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West Midlands, United Kingdom Gb

This is the space we would like to create a small cottge garden.The soil is heavy clay ..would it be a good idea to hire a small rotavator and do we add horticultural grit , multi purpose compost and manure? or could you guide me too the best way to prepair the ground please.This is my first project and only started enjoying gardening from May this year and need all the advice I can get. Although the left hand side doesn't get as much sun as the right I was thinking of lupins delphiniams oriental poppies and ladys mantle do you think these would do well either side or could you reccommend something else for this area.Picture below.Thankyou.




It is most definately worth hiring a rotavator !
Most cottage garden plants thrive in thin, impoverished soil and clay is quite high in nutrients so great for roses !!!

After rotavating add the horticultural grit - by the ton because you need to aim for a very light, open and loose soil - adding composted manure (not compost or top soil) will make the soil too rich again so unless you're going to add shrubs don't use this.

I have a garden which is thin impoverished soil (yes, a cottage garden!) and i make 'pockets' of it enriched (with the manure) so i can grow plants which need that soil, there !

20 Jun, 2011


Agree with Louise, though if it is just those 2 beds that you are planting then I would use a fork (not a spade) to improve the soil. As per the above, working in grit and composted manure. The fork helps to keep the clay soil from compacting. I would dig to 2-3 fork levels deep (say) 2 foot/50cm.

Having less sun on one side than the other will only mean that the plants grow slower - so if you have the same plant on both sides you will end up with one side flowering first then the other one, thus extending your flowering.

I take it you are going to put in mature Lupins, Delhpiniums etc this year? It is too late to start from seed. Lupins are notoriously difficult to transplant.

Good luck.

20 Jun, 2011


Thankyou for your comments :) Yes I have lupins which have been potted on it correct I need to pot them on again..and how tall do they have to be roughly to plant in the ground?I have oriental poppies and delphiniums seedlings which are to transplant (pot on) now.Will I be able to plant these out together as the lupins are much further on?

20 Jun, 2011


After the soils is improved and less compacted and heavy, then I would clear a space about twice the size of the pots the Lupins are in, water it well then add them, filling with compost/grit mix. I would then water again. Avoid breaking the roots and it should be ok. I would put the plants out together, even if some are further on than others - Lupins will self seed, so good to get them out where you want them sooner than later. Same for Oriental poppies (they also do not like their roots being disturbed).

20 Jun, 2011


Thankyou for that :)

20 Jun, 2011

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