cornus canadensis and Erythroniums [Dog's Tooth Violet].

  • Thank you all for the suggestions. I will keep posting here and hope that eventually I get a bit of control in my the garden.

    Lou12: I live in the Harz. I know it is a fairy tale landscape and I love it. And I love gardening and one day I will love my own when I have learned how to. image

    Invicta2: I gathered you got the wrong mountains and that is fine. And I do love living here. No moaning about that. I might be an old woman but I am also so young that my gardening experience is that below a novice. Hence the interesting problems in a culture where gardening is often considered a necessity and not a hobby.

    Buttercupdays: Your essay was by the way very helpful. I appreciate anyone dealing with similar climates and I very much appreciate all the info. I am trying to get the seeds in the 'greenhouse' going in the hope that it will produce enough annuals to cheer the garden up this year. (1st June I get married and the party is in the garden... the way it looks now, it is not going to be a cheerful party...image).

     

  • Last night I popped into the garden and was pleasantly surprised by a single daffodil that I can't remember planting. The magnolia is looking like it wants to flower soon and a single primula is standing lonely next to the garden path. Every time I walk into the garden it is a nice surprise to see what has now come to life. One day the garden will look like one sea of plants and flowers... one can hope...

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  • LynLyn DevonPosts: 15,269
    Never give up hope with your garden, there's always something that will grow well, look at what pops up in the Himalayas,

    My daffs are just coming out as well, and a few primroses, you would think living in Devon everything would be ahead, but I am also high up 960' and windy on the west side of Dartmoor, so I suppose that keeps it cooler. And the plants later.

    You'll get there, mine here was covered in brambles and ground elder only four years ago, now I it's lovely, always need more beds thoughimage

    Oh yes! And a 100' conifer border hedge that's now a long border.
    Gardening on the wild, windy west side of Dartmoor. 

  • LOL, hope is what keeps me going...

     

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