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Help with front garden beds


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mel.b
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Joined: 18 May 2014
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Location: Clare

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Help with front garden beds Reply with quote

I recently purchased my first house Smile There are two garden beds at the front of the house, but other than a Fuchsia and a Hydrangea they are a blank canvas. I would also like to remove both of these if I can.

The garden beds get good sun for pretty much all day. They start to be in shadow from about 5pm at this time of the year.

Ultimately I'd like a garden with year round interest - some shrubs and flowers. I don't really want anything that is going to grow taller than the fences - 3ft to the front, 4ft to the sides. Some scent would be nice too. I'm probably asking the impossible! I'm based in Clare, on the edge of the burren, but away from the coast. Any suggestions before I head down to the garden centres - I'd like to have some ideas so I can read about them before I head to the garden centres.

The garden beds currently have pebbles which you can see. I think I'd like to remove these and ultimately have bark. There is a layer of plastic underneath the pebbles. What sort of preparation will I need to do the soil before starting?

Finally, any suggestions on what I could grow on the front of the small fence to help disguise it and improve street appeal? I don't want to go down the ivy route.

Thanks,






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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 5:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ill get back to you on this when i have a little think for myself
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 8:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome aboard. Are you a spice girl trying to hide?
I am not the one to advise you on plant choices as it is not my thing but the one thing I can guarantee you is that the soil quality under those pebbles will be terrible. Be prepared to dig.

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mel.b
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Joined: 18 May 2014
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Location: Clare

PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Damn, I've been found out Smile

Greengage, I look forward to your thoughts.

Tagwex - so lots of new topsoil and manure as well as digging needed?

Would you put the plastic back down or not?
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Naaaah you are safe enough as you are the wrong colour and wrong surname.
Yep, can pretty much guarantee that if you dig out a small trial hole that you will not like what you will see. Subsoil and builders debris should be the most of it. Some sort of a weed suppressor would be good under the bark. But if you eventually have loads of ground cover planting then you wont need it.

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Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Greengage
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PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2014 9:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would need to visit the site to be really helpful but thats not going to happen as you couldn't afford me Laughing
I would have some height on the bed on the left with a small tree either Amelanchier, Sorbus,or Malus then I would go for a uniform look repeating colour and structure using the following plants planted in groups of 3 and 5, Since you live in Clare lets go for something different.
Phlomis russilina, Helictotrichon sempervirens, Aster bluetenregan, Gillina, Helinium, Miscanthus , Euphorbia, Geranium, Veronica, Anthericum and Meum athamanticum, I would also add a few Calamagrostis acutiflora 'Karl Foerster'
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Sive
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 8:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Why are you so keen to remove the only established shrubs that are growing in the beds ....and look fairly healthy from what I can see ? Could you work around them ?
Also, not sure what you mean by planting on the front of the fence (? it looks like a solid wall to me ) Is there soil there ?...again it looks like hard paving outside (??)
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Geranimojess
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 2:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi ya Mel...{cant stand the Spice Girls} I would 1st take a walk around the Estate and check out the Neighbours Gardens...see what you like/don't like...don't be afraid to knock on the Door and ask if you can look around 99.9% would be delighted to chat about their efforts...and take your Camera with you...

The Pebbled areas don't look all that large so don't panic yet...1st remove the Pebbles {but keep them} and the Plastic...then Introduce yourself to the Pitch-Fork and test out a small area...it may/may not be Dob/Builders Soil and nothing that a good Digging/Rotavator wont solve...as Sive suggested try working with the Plants already there and only remove them as a last resort...

When you've advanced to the Planting stages cover the area with a Membrane which allows water/air to penetrate to the Soil but keeps Weeds to a Minimum... position your Plant Pots where you think they will suit and cut an X in the Membrane folding back the flaps...dig your hole...insert the Plant and replace the flaps...and cover with the Bark/Pebbles...

Gardening is "Forever changing your mind" and what looks Brilliant today is old news Tomorrow so don't be dismayed if your change your mind several times that's the fun of our passion and believe me eventually it will become just that...anyway just enjoy it and dont hesitate to ask any Questions even if they sound stupid...we all had to begin at some stage...
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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 3:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your house looks like it's in Corofin and if it's where I think it is, the soil is very alkaline and there is solid limestone rock not very far down. In some of the gardens the rock protrudes above the ground but obviously not in your case. The soil is quite good.

What I'd do would be to just pull up the membrane from beneath the gravel, leave the gravel, not dig the ground and just insert shrubs where you want them. If you get items like Vibernum Davidii, Lonicera Nitida, etc, and plant en masse they'll soon cover the gravel and you'll have saved yourself the expense of getting bark chips. No-one'll be able to see what's underneath the shrubs. Of course that won't apply if you just have plants dotted here and there.

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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 4:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very good KS. You are getting like me now. Scary spice is on the north side of Corofin. I could name the estate but I won't.
_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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mel.b
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 4:56 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not only has my secret identity been busted but also now where I've been hiding out since retiring from spreading girl power around Smile

Greengage, thanks for the suggestions - some interesting ones there and a couple I couldn't find with google - Aster bluetenregan & Gillina. It's an idea I will keep in mind and I can see how they would work together.

Sive, I really don't like Hydrangeas so that's why I want that to go. The Fuchsia could maybe stay but I don't think it's in the best spot. With regards to the fence, ideally I'd like something to cover it. So for example, if there was a climbing flower I could start on the inside of the fence and train it to go up and over to the outside. Or if for example, planter boxes could be attached to the top of the inside of the fence and something growing out and down over the front. I don't know, but I really want to try and soften the fence.

Geranimojess - I will take more note of what's around the neighbourhood. I had a chat the other day with a person about her Clematis that looked fantastic and they gave me some really helpful info about them - I'm hoping to put on in the backyard when the time comes.

Kinderedsprit, thanks for letting me know about the soil. I looked up those plant suggestions and like the look of both of them. I'll keep that in mind about the pebbles. Can you recommend some good garden centres / nurseries in Clare / Limerick / Galway for me to visit - both with a range of plants and helpful staff for newbies?

Thanks everyone for the help & suggestions, I really appreciate it and keep them coming. i've also decided I'm going to head up to Bloom and have a look so hopefully that should give me some ideas too.
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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Mon May 19, 2014 6:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Going to Bloom would be a great idea.

In my opinion, one of the best places to go for stock "nearish" to you, would be Alleys in Dundrum. (about 8 miles from Tipperary Town.) They have the largest range, good prices and are very helpful (and NO! I don't work for them or have any connection with them. Only as a customer.) Walk about a quarter of a mile down to the end to see all that they have. Have a look in the Celtic Plantarium next door as well for ideas. (Entry is free.)

If you wanted to drive a good distance, then Future Forests in Kealkil, Co. Cork is also very good.

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mel.b
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 7:37 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I've finally got all of the pebbles removed. One of the garden beds has good soil, the other looks to be a lot of builders rubble/ backfill.Should I do anything to it prior to planting? Topsoil? Or will digging down be enough? The idea is to have hedging along the side fence, shrubs in the main round part and then a border of something small with bulbs of various types between the border and the shrubs.
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tagwex
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She is back. Zig e zig ahhhh!
I have to say it is nice to see someone reporting back on their progress, it makes it seem all the more worthwhile. So many people start on this forum, the regulars help as much as they can and then we never hear another word and are left wondering how a project turned out.

Remove all rubble, you might as well when you are at it, no point in leaving it there, do the job once and do it right.

_________________
Its my field. Its my child. I nursed it. I nourished it. I saw to its every want. I dug the rocks out of it with my bare hands and I made a living thing of it!

This boy can really sing http://youtu.be/Dgv78D2duBE
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Good guy
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, remove the rubble now, otherwise some piece of it is bound to be in your way later. Remember Murphy's Law!
When you have the junk cleared, take the time to properly assess the soil quality. You are not going to grow veg there so you don't need high fertility, but you will want your plants to thrive and they will, hopefully, have their little roots in this soil for a long time. So make sure it drains well enough and has adequate organic content for the species you intend to grow.
Organic matter and/or grit may be sufficient, without importing topsoil, with its unknown weed/pest burden.
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