Here is a small sample of the sort of questions that people ask us about their gardens.
If you would like someone to come in and help with problem areas, planting in the right place or planning a garden for particular needs, then we’re here to help!
“We have just had to fell a wonderful oak tree in our garden, as we were ordered to do so by an insurance company because of subsidence. There is now an area approximately 60cm diameter that we have to blend in to the garden. What can we do?”
If you have any of the wood left, you could start making a stumpery. Any large roots and logs that you have are piled into a pleasing shape. The gaps are filled with soil and then planted with woodland plants such as ferns, Anemones, violets, fox gloves, columbines, or what ever takes your fancy. The wood itself will provide a refuge for beneficial garden creatures such as toads and beetles and you may even get a robin nesting in one of the gaps.
“There is an area outside my back door which is damp and shady. I’d love to see some colour there but the usual bedding plants and shrubs always look spindly and weak. What can we plant there?”
There are many plants will thrive in these conditions and there’s no reason for it to look dull. Pulmonarias will brighten the area in spring, kept company by hardy ferns, Euphorbias, bleeding heart and cyclamen, to name but a few.
“We have a good sized garden, but part of it always gets very dry and bakes hard in summer. The plants we put in only last till mid-summer and then give up the ghost. Is there anything that will grow well and look good”
Some plants thrive in dryer areas. There are many lovely Geraniums that you could grow for ground cover, as well as grasses and Euphorbias, Achillea and some of the Verbenas.
“Why do my heathers always die? I’m really careful but they never last more than a few months!”
It sounds like you might be planting them in a soil which is too limey for them. Heathers like an acid soil and won’t thrive in a soil with a high lime content. You can either grow them in pots of ericaceous compost and sink these into the ground or look for other plants that will grow well in your type of soil. We can easily test your soil for you and recommend a wide variety of plants to suit it.
“I really like roses and have put in some new plants where some old roses have been, but they started to look terrible quite quickly. What happened?”
Old roses often leave behind what is known as ‘rose disease’ so that if you replant with roses where some have been taken out, the new plants will soon die. If you want to have roses in the same place, it’s better to remove the soil and replace it some that has had no roses growing in it.
“What can I grow up a exposed north facing wall that will give colour?”
There are several suitable climbers that will be happy in this situation. The self-clinging climbing hydrangea (Hydrangea petiolaris) will produce white flowers held in bunches, with bright green leaves. The quince plant (Chaenomoles) is also very pretty and will produce flowers from pink to orange to red in late spring. If you’re lucky these will followed by green apple-shaped fruits that will turn yellow in autumn.
“Our garden has very little privacy. What can you recommend that will grow quickly and make a barrier between us and the road?”
A good choice would be one of the flowering currants, grown as a hedge. Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ is fast growing, with attractive lobed leaves and clusters of white flowers in spring.
“My father is getting on in years and isn’t able to get about as well these days. How can he keep his garden but make it so that it doesn’t tire him so much?”
If your father still likes to potter about in the garden, it might be an idea to create some raised beds so that he doesn’t have to bend. If they’re at the right height, he could even do bits of gardening whilst seated. Other areas can be planted with closely grown, low maintenance shrubs, whilst colour can be brought in with bulbs and hardy perennials.
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