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Discussion Starter #1
Hi folks,

Hope everyone is having a good weekend. I am no longer able to look after my garden the way I used to and Hubby is too busy with work and just manages to cut the grass.

Over the last 18 months the garden got abit overgrown and I had someone come in last week to remove some trees and bushes and cut back the rest. I now have space for around 8 bushes or plants but I need something that is easy maintenance and won't get out of hand. I like the garden to look nice but I'm no expert.

At the moment I have a hydrangea, rhododendron, japanese azalea, pieris carnival, an orange flowered thingy and a blue one. :hehe: At the front it is more of a rockery with roses, conifers, heather and a white flowering bush.

I know there are a few green fingered lupies out there so I'm calling on your expertise to help get my garden back into shape.

Thanks in advance,

Hugz, :grhug:

Pam xxx
 

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I hate to weed!

I love gardening but too have gotten to the point of not being able to handle hard stuff. Bending and squating is hard for me now but I love my flowers. I plant only perinials so they can come back every year.
I also have plastic placed under my flowers with a hole in the center along with pine straw on top. This keeps the moisture in my flower bed and helps to keep from watering alot.
Also I have a vegetable container garden this year. My husband and I decided on that one. Am getting fresh bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and tomatoes. We placed a plastic tarp on the ground, added a rock border, bought large tree like nursery containers that have holes in the bottom. Placed plastic trays underneath so they will hold in water and have been growing the garden ever since.
So far we have not had to weed anything out and it saves me or him from bending, squating and overworking. Before my surgery I froze 8 packs of garden fresh broccoli. And ate 1 meal of it! Very tasty! No poisons either on my garden vegetables. No telling what we eat today. I am against poison on my food. I would rather eat fresh vegetables that have to be cleaned carefully than to eat something that has been sprayed with poison. Makes me wonder why so many get diagnosed with cancer! :)
 

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I'm on it!

Have a new customer in exactly the same predicament - about to plan a make-over for her garden.

Need to finish current job first, but whe have had a think will add to the many other ideas I am sure you will get!

Am slow right noe cos still a bit blurry eyed.

Current horticulture course finishes in 3 weeks so lots more time then.

Seem to have amssed a garden co=operative of around 6 people now. All job / idea swapping. Not bad for a part-timer, eh?

:love:
 

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Pam,
I am not one of the green fingered lupies, but I do appreciate gorgeous flowers. I just planted calc lilies and another lily type and they are still alive:lol: Our weather is so different from where you all are, so I would have not a clue as to what to recommend.
A veg/herb garden is also a great idea as I know you are a great cook.

Let us know what you decide on.


Hugs,
Becca
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Alwin - I did think of changing the title to say 'FAO ALWIN' but didn't want to be presumptious LOL. :foryou:

Becca - you are right, I did have some herbs before that I used for cooking so I think I'll have another area (away from the dog).

Lynn - I don't have much room for veggies but I did notice that my neighbour is growing bell peppers and courgettes (zuccini) in pots. maybe something to think about.
 

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Hi Pam,

I resorted to bulbs for spring and summer color. Like clockwork they come back every year. I also planted begonias, margarites, fushias, dianthas and peter pan agapanthas. None of these require much care.

I suggest going to your local nursery to find out what will work best in your growing zone.

Take care,
Lazylegs
 

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Hi Loopy

I have a large garden and it has felt overwhelming for obvious reasons but also it has been my saviour. Kinda Love Hate relationship due to the lupus stuff that goes on (need I have stated the latter:hehe:)

A few of the things that are mainstay and low maintainance and fill in many a gap are.

Big huge orange poppies
They come back every year despite soil and conditions. They are out from end of may down south and are still blooming now.
Cannot remember the name of them will try and up load a pic later tonight.
They are flamboyant.

Geraniums Pink and Blue/mauve
They arrive in low bush clumps and although they spread are simple and last for ages. Again May onwards.
Again will try to post a piccy later.

Lavender is brilliant
. Try not to get the one with rabbit like ears called Papillon or somethign similar . It tends not to last well unless kept sheltered in a pot over winter ( thats my experience anyway).

Sedum

The growing plant is nice and neat and round. Before any dark pink flowerheads form in around late summer , the leaves are interesting.
Again I will post a photo.

Lastly but definately not leastly!!

Bulbs /Tubers

Day Lillies.
If you have room. They grow into bigger clumps each year with orange lilly flowers that last a day or so and sucessions of other ones keep coming.
The green sword like leaves bright in colour fan out it a nice looking array.
I like the leaves whether they have flowers or not.

Lots of Iris around Have a good look at the garden centre
or Acidanthera, Think this is the Ethopian plant in name. It again has sword like long leaf and simple white lilly orchid like flowers with dark plum centres.
The perfume from these espcially on a summers evening is pure and heavenly.
I have grown them in ground and pot. Come out end of summer.

If I dont post a pic of some tonight I will try again later

Nicky:)


Adding afterthoughts....

Alchemilla mollis

This link to a picture from the bbc website does not do this plant justice....dosnt like dry ground in my experience.
www.bbc.co.uk/gardening/plants/plant_finder/plant_pages/25.shtml

Penstemon
Mine is a reddish colour but you can get lots of variety.Mine are just coming into bloom now.
They do need a bit of space but are easy to divide and replant around the garden or to give away.They cut back anyway very easily so you need not worry to much about them getting bushy, They last for ages and ages .

For a pic here is a link

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penstemon
 

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I had the same issues and found that I just planted bulbs and many different styles of containers that held my favorite types of plants. The rest of my plants I gave away to friends and family that could maintain them. I know this sounds sad but it was sadder to look at all the weeds and work I had to do.

The other option is hiring someone to maintain them if you have the extra money in your budget. This can cant very expensive if you have a large area that they need to maintain for you.

I hope that I gave you somethting that you could use.
 

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I have the wonderful aerogarden...I grew herbs to start...then the salad mix. Thinking of getting another to plant flowers. No dirt, no bugs, in the house...what more can you ask for???

Stephanie
 

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Iris pic taken May 08 early.

Will post recent ones tomorrow...
 

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Discussion Starter #11
How good are you lot! This has given me lots to think about. Thanks so much to you all for taking the time to post - I will look into every one and report back.

:grouphug2::thanx:
 

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Some Pics of the flowers I mentioned taken from my garden.
Heres hoping it works:)

URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916795_o.jpg

Sedum (pre flowering forground) Line of almost flowering lavender


URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916741_o.jpg

Poppy ( bit past sell by date)

URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916751_o.jpg

Poppy again



URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916764_o.jpg

Penstemon - Dark Pink

URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916776_o.jpg

Geraniums - Mauve and Pink - different plants - same species



DSC04215.JPG 6/10/2008

URL: http://img.auctiva.com/imgdata/5/0/1/7/4/8/webimg/141916786_o.jpg

Wobbly picture of Poppies next to Mauve Geraniums

Nicky:)
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Aww Nicky :hug: - thank you so much. The poppies are beautiful and I know that they were one of my grans favourites as was lavender.

I was beginning to think that I wouldn't be able to have any colour but now I know otherwise. I'm reading up on all the options that everyone has given and the best time to plant. One part of my garden has acidic soil so that is another factor and also if I need to buy some topsoil.

I used to have beautiful hanging baskets and I've decided to put them up again for the first time in 2 years (with hubby's help). This is turning into a mini project which I'm going to enjoy. :)

Hugz,

Pam xxx
 

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Acidic, then as your a Scottish Lass its a done deal with some Heathers!!

you have so many nice options with Ericatious (sp?) soil.

Nickyx:)
 

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Hey Pam

I was in the same dilemma. My lawn was on clay so a bog in the winter and the grand canyon in the summer (when we get one lol). So we had someone come and dig it up and put down stone.

So now instead I have pots. I would like an acer to finish it off and my husband wants a water feature but at least it looks tidy and I can sit out and enjoy it again!

Good look with your garden Pam

Claire
 

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Well Pam, I think you are right!

You have had a tremendous response from lots of people and there is little I can add.

You could begin by listing what you need your garden to do, then check out these 2 books (difficult to pick 2, so chose the ones i keep looking at right now).

I am into green gardening and permaculture, which takes a while to set up and your stuff gets nibbled by things so you need to be ok about holes! It does mean though you never dig your soil or stand on your soil once you are set up.

Anyway, if you want less grass to cut, start looking at old gardening DIY books / catalogues like B & Q to see what suits your taste and pocket. I have about 50 books that all came from junk shops, but i like:

The No WOrk Garden by Bob Flowerdew ISBN 1-84509-132-9
Planning Your Garden by Peter McHoy ISBN 1-84309-362 -6

I often buy my books on the internet because they are fine second, cheap, and usually arrive fast saving the hassle of asking in shops.

Planning your garden is one of those you can just look at the picutres for ideas and know how. The No work garden stops you making mistakes that give you more work

It seems popular to replace grass with decking, flagging, gravel, and i have seen crushed glass used. I am flagging my own in places simply becasue i have a lot of old stone / Rossendale flags in the garden, but I am leaving gaps so plants take hold in the cracks to give my garden a deliberate neglected look. Works for me! It is difficult work though, and expensive to have done. Decking is instant, gives instantly flat areas and can hold power points and water taps for potted plants and a tidy looK that is low maintenance. I am not keen, but it really does help people with steep unusable gardens. I am afraid i was approached by a couple of rats that were living under somebody's decking so i am a bit warey. It can go green and slippery in shady areas in winter too, but you can always chuck a bit of sand on it.

Ornamental grasses are still popular, need virtually no maintenance and spread well if you have big spaces. i don't like 'em since getting sliced across the eyeball by one last week - devil spawn!

I find it best to avoid fancy lawn edging like log rolls that are left proud because you have to strim the edges after cutting your lawn. Strimming is a drag.

If you want a simple shrub border with different shrubs flowering throughout the seasons make sure you weed really well, get some bulbs in, then put weed suppressant matting down (with holes cut out over your bulbs and plenty of bark chippings / similar. It reduces weeding and watering tremendously.

Many oriental poppies and all manner of iris and lilies are bomb proof and the clumps just get bigger and bigger. In my garden they have to survive semi-shade and they still bloom (later than everybody elses) as do lupins. My soil is acidic / clay with great patches of old ashes (?!).

Herbacious borders like Nicky's beauties are not as difficult as people think because dense planting with things that spread with a thick layer of bark = very few weeds. You can't use weed suppressant matting if you want things to spread, but if you keep your bark topped up it still does a good job. I have an orange, yellow and blue walled border that i planted last year, then mulched well, and I have removed 3 weeds this year from that area. It contains hypericum (st john's wort), crocosmia (monbretia) mixed with lucifer, deep blue iris, primula vivaldii, foxes and cubs, and a common small leaved yellow flowering shrub the name of which escapes me - comes in a variety of colours. Nothing grows between foxes and cubs (sorry - don'tknow proper name)

The weeds pull out very easily if the mulch is kept loose with an ocassional hoe. But i confess i have not even done that yet this year.

Bark will, I think, eventually acidify your soil, but since yours already is all you need to do is check the plant labels for suitability. Alas, my soil is acidic and has quite a lot of clay, but I love pinks. I still have them though, by filling pots with a suitable free draining mixture then sinking the pots into the soil. My pots are in year 2, have not been given any attention, and are flowering happily.

Most sedums are pretty bomb proof - no draught problems - big or small - and some of their leaves give brilliant autumn colour. The big one Nicky showed is great for butterflies.

Conifer and heather rockery / sleeper beds with bulbs have to be the most low maintenace thing for years. They always make me sad though cos i aleays want to swap things around and play. Once these beds are done they are done really.

I have a pink, white and blue walled border containing (in semi-shade) climbing roses, peonies, lupins, hosta, clematis, self-seeded phlox, white saxifrage, ladies mantle, etc. all bark mulched and have weeded only twice this year. i am telling you because a lot of these are sold as needing full sun. There are seedums, different coloured aubretia and even red and pink valerians growing happily through the front of the walls becasue they do not contain any mortar.

The whole thing looks like a big messy mass of colour, so it can't be tidy, so i don't need to tidy it.

Now all you have to do is decide, then get somebody else to do it all for you or you'll be very broken very quickly, but afterwards you will have an easy time of it!

Oooh - i'm exhausted just thinking about it!

All the best.

PS Do not buy bark mulch from garden centres if you need a lot (I use 3-4 inches and it doesn't go very far).

Look in your yellow pages for a tree surgeon and ask him if he can supply you with some well rotted stuff if you need bulk quantities. Fresh stuff is not very good because it uses the nitrogen in your soil to break down and your plants can get a bit starved. Fresh stuff is fine a cheap way of making paths to keep your boots clean in vegetable or fruit areas though.
 

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Personally I have given up on a garden, we just have grass which we pay someone else to mow.

But we have a large deck and have lots of large tubs full with a variety of flowering plants. Over recent years we have had to stick with unplesant tasting plants, as my golden retriever eats flowering plants for some bizzare reason. He doesn't like the taste of geraniums or lavendar, so we have lots of both. I love ivy geranium and have all sorts of different colours. If I feel like it I buy punnets of annuals to plant for the spring/summer, but some years I don't.

We also have some succulents which are very easy, but we have to keep them by the front door so Tommy can't eat them. I plan to get some more of them, basically we just ignore them and they always look good.

But, it's really easy, a squirt with a hose on a hot summers day is about all I have to do, and that is real easy. In the winter it all just looks after itself really, and if I have to pull the odd weed I can do it from a strategically placed deck chair.

good luck with that garden

raglet
 

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It depends obviously where you live but I would suggest a gravel garden - get rid of any lawn - perhaps have raised beds to save on the planting and low maintenance planting. A paved seating area with perhaps a pergola and lots of herbs!!

If you have got a sunny garden herbs are fantastic - the don't need much looking after, are drought tolerent after established and will give a lot of joy with all the different things you can use them for. Grasses are also very good - look great all year and you don't have to do anything with them except an annual haircut in early spring!

If you have got a shady garden -how about a bit of woodland feel with bark chip over a membrane to stop weeds, ferns, helleborus, evergreen shrubs and native plants - very easy.
 

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Just an idea, how bout some little statues and lots of cute garden decorations. I have a mushroom house with little creatures on it that lights up at night , runs off the sun solar. I usually order threw a catalog called,
collections etc. So many adorable garden stuff to take up space.

I only planted sunflower seeds this year that are getting really tall,I figure that once they are full bloom and die off i will take the seeds and feed em to my cardinals,bluejays,woodpeckers and bunnies.

Hugs Florie
 
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