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My tiny back yard

TheGreenManTheGreenMan Tyne & Wear Green Belt Posts: 1,566

Hello! Let me start by saying I know very little about gardening and plants/trees/bushes etc! I dabbled as a teenager by completely transforming my parents' garden (spending pocket money and many hours) from a grassy, nettled, wasteland into something resembling a quaint cottage garden; but I think that was mainly luck, a south facing aspect and good soil. Fast forward twenty odd years and I find myself currently renting a Tyneside flat (google it!) with a tiny back yard. 

I've been here almost a year now and have finally got around to "doing something" with the tiny piece of outside space I've been blessed with. 

I'm really looking for help with putting the right plants in this east facing yard. It gets sun first thing until about one o clock when it then goes behind the bathroom extension. At around 4pm it the pops back on the other side of the yard for a couple of hours. 

I have no grass, soil, borders (it's literally just concrete, walls and a fence. 

Apart from an unknown, yellow-flowering, bee-loving plant growing out of the wall, everything is in pots. 

So. I'm seeking help. What would do well in this concrete oasis?! I have a Cyclamen that is still in flower. A Hebe Marylin Monroe, an Andromeda, a newly purchased Acer, a Hydrangea, an old Christmas tree and some Jasmine. 

Suggestions please on plants that thrive in pots, in a semi sunny yard in the North East. 

Thanks in advance. James. image

Last edited: 21 May 2017 09:16:09



  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404

    Hi James - you could easily grow sweet peas in that location. Get a few big pots, put in some tall canes, and fill them with a good compost. They would be perfectly happy. Bit late possibly to find any in GCs now unfortunately, but you could grow some yourself for next year. They'll give you some height through summer as well as scent  image

    Hostas will make good specimen plants too, and since you don't have loads of soil around, you should be able to keep the dreaded slugs and snails away more easily! I grew a Ligularia in a pot for quite a long time as I didn't have the right spot for it. They like damper soil and sun, so you should be able to replicate that. Thereare a few different varieties - mine  is Britt Marie Crawford and has big glossy plum foliage, olive on the underside, and stems with multiple gold/orange daisy flowers which bees love. Phormiums will also be fine in pots long term, and would give you some all year round structure if you want that. Grasses will be fine - carexes in particular. Some of the gold/cream variegated ones are good and also evergreen.  

    For height - there are lots of clematis that can be grown in pots, and those will give you a succession of  flowers if you pick a couple of different varieties. If you take a look at some of the specialist growers online sites, you'll get the most suitable ones for  your situation. Taylor's, Hawthorne's and Throncroft all have great sites and you'll be spoiled for choice. Richard, who runs Hawthornes, is a regular contributor here on the forum. If you start a thread for that separately, he might see it and offer specific ones, but you'll get a few suggestions from other members anyway, I'm sure. 

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

  • IamweedyIamweedy Cheshire East. Posts: 1,364

    I would go potty. Grow as much as possible in pots. All sorts, from cheap and cheerful nasturtums which thrive in poor soil and you might be able to sow them in the little bits of soil you can find . Anything which will trail over the edges of pots would make a big difference .

    I remember my grandparents back yard in the 1950s they had a border about the size of yours and the same sort of walls around it. They always had some small bedding plants in.  Rather boring stuff but they felt they needed to plant something .

    'You must have some bread with it me duck!'

  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,157

    Raymond Evison's Boulevard Series clematis are specially for pots and are lovely.  I was going to suggest hostas too - we have many growing happily in pots.  Box does well too - you could try your hand at some topiary image  Some of the hydrangeas like a partly shaded spot - particularly the white ones, and they will really shine out in your space.  Its going to look fab image

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page  - St Augustine
  • chickychicky SurreyPosts: 10,157

    Just to add ......think about the size of your pots too - if you get big ones at the back you can have several tiers

    There are some great sites for container gardening - try googling Whichford Pottery or Harriet Rycroft for some inspiration......

    The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page  - St Augustine
  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Tyne & Wear Green Belt Posts: 1,566

    Thanks, all! I didn't expect replies so quickly! I'm off to a local garden centre I've just discovered and will use your recommendations ?? I'll keep you updated with pics. I would be interested to know what the "mystery" plant is that grows out of the wall. We had a family of leaf cutter bees who loved it last summer. When it flowers again I'll post a picture.  Thanks again for the great advice. J. 

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639

    Hi Jamessyaersbrown, did you say a yellow flower growing out of the walls? Are they very small? If so, it might be corydalis Lutea? Although, it should be flowering now....

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404

    I was thinking possibly a  bit of broom,  Borderline, as they often seed about in the right conditions, but you could be right  with that. Broom would be flowering now too, but bees wouldn't be interested in the foliage - just the flowers. 

    Just had a thought - the little poppies are around just now - they grow anywhere. Welsh ones at  this time of year I think. image

    Last edited: 21 May 2017 12:08:21

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

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,639

    Hi Fairygirl, yes it could be broom or even the poppies. Some plants flowers later and some earlier I suppose. Would be great to see a photo. 

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,404

    The poppies sprang to mind there, as we have some on the grass  verges where I work and I noticed them on Friday looking very pretty image

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

  • TheGreenManTheGreenMan Tyne & Wear Green Belt Posts: 1,566

    Re: the mystery wall plant. I took a picture last summer......image

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