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I have a small flower bed outside our flat, it measures approximately 25 foot by 2 foot.
In it, I have; roses, camellia, lavender, bluebells, daffadils, bleeding heart, hyacinths, fuchsias, Asiatic lilies, mint and gladioli.
I would like to replace the soil, because not everything seems to grow the way it should.
Our soil has a thick clay level that starts about 6 to 8 inches deep.
Could you please tell me the best soil I should have, how deep I should go, how much I need for the area I've got, and when is the best time of the year to lift my flowers and replace the soil.
Thank you
Steve in Eastbourne



Steve, Welcome to GOY, Autumn would be the best time to move your shrubs. Take out the first shrub onto a sheet of plastic the length of the border. Remove the top soil to the next shrub in a container, take it to the other end of the border, remove 6inches of the hard clay, put in a layer of old broken bricks 2inches thick. Replace with compost or well rotted manure, top up with the next part of topsoil, replant the 1st. shrub, continue the process to the end of the border. Bag up the clay as you go to dispose of in a suitable place. This year feed your shrubs with a suitable liquid manure as you water your border.

27 Mar, 2011


You haven't said where you are in the country, but here in my part of London, clay a spade's depth down is normal, and nothing needs to be done about it. What would be beneficial is to add well composted materials, to get the humus level of the soil up and increase its growing potential.

27 Mar, 2011


Thank you, the area I'm in, is Eastbourne, East Sussex

28 Mar, 2011


As far as I recall from my dim and distant training days, the soil profile there is still clay subsoil. Try incorporating the composted materials I talked about, or even just putting them on the top of the soil would help.

28 Mar, 2011

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