Designing/filling newly created border!

Hi all, 

I'm Karen, new to this site, although I've been lurking for a while soaking up all of your knowledge image 

Also new to gardening. I have made a conscious effort to alter my work/life balance and want to make my garden look nicer. 

My ideal garden would incorporate an ancient oak tree, lovely bright flowers and perhaps a meandering stream. I would be based in the countryside too obviously. With no noisy neighbours! 

However, I can't move presently (elderly mum needs frequent visits) so I shall 'bloom where I'm planted' image - or try, at least. 

My front garden is the one I'm focusing on, the back is just a yard. I have a very large established conifer tree with an extensive (and spreading! for sunlight I know) Senecio Sunshine, now known as Brachyglottis, underneath it. I'm fairly happy with both. Especially as the conifer is helping to hide the OH's metal motorbike shed! (It IS green metal, at least image ) 

I'm attaching a picture showing our long fence. There used to be a privet hedge there and the ground there has never really recovered. The lawn seed wouldn't even grow. So now we have a long raised bed with wooden sleepers edging it. I am pleased with it. 

However, FINALLY getting to the point! I am a little nervous now at how to fill what seems to be a massive space! I'm wondering how I make sure there is interest all year round and I guess I'm a little daunted. 

I've started a Pinterest  board and I've obviously been watching the Chelsea flower show. 

Rhodedendrons, roses and climbing hydrangeas seem to grow well around here if that helps. My Spirea's, one died and one looks only slightly better. 

Has anybody got any advice on putting everything together? I like peonies, aliums, climbers (was thinking of attaching a trellis halfway along the fence, or perhaps even two?) roses. Quite fancy a euphorbia pasteurii - looks very interesting. 

How easy is it to grow echinacea? Looks lovely, the green and red. Stipa gargantia also has me intrigued. So there are lots I like but do I just throw them altogether? image

image

In the far corner, I have pre-existing plants, namely a Nostalgia bush rose (doing well, yay I planted something which survived!) and a Rhodedenron, which we dug up from MIL's garden - also surviving and now flowering. These are pretty close together because at the time of planting that was the only space left haha. Should I be thinking of spacing them out? 

Here: 

image

I appreciate this is a very lengthy and rambling post. Well done to those who read it all. 

Hope someone can advise me how to bung everything together. I'm wanting to plant a few things at least during next week. 

Last edited: 25 May 2017 17:57:50

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  • Oops, the new bed is SE facing. In shade from house first thing, but mid morning to mid afternoon in full sun. The fence provides shade in the evening. 

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 3,503

    Roughly what size is it.  From the photo it looks about 40 ft x 3 ft.  Is that about right?

    As it gets pretty much full sun all day, as far as planting is concerned, the world is you lobster as Del Boy would say.

  • Good guess! 42ft by 2ft . Which sounded great, in fact I was concerned it wouldn't be wide enough but it looks enormous now. 

    Thanks :) 

  • WillDBWillDB Posts: 1,884

    I quite fancy a Euphorbia pasteurii too - great looking plant! Don't overlook the more common E. carachias though.

    Anyway, to pull the bed together you'll want anchor plants with all year interest (not necessarily evergreen, could just be a good silhouette, bark or berries). Think about repeating plants along the border, drawing it together. Grasses are great for that. They also add texture and help to calm down colourful flowers. Re your flowers, think about colour harmonies and contrasts, and consider the shapes too; e.g. the solid flat heads of achillea with fluffy or vertical flowers. On Chelsea tonight the presenters had Salvia Caradonna and lupins behind them, exactly the shade of blue-purple, and a similar flower shape, but a contrast in size. Very tasteful! But don't sweat it, you can always shift things around as you go along and finesse things. 

  • CloggieCloggie Posts: 1,177

    If it were mine, I'd deepen the border and grow various climbers over that whole fence.  

    Then again if it were mine I probably wouldn't have taken out the privet but then I'm a sucker for a privet, just love that call back to yester-year and the way you can clip them into a smart, tidy, green line down the edge of the garden.  They don't rot and don't need painting (they need clipping twice a year though) and they don't blow over in high winds.  They also provide a place for hedge sparrows which a fence doesn't.

    So, to make the fence more wildlife friendly I'd plant a load of stuff that covers it in green.

    If you need anything else in front of that wall of climbers then the border needs to be deepened.

    Just my opinion, and this is the place for opinions.

    Hope this helps give you options to help you decide on a plan.

     

  • WillDB says:

    I quite fancy a Euphorbia pasteurii too - great looking plant! Don't overlook the more common E. carachias though.

    Anyway, to pull the bed together you'll want anchor plants with all year interest (not necessarily evergreen, could just be a good silhouette, bark or berries). Think about repeating plants along the border, drawing it together. Grasses are great for that. They also add texture and help to calm down colourful flowers. Re your flowers, think about colour harmonies and contrasts, and consider the shapes too; e.g. the solid flat heads of achillea with fluffy or vertical flowers. On Chelsea tonight the presenters had Salvia Caradonna and lupins behind them, exactly the shade of blue-purple, and a similar flower shape, but a contrast in size. Very tasteful! But don't sweat it, you can always shift things around as you go along and finesse things. 

    See original post

     

    I've just been googling your suggestions.  I like the idea of repeating plants :) Loving the achillea - hadn't seen  those, but they're now on my radar. 

    I had paused the TV when they showed the Salvia Caradonna and added them to my list too! My problem seems to be I like too many plants!! image 

    Thanks for your help. 

  • Cloggie says:

    If it were mine, I'd deepen the border and grow various climbers over that whole fence.  

    Then again if it were mine I probably wouldn't have taken out the privet but then I'm a sucker for a privet, just love that call back to yester-year and the way you can clip them into a smart, tidy, green line down the edge of the garden.  They don't rot and don't need painting (they need clipping twice a year though) and they don't blow over in high winds.  They also provide a place for hedge sparrows which a fence doesn't.

    So, to make the fence more wildlife friendly I'd plant a load of stuff that covers it in green.

    If you need anything else in front of that wall of climbers then the border needs to be deepened.

    Just my opinion, and this is the place for opinions.

    Hope this helps give you options to help you decide on a plan.

     

    See original post

     So, if I grow climbers there'll be no room for any other plants?  I have a climbing hydrangea in another part of the garden which doesn't seem to need much space but I guess I may well be proven wrong on that score. I'm not changing the border now, it's screwed down etc. 

    I take your point about being wildlife friendly. We do have hedging in the back yard and of course the massive tree in the front, which is currently home to nesting wood pigeons. I do love the sound them. The privet hedge was lovely for the first fifteen years we lived here but then we noticed it starting to die off in areas. We will now have a whole border of flowers attracting bees, butterflies etc in the same space as that one hedge. 

    I'm thinking perhaps a clematis or passion flower for a trellis. We are currently being invaded by green fly so I don't really want more climbing roses as food! (I have one trained over the motorbike shed and also one on the other fence behind where I took the picture of the new bed from) 

    If anyone has recommendations for 'easy to grow' or 'hardy' plants that would be appreciated too image

  • KT53KT53 Posts: 3,503

    Being so narrow, only 2 ft deep, will mean care has to be taken to ensure that plants don't swamp each other.  You'll need to create height differences along the bed rather than the more traditional way with low plants at the front, then graduating up as you move back.

    Climbers shouldn't affect the ability to plant in the rest of the bed.

  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 2,609

    Two foot is nothing! The rose alone will fill that, the Rhododendron will grow to more than 2 metres if it's an ordinary ponticum as ilt looks to be! It will be too narrow for any but dwarf shrubs and a squeeze for larger perennials. That's the bad news - the upside is that you won't need nearly as many plants as you think you will!

    If you like the idea of wildlife, you will have to alter your take on aphidsimage We see them as a nuisance but the birds, hoverflies  and ladybirds see them as food and once you get to a happy balance the aphids don't last long!

    The problem really is one of scale. To balance the height of the fence, which is actiually a lovely colour, not one of those orange ones, you need some taller plants, which are, generally speaking, also wider plants. To make good combinations you then want/need something shorter in front, but there won't be room for that, so you will have to choose lower, medium size plants with small ones in front. If you just get tall plants you risk ending up with a row of soldiers on paradeimage

    You could plant some climbers at intervals and train them sideways to cover some of the space behind the lower plants. This could help, but you don't want to end up pruning things back all the time because they get too big for their space.

    The other issue (as I see it) is that the right hand side is all curves and the left is very very straight! You may prefer that, but for me the two parts don't fit together. If you aren't going to broaden the border you may need some plants that  will spill over the edges and lean out a little to soften it. Grasses would be good for that, like Deschampsia caespitosa  and Stipa tenuissima.

  • All the borders here are narrow so I guess that's influnced the size of this one image My OH wanted it to be a foot deep for a row of rose bushes but I insisted it match the size of the others. I can appreciate this must be frustrating for you guys - if I ever get my country house I'll post for ideas first lol image

    I'll have to work with what I have now so your ideas of using grasses and perhaps some trailing ground cover plants to soften the edges of the sleepers, are very much appreciated. I'm hoping it will look less severe when I have a few climbers along the fence, as I do agree the parallel lines of the fence top and sleepers are jarring. Even my drive has a lovely double curve. 

    Guess I'll have to try sketching what I'd like it to look like and then hope the gardening centre has something close to what I want. 

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