Garden Plants, buy cheep or get good stock?

We all know that towards the end of the season retailers are selling of cheep plants that are long past their prime. Well last year we got some hibiscus that a super market was selling of cheap in early autumn, they were nothing but leggy stems with a few leaves hanging from them where they had suffered from to little natural light. they looked bad, yellowing and weak.

So we thought we’d give them a home in the garden, I planted them out in some good sunny positions and chopped them right back to encourage some root growth. Over this summer the excessive rain has done wonders for them they have bushed out some and are looking much healthier.


Well to my delight when I went in to the garden yesterday evening I found that one of them has produced some beautiful flowers. I as so please that the extra work on this last legs cheep plant has paid of, now I’m just waiting to see if the other one flowers as well.

By contrast in the spring we decided we wanted a rose arch in the garden, preferable one with strong scented roses. We picked up a simple rose arch and I did some reading around on options for some rose plants and I ended up getting some Gertrude Jekyll rose root stock from David Austin. Now these guys are known for there good quality well looked after plants, I got these on offer so they were not as expensive as they could have been. The root stock was duly soaked and planted and they have been happily growing up the rose arch this year, they flowered midsummer with some beautiful pink blooms, which sadly were short lived due to the torrential rain that we had for most of the summer. They did continue to clime the rose arch after flowering. Recently they started to bud again and have started to produce some more fantastic flowers.


They are large strongly scented old style flowers and this plant has shown fantastic vigour, producing stunning blooms and growing at a great speed.

So which was the better investment?

I am prouder of the Hibiscus than the rose, but the rose is doing just want I wanted. When you want to get your self some new plants think about what it is you are after, do you need an easy solution or do you have time to put in some extra care and attention, you could find that buying some end of season plants that are long past their best gives you a great opportunity as a gardener to rescue a plant and save your self some money while still getting a beautiful plant.

Do you have any rescue stories of plants?

Happy gardening



What is a Garden

To me any space you have where you are growing plants counts as a garden.

This might be nothing more than a window box or two, to a many acre’d grounds.

They are both still places you care for and grow what you wish to see.

So what is your garden, do you have a few scattered pots holding your treasured few plants or have you a more traditional patch of land?

As a friend pointed out, its my first rule, “If  you are growing it on purpose, where it is, that’s your garden”

Happy gardening


How to choose the right plants for your garden

Getting the right plants in your garden for both where you live, and the style of your garden is important. The reason for this is quite simple, planting new plants is both expensive and time consuming.

You should look at your gardens exposure to sunlight, look how much shade you have, and how this changes through the year, you can even look back on previous years weather, looking on sites such as to get an idea of the type of weather you get. this will then inform you of your climate.

Next you need to look into your soil type, sandy, clay heavy, or full of organic matter?

These will all impact upon what you can grow, if you had your heart set on an alpine garden then unless you have a sandy well draining poor quality soil, you have more work to do before you plant. Finally the pH of your soil will also impact upon what will thrive there. Why go to all these lengths?

If you have limited time in which to look after your garden, you really want everything else going for you. Yes you can grow anything, anywhere. It just changes the amount of time you need to spend helping the plants survive in environments that they aren’t suited to, and depending on how far out side the plants zone you are growing it, you may have to invest in equipment as well. So instead of making your garden a challenge, work with nature.

Once you have all this information you need to get yourself some plants, to pick them you need to know about them and books like are a great investment, they give you a great resource with which to select plants that flower when you want, and grow in the conditions you have in your garden.

It is also worth having a look at what your neighbours are growing, and what looks to be growing well, or what has been left in your garden that thrives.

Japonica Pieris, clethra arborea,

As you can see in this picture of my garden the clethra arborea (Lily of the Valley tree), dark green leaves with the light red and yellow green, is a happy health plant, what does this tell you?

Well if you were to do a quick search on the growing conditions of such a plant you would find it likes acidic soil that is well draining and not to heavy (clay heavy) that grows in anything from shade to full sun, which is handy as the spot its in gets everything from total shade to blazing sun as the day progresses.

So with out spending any money on expensive equipment you can identify key feature of your garden by what is already growing there, and a little bit or research.

Once you have the knowledge you can begin the process of looking at the plants which will thrive naturally in your garden to select the ones which fit with your theme.

More on plant selection next time.

What Grows well in your garden?

Happy gardening Doug

Garden Design

When you first start your garden  you need to think about the design of it, the space you have, what you would like to grow.

The simplest approach is to sketch out your garden, get the basic measurements, plot out what you can not move or don’t want to move. and then look at the space you have left. It needn’t be a professionally done plan, just one that gives you an idea how how much space you have to work with.

It is also important to think at this point how much time you have to maintain your garden, an elegantly laid out plot will take considerably more work to maintain than a rambling country garden.

You also need to ensure that you still have the space you need for the practical side of your garden, some where to hang out clothes, a place for the children to play.

It should also be some where you wish to spend time, if the disordered look of a country garden would stress you, then maybe a low maintenance alpine style garden with gravel and rocks artfully set out.

It should be a reflection of who you are and bring you peace when you spend time there.

As you can see my leanings are more towards a rambling country garden, than a orderly laid out display of plants.

There are a few reason why I made the choice of lay out that I have done. Firstly I prefer a more natural look to a garden, so find overly arranged gardens to lack something. Secondly I don’t have a great deal of time every day to maintain it, and a rambling garden if far more forgiving with the odd flowering weed or hedge in need of a trim. This gives me a little more freedom when planting as well, as there isn’t an overall theme or colour, just a look that I’m going for.

So when you are planing your garden make sure you think about how much time you have to maintain it, and your style; ordered or rambling.

I’ll write more on plant choices in an up coming post.

What does your garden look like, are you happy with it? Tell me about it.

Happy gardening Doug

Gardening in the Rain

Well there is no denying it, it’s been an interesting year for gardening, no mater where your garden is I’m sure you’ve had more than your fair share of difficult weather.

There are things we can do to make the most of it though.

For me its been rain, its been one of the wettest, and most over cast summers I can think of, as a result of this my garden this year looks very different to previous year, Many of my plants were eaten by the armies of slugs and snails that are around at the moment, however the bushes and old climbers I have in the garden have never looked so happy with all the water they got.

Yes its been a year for green gardens, plenty of foliage, not so much flowers but with the right textures a green garden can look beautiful.

All it takes to get the most from your garden is some elbow grease, and taking advantage of the weather you are getting.

Happy gardening


%d bloggers like this: