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The trials & tribulations of a new gardener - Part 1


Ok so I admit it gardening is far from easy! But whilst I’m being honest I must also admit that before that fateful morning when I finished work and decided in my post night delerium that I was going to transform my garden I really did not know this.

So meet me, (then) a 20 something make-up and shoe addict that had absolutely no idea about anything to do with gardening. That’s me on the right with the horns…………it was halloween by the way :O)

Onto my (then) unruly garden and (still) unruly dog Mr Otis!

The object was clear and quite easy or so it seemed. Make the garden pretty and have lot’s of BBQ’s and cocktail parties to celebrate!

So where to start? Mow the lawn that seems like a good place. Then onto weeding the patio. Clear the rubbish from the cottage walls and plant some lovely new plants. Off to the garden centre to buy a few new plants, not hard right? WRONG so where do I start? With the Bedding plants? Perrenials? Herbaceous Perennials? Climbers? Alpines? Ground cover? Shrubs? Bushes? The list goes on……………………………and on!

I ask for advice and am presented with more questions. What kind of soil do you have? Full sun, part sun, shade or partial shade? Which way does your garden face? Do you have kids or pets as some plants are poisonous you know! Are they really? Oh goodness me, so I go home with nothing more than a book………….How to Garden. What a fabulous help that has been.

I am now at a point where I understand a lot of the garden terms thrown at me. I am able to recognise some plants and have a good idea what may work well in my garden. With a lot of hard work and help from my family I am now at a point where the landscape I desire is not just a figment of my imagination but is really coming to life.

So I am going to show you where I am up to. If it’s ok I will ask for guidance and advice throught these blogs and if you feel something I plan will not work or feel inspired please let me know :O)

Lets start with the front garden.

The first thing I planted was this beautiful Rhododendron that my Mum took out of her garden for me. I absolutely love it. It takes pride of place in the front left corner.

It flowers purple and this year I had the added suprise of Bluebells that grow in my Mum’s garden. Also this little fella has cropped up. There are millions of these in my Mum’s next door neighbours garden. Are they weeds?

Onto the front right corner where an 8-10 foot shrub (the name I have no idea of) used to be. I have planted a pink Magnolia tree and have attempted a rockery with the help of my brother.

No idea what this is? Does anyone know if it’s hardy or if it spreads?

The pink Magnolia tree. I wonder how many years it will take to grow?

Now then these two look a little disgruntled, should I take them out?

Now the shaded border under the window. It is also worth noting that the front garden is north facing.

I have no idea of the name of this shrub but I love it.

Again no idea of the name and this one. I don’t really know what to do with it all. It has beautiful pink flowers appearing but really is very unruly.

A close up

My lovely Peony is coming along nicely, it started out as one little shoot.

Black steel geranium

Again no idea of the name of this shrub

Finally the climbing section, this is a clematis montana that I planted last year. However now it has flowered it seems a dull area. Would anyone know if it’s possible to grow two clematis together? If so any tips or advice on a good clematis for this area would be much appreciated. As it happens I have a Clematis President I would love to put in with the Montana but am not sure it’ll work!

So that concludes my first ever blog and where I am up to with my first front garden project. If anyone has any ideas on how to fill the gaps or what might improve this area I would love to hear them.

Many Thanks in advance as always.

Cupcake :O)

More blog posts by misscupcake

Next post: The trials & tribulations of a new gardener - Part 2



What a brilliant start you have made on your garden Cupcake! Your enthusiasm and new found plant knowledge will lead to a stunning garden!

I think your two "unknown " shrubs are Ceanothus, and Lonicera Baggesons Gold. (Bet I've spelt that wrong, lol)

Personally I wouldn't grow another clematis alongside Montanna, as the Montanna is a really big guy when he gets going, and would smother another climber.

Love your's great to see a young gardener starting out! It's an exciting journey...enjoy every moment of it :))

13 Jun, 2011


well ............................ the shrub in pic , i have that in a shaded corner ....... it can and does grow very big , so you will have to prune it to keep it check . i wud maybe put a climbing rose with your montana as its easier to look after ................ your peony will die down and come back next year ..... and they dont like to be fed to much . pic 9 is a cotoneaster i think .... ..
wen you have your main plants in then you can fill the gaps with annuals and a few fairies

13 Jun, 2011


Aw thanks ladies, it's nice to be able finally start sharing my progress. I just wish I had pics from the front garden before I started on it.

I've looked at the names you gave me and they are spot on. I absolutely the ceanothus, I may have to put one in the back. But I'll save that for another blog :O)

13 Jun, 2011


Well done Cupcake - you have the start of a good garden there. All of your plants should soon grow bigger and fill the spaces up. It would be a good idea to add another ceonothus as they are very pretty when in flower. Good Luck with it.

14 Jun, 2011


you've done a fantastic job there, I really like your rock garden, but keep an eye on your magnolia as they like an acidic soil. I only say that cause i recently lost a magnolia stellata due the same problem, wrong soil type.. but keep up the good work.Once you've got the bug its with you for life :)

14 Jun, 2011


Brilliant job, you have definately got the gardening bug!

14 Jun, 2011


Mariek - you will never believe I was plotting out my woodland and found another Ceonothus. I forgot I planted it as nothing more than a twig and out of nowhere it has sprung up..............yay! :O)

madaboutgardening - thanks for the Magnolia advice I will do some soil testing and try and make sure it has what it needs. I was hopeful that it would be ok as next door planted one between our two houses and it is thriving so I was hoping it was the right environment. Best check though because it is the one thing I would be heartbroken if it didn't survive. My other half was just saying he is worried I wont keep on top of the garden now I have started with all these borders but I adore gardening. I am desperate to get home every day to potter about and can never see that changing :O)

Nana D thanks so much :O) and you're right I'm addicted to gardening.

14 Jun, 2011


There's worse things to be addicted! You "Carry-On-Gardening" are lucky to have discovered it so early in life :)

15 Jun, 2011


You're so right Di :O)

15 Jun, 2011

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