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I have a house in South Oxford. The garden hasn't been touched or planted for years and is wild. There seem to be no plants of significance except for brambles A few feet from the house is a retaining wall and dozen steps up to the garden. I want to ensure that it is planted so that it will secure, as much as possible, the land and so help to protect the house. Equally the garden needs to reflect its 250 year old house.

With thanks Mrs L Murray



Well - before you can begin to plant anything, there's a lot of work to be done.

You'll need to get the brambles out, either by cutting them back and digging the roots out gradually, or by using brushwood killer on them, then digging out the roots.

Once you've got the ground cleared, get an idea of where the sun is during the day, and also what sort of soil you have. You can buy a soil testing kit very cheaply at Garden Centres. Make a compost heap as soon as possible - you'll need it!

Are you saying that you'll need a fence or a hedge around the garden? You could decide that soon, and also write a list of plants that you like. A good way of getting all-year colour is to visit your GC each month and make notes (or buy) plants in flower.

Making a plan on squared paper to scale is the next step.Think what you want to do in your garden - grow veggies, flowers, shrubs? Also think about evergreens for structure in the winter months, and hard landscaping, ie paths and maybe a seating area.

Lots and lots to do and plan, but don't get disheartened. There are plenty of ideas on this site, and people who are happy to help. Good luck!

5 Jul, 2011


Hello and welcome to GOY. Rome wasnt built in a day! take some time to get to know your new garden while you clear it, as ideas will come to you about how you want it to end up. Preparation is your biggest hurdle to begin with and as you clear it you may find some treasures such as old stone paths and plants that are hidden.
You could take a look at Spritzhenry's garden as I think you will find that her garden might well suit your house?

5 Jul, 2011


Am I reading it right that the house is lower than the garden? Besides clearing the land, I would check on the soundness of that retaining wall, and not plan on planting any trees or large shrubs near it. Also double check the drainage around the house, since that soil could become saturated from drainage from the garden in spring. If you have a local historical society, you might want to check on garden styles and plant palettes from that period with them. Substitutes are probably possible--such as David Austin roses, in place of the harder to find antique roses.

6 Jul, 2011

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