Help me plant my garden (complete novice)

(6 Posts)
Longfufu Sat 09-Mar-13 09:46:03

Hi, I really need some help from gardening experts. We brought our house last year, we have a 5x10 meter north facing garden. When we brought the house the garden was just soil and needed ALOT of prep in order to lay turf. Now we've entered spring we would like to plant some flowers, but I have no idea what plants will do well.

We have clay soil and although we do get some sunlight most of the beds stay shaded. I would like plants that are easy to care for but provide different colours/textures.

Any advise please on what would plants would be best?

Many thanks, I'm a complete a novice at this x

cassell Sat 09-Mar-13 10:02:19

Your garden sounds like mine and I've had real difficulty finding plants that grow well. I've dug quite a bit of compost into the soil which helps break up the clay a bit.

This plant selector is really useful for finding suitable plants as you can put all the different features of your garden in.

funnyperson Sat 09-Mar-13 10:35:48

After some years of my shady garden, I think it is more about the soil than the shade. Not much grows in dry shady clay but if the soil is improved then all sorts of bulbs and clematis and roses and alchemilia mollis and geraniums and so forth will grow.
The flowering thereof is a matter of sunlight, so I have found that in a shady garden the choice and combination of foliage and structure is really important so that there is interest even if there are few flowers.

Anyway this is quite a nice daily mail article I googled for you
www.dailymail.co.uk/home/gardening/article-1194114/Shady-dealers-Plants-brighten-shadiest-spots.html

funnyperson Sat 09-Mar-13 10:50:29

Here is a picture of a really pretty shady garden which shows what I mean about structure
www.greatdixter.co.uk/garden/garden-tour/wall-garden/

not all this garden is shady but quite a few bits are

Longfufu Sat 09-Mar-13 18:45:22

Lovely thanks, very helpful. DH and I will start planning, thanks!

bumperella Mon 11-Mar-13 19:29:31

Is it a new build? You may find the soil is a bit of a problem as often it's moved there from digging elsewhere on site, so isn't topsoil - it's from further down. That means it doesn't ahve all the bugs and beasties that'll keep it healthy. Add lots (LOTS) of compost, well-rotted horse poo (ask local stables etc), - basically almost anything you can get your hands on. Also horticultural sand/grit (not builders sand!) as it's clay. it's a pain to do but is worth while - and it sounds like you did loads before turfing anyway. You can always do it one bit at a time.

There are some LOVELY plants for shade, and the advantage with a clay-y shade is that it will hold water better (which a lot of shade-lover plants like). Shiny-leaved things look great as they reflect light and brighten everything up; you can get some amazing folliage effects in general (spiky leaves, feathery things (like ferns), leathery leaves (like rogersias), sheeny big leaves (like false caster oil) and if there's enough light then odd bit of variegated-foliage will look fantastic. I'd be wary of sneaking in tempting sun-loving things, as they will at best grow tall and spindly and flower very sparsely.

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