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Can someone help me plant the two beds that are opposite each other in my garden please, I'm struggling with this. What I am trying to achieve is year round interest in these two small beds 10'x 6' approx [pics are in the photo section as well as one provided here] I would like both beds graveled so it is easily maintained, which would give me the added benefit of more time in my allotment. What should I put in these beds please for year round interest [ beds to be planted exactly the same]. How should it be planted bearing in mind the once very alkaline soil is now a neutral due to the peat I have added and dug in.The area receives the extremes of sun and wind,and is very open to all extremes of any weather thrown at it, no shade here at all.




Whatever you decide to grow - place the pots on the beds where they need to be permanently - then dig the holes.
That way you will get them in identical positions.

3 Aug, 2013


Tough plants include shrubs such as spiraea japonica cultivars, hebe 'Red Edge', berberis (you'll want the dwarfer ones here, so look at 'Admiration', 'Buxifolia Nana', and B. stenophylla 'Corallina Compacta'), abelia 'Kaleidoscope', potentilla fruiticosa cvs. ('Danny Boy' or 'Red Edge'), any of the VERY dwarf conifers, choisya 'White Dazzler', . . .
Perennials - geum, potentilla, geranium (pick the neater growing ones or you'll only have geranium!), campanula poscharskyana and aubrieta for the front edges.
Hope that's a start

3 Aug, 2013


Thank you, I much appreciate your knowledgeable help.

To be honest the only plant I had thought of you have mentioned is Aubretia and that is because it is a favourite of mine, and the only shrub mentioned I thought of was the hebe as I had one in my previous garden.

Would any of the Acers thrive here if I was to bury them in smallish pots to restrict their growth.What about bamboo another favourite of mine, well the clump formers are, but not the spreading varieties. I have two containers with bamboo in them at the moment, and what about the 3'- 4' columnar conifers one in each bed, I'm reluctant to put the two I have waiting for resettlement in these beds as I'm afraid they will brown and wither, but could I take a chance with Box [from container to the bed] not the bare rooted variety, then there is Heuchera would that be good. You will probably have noted the form work around the outer perimeter of the bed and have guessed what it is for, however if your wondering, together with two planks I will knock together,and then put across this frame, they allow me hopefully to plant through weed suppressant membrane without ever standing on the soil bed.

I bought two Coreopsis on a whim thinking they would add colour to this bed however I quickly realized they are not for these beds, as these plants I have found are thirsty beasts and as such I do not think they will stand the dry arid conditions at times prevailing here

3 Aug, 2013


As you say the area is very dry at times, that would rule out most conifers and heuchera likes to be in a bit of shade so it doesn't dry out completely. You could try Pinus, Juniper and Thuja varieties since they tolerate dryness better, but they'd need to be dwarf varieties and so will still be vulnerable to drying out.
I don't know what part of the country you're in, and some of the plants I'm about to mention won't survive northern winters too well, but have a look at Cistus, Halimiocistus, Helianthemum, Iberis sempervirens, Phormium cookanium, Santolina varieties, as well as Ophiopogon nigrescens and Yucca flaccida 'Golden Sword'. All of these retain leaves during winter but most will need clipping back once or twice a year. As for Campanula, I'd recommend C. portenschlagiana (previously C. muralis, sometimes still sold as that). It's a much neater grower than most of the other low growing ones, and makes a nice green hummock during winter.

Hebe youngii is a good, low growing smaller hardy and evergreen Hebe, but, along with the Phormium and some of the Cistus varieties, may not cope with very severe winters in the north. All the other plants should cope with the weather wherever you are.

Regarding bamboo, yes it should do fine there, but a word of warning - make sure you either use a rhizome barrier when you plant, or choose your variety very carefully - one that doesn't run, but only forms a clump, and doesn't get 15 feet tall.

3 Aug, 2013


If you want a column but are worried about conifers have your thought of berberis Helmond Pillar, (but it does spread out a bit as it matures if you don't prune off the outer branches) or there's a gold one that's very attractive - sorry forgot its name.They don't like dryness but I've solved this by burying gel crystals in the bottom of the planting hole.(Seems to work well for lots of things in dry ground!) These aren't evergreen though. A nice little tough evergreen is a gold or silver variegated euonymus fortunii.

3 Aug, 2013


Thanks for all your input
I live 5 miles from Easington, a couple of hundred yards from the sea in what was County Durham but seemingly now isn't.Here the soil is very alkaline and as you rightly point out conifers do not like it ,albeit I have neutral soil now [it will no doubt sometime in the future return to alkaline] but for now its neutral as I have dug in a dozen bags of peat in each bed. I would love to put a bamboo in each bed at the back leaving it in the container it came in and burying it below the soil, it will have a mulch under the weed suppressant membrane but no way to spread its roots to be invasive to other plants.I would choose maybe a Rufa as this is said to be the hardiest but not knowing whether these are suitable to go in such an open aspect they are still in their pots. Yipes help needed here please.

3 Aug, 2013


Might have a bit of trouble with wind exposure, but otherwise a good choice. They do arch over at the top once they mature, although that might helpfully cast a little shade.

4 Aug, 2013


Thank you for your helpful comment,
The wind, yes the wind here seems to flow around the whole plot and sometimes it is so strong even on a relatively less windy day or so it seems elsewhere,the wind it is so strong it prevents one opening the garden gate.Rufa are hardy but will it be the right choice, I do hope so for I think nothing makes a better specimen plant than bamboo, a striking individual plant that gives the whole garden an uplift.What would you put with it please mindful these beds are not that big and they will be graveled afterward.

8 Aug, 2013


Some of the plants off the list I gave earlier, but in particular, the Yucca I mention. Make sure you get the right variety though, there are several, but they are really hardy and provide a good splash of colour even in a winter garden. Look good with bamboo and with gravel, and I'd also use the Ophiopogon nigrescens, as well as one or two of the flowering, low growing ones I mention (Helianthemum, Campanula). Consider Phormium too,P. 'Platts Black' is very striking against greens and yellows, but there are other purple/red leaved ones, so long as your winter temperatures are not regularly below -10 deg C.

10 Aug, 2013


Our local council have planted pink almeria with ophiopogaon in blue slate on a big roundabout and it looks neat all year.

10 Aug, 2013


Ah yes, Armeria, I forgot about that one. Pseudarmeria is an even better choice - that one just keeps on flowering right into winter usually.

12 Aug, 2013


Which Yucca was it again please, ''Flacida'' ?

13 Aug, 2013


Yucca flaccida 'Golden Sword'. There's a couple of other cultivars (Y. flaccida 'Bright Edge' is one) but Golden Sword has the brightest and most attractive variegation, particularly in winter. You may very well have to order it over the internet - I couldn't get it for love nor money at any of my local garden centres last year when I wanted some.

14 Aug, 2013


Well, thank you again for staying with this, with me, its a bit daunting to be honest getting this lot right and having to choose plants, most of which I have never heard of before and trying them,and knowing going out on a limb just trying this, that, and the other could be really expensive, so thanks very much for your ideas and plant selections. I very much appreciate your input ..

14 Aug, 2013


Bit of extra advice, Google them all and look at pictures of them, then check their height and spread before ordering

14 Aug, 2013

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