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  1. #1

    Gardening. The mostly dull thread.

    My house has a tiny garden out front. about nine feet wide and four feet deep. we did some stuff to make it attractive when we moved in here. shoved in a Rhus tree, planted up stuf like bamboo and various flowering plants. trimmed the privet hedge down. grew ivy up both sides of the bay window. shoved a laburnam tree in.

    it looked kinda nice. actually the only garden in the street. everyone else has a paved or concreted front. but i got bored of the plantings and the trees wer being wrecked by local kids who would swing on the branches. not to mention the rhus throwing up suckers and the roots threatening to undermine the house foundations. so we decided to start over. do something simpler and more low maintenance.

    sitting down to plan this new garden we chatted about stuff we like and what plants don't need much care and what would go and stay of the current garden. at the same time my partner started clearing the space. the trees hve gone. the bamboo has been uprooted and put in temporary pots in the back yard. everything else has been removed and the ground levelled. last thing to go will be the privet hedge.

    in the course of deciding how to create the fence we decidd to replace the hedge with we stumbled upon the idea of a wooden fram clad in bamboo as the cheapest option. the gaps betwen the bamboo will aloowthe strong wnds we get here to pass through and be broken so the plants only get hit by breezes. plus most other fence styles look twee or harsh or are made from materials that don't really gel with plants. bamboo was the most organic looking material and the softest look we felt we could achieve.

    we then talked about how to arrange the plantings. we'd previously had borders around a gravel path. a bit too hard and old fashioned for me. not to mention that cats like to bury their poop in the gravel. instead we decided to go for odd shaped stone slabs in two patches. to act as stepping stones fro which to access the plants but also to provide a place to put seats in the summer when the sun hits the house front at full power. a place to chill and catch the rays. this will mean around the stone patches are irregular patches of ground. and this in turn suggested specimen planting as a style. what to plant though? the bamboo we had before will go back as a screen at the far side of the garden. another wind barrier. also as there's a bit of a pathway leading to the side gate there where kids like to congregate and hide it'll serve as a barrier to stop them peering in through the bay window.

    Now it all sounds kinda tidy and simple. the ideas are good and we're keeping it uncluttered. but it was at that point in the thinking it dawned on me that we were actually creating something vaguely japanese in flavour. looking on the net what we had was on the way to being a japanese tea garden. so with that in mind the obvious thing to plant around the stones was japanese grasses. chief among these is the bamboo (sinarundinaria nitida) but to compliment that pampass grass seemed the only option. put in near the front gate. a bit of height and a nice soft swishy plant. for the main plantings clump forming forest grass hakonechloa macra 'aureola'), blood grass (imperata cylindrica) and although it's cheating, lilly turf (liriope muscari 'big blue'), feather reed grass (calamagrostis x acutiflora).

    I wanted some more colour and would have liked cluster amarylis (spider lily) but the conditions here are wrong for it so i've opted for star of the east (crocosmia 'Lucifer') as it has grass like foliage and bright red flowers during late summer.

    I would have loved a japanese maple tree (acer palmatum) but with such a small space it would have been too much and as we just took out trees it seemed stupid to put one back in. also the forest grass is a shade loving grass so we may have to substitute that for a carex or phlax. which are New Zealand natives if I'm not mistaken.

    for the stone slabs we're debating about black mountain slate or a stone we saw today in a gold with red striations through it. this would take the form of flat stones for stepping/sitting on and odd shaped chunks dotted about in a seemingly chaotic manner but carefully placed.

    we considered the bare ground around the stones and plantings and decided to put a heavy gravel over the soil. this in turn could be black or golden with red striations depending on what we choose for the slabs. the usual teahouse statue will be omitted from the scheme because some punk would likely walk off with it. knowing this area as I do. same with the water feature. which is a shame because that would have been really cool. but you can't have everything.

    it's not a big garden and it doesn't sound like a big project. but strangely it's precisely because the space is so limited that it's more difficult. there's a couple of tons of stuff come out to clear the space and get it level. working in a tight space makes the job twice as hard. and my partner has done the digging because frankly, I'm crap at that sort of thing. he knows nothing about design or plants so that's my job. visualising the space as it will be. drawing plans, trawling around looking for the right materials. sourcing plants that aren't the standard fare of local tinpot garden supply centres. today i was looking wistfully at tree ferns. wishing britain was warmer. handling various grasses to see how they'd fared with our current crappy weather. it's a pitiful job but someone has to do it.

    I'll update with progress reports as and when. possibly with pictures too.

    In the meantime feel free to wonder why I start this thread and also chat about your own gardening.

  2. #2
    This thread is stupid. I almost felt like it was a Tycho thread. I thought you could do better, Andy. *shakes head in disappointment*
    Up, up, and OKAAAAY!!!

  3. #3
    I've never really been into gardening but I've been thinking that if I ever become a home owner, I wouldn't mind planting some vegetables that I would eat.

    I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes? I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.

  4. #4
    This thread is stupid. I almost felt like it was a Tycho thread. I thought you could do better, Andy. *shakes head in disappointment*
    Oh ye of little faith.

    I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes? I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.
    you only need about the same sort of space as I have out front. about a foot to eighteen inches between plants. coz you have to mound the soil up around the base of the plant. of course you need to watch out for potato beetles and blight. carrots need less space. salad stuff fresh from the garden is lovely. lettuces and beetroot and red onion, sweet peppers and so on, not forgetting that there are dwarf varieties that take even less space. And herbs can be decorative as well as useful.

    if people who have gardens grew their own veg, took up that homestead approach for one they'd save money on grocery bills but also help drive down the cost of living. our ancestors managed to survive by growing their own so no reason why we can't. even window boxes can be utilised as mini veg plots. for those who live in blocks of apartments.

    you know, in the netherlands, they have water recycling down the sides of apartment blocks where people grow stuff and the water used by the occupants actually drizzles through the soil and gets filtrated that way. very clever recycling. though obviously not human waste. that would be silly.

  5. #5
    My X used to have a green thumb, so my back yard is full of plants. I'm just trying to keep it all alive now. I have mixed feelings about all of it. It's hard to work on the back yard without thinking of her. Maybe I should sell and move. Though I would like to make a Japanese Zen garden, complete with Japanese Maple, Bamboo, and other oriental plants. Complete with a small pond with goldfish and trickling water. This I think would be good to calm the soul........I know one thing. Have you ever tried to get a fresh tomato? From fast food where you get white centered tomatoes, to even the expensive tomatoes on the vine at your local supermarket. Nothing tastes as good as a grow your own tomato, ripe, just picked, and it was alive a few seconds ago. It IS like heaven if you like tomatoes.

  6. #6
    mabudonicus's Avatar
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    Jan 2002
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    Ahhh gardening- I swear I started a thread like this years ago but it died

    Sounds like a damn cool project, Jargo- might I suggest a mini-bog container with some Sarracenia (North American Pitcher Pkabts) in it?? they can be REAL spectacular and you have some GOOD sources over there, many famous carnivorous plant breeders are from jolly old

    And have you considered possibly making a "native" Garden?? it's all the rage over here with some types, planting nothing but proper indigenous plants- it's cool cos there's a LOT of pretty fancy plants in most places, they are just not commonly seen in nature..

    OH and if you have any wet, shaded spots, I would sugest a perennial from the Philipenes common name "Toad Lily", they bloom in late wet fall and are really small flower but SPECTACULAR, and at that time there's not much else to look at- we got some last year and afte the blooming I was convinced we're gonna get as many as possible (also the plant has maybe the most impressive "provenance" of any species I've ever heard of, look it up, the national geographic angle is golden)

    And Blue2th, TOTALLY AGREED- we still have a few tomoatoes in the freezer (we wash them off and freeze them whole for use in sauces, stir frys and stuff like that) and even after a few months of deep freeze, they are like edlible gold- hot peppers and tomatoes are the only things we're gonna grow this year after a disappointing season for a few things last year

    Something about him reminds me of my older brother, Rex.

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Caesar View Post
    I like potatoes. How much room does it take to grow potatoes?
    Not all that much the thing with taters is that you have to "mound" them. Which means you keep putting dirt on them which creates... well a mound.

    I could see myself doing carrots as well. I'm not into fresh beans or peas.
    Carrots are super easy, the only thing you have to do is thin them out which isn't a big deal at all.

  8. #8
    Mabs, after the front is done we have the back yard. which at the moment is a place for the dog to poop and just a few pots around the edges. would love to deck it all out and have some choice specmen plantings though. but like I said, it gets really windy and cold here being coastal and all. Have to be a bit circumspect about what gets planted. really want a big Castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), coz I love pinnate leaved stuff. we have a short palm that's about 20 years old now out there. it's wrapped up still in it's winter protection fleece but once we unwrap it it fans out and gives the yard a sense of life. we have a couple of varieties of Hosta and crocosmia, ground ivy and some lillies of the day lilly type but the lillies don't do too well.

    if we didn't have the dog i could put down all kinds but he has a tendency to chew leaves and so the poisonous foliages have to be left outof the equation. aside from a dwarfed laburnam that came from a cutting from my late grandma's garden. been training that for a number of years now. damn thing doesn't want to be trained though.

    we had a neighbour til a few years ago who worked in a botanical gardens. she was good for advice, had the most amazing garden herself. fantastic huge calla lillies and rare shrubs. she'd take cuttings from the botanical gardens on the sly and cultivate them. the current people who bought her house just dug it all up and hacked it back to make room for their rugrat kid to play. criminal.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by MR. DADDYPANTS View Post
    so we decided to start over. do something simpler and more low maintenance.

    sitting down to plan this new garden we chatted about stuff we like and what plants don't need much care and what would go and stay of the current garden.
    So you are looking for simple, low maintenance, plants that don't need much care huh?

    I've got the perfect plants for you then. They're called weeds.
    Rogue Squadron-19 Golds, Battle For Naboo-18 Platinums, Rogue Leader-15 Golds/15 Aces, Rebel Strike-19 Single Golds/19 Single Aces
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  10. #10
    I'm digging up this thread (get it digging up?) to tell you guys I managed to grow some things.
    I planted corn in my backyard (yes in my backyard) a couple of rows. though they haven't come to fruition. Kinda looks funny and out of place. Guess I need a scarecrow or Jeepers-Creepers character out there. There's also some squash plants (I forgot what kind)
    Alot of things died like my carrots, and a mouse ate a few things like all my peas (damn cat didn't do her job!)

    The cool thing is that my six tomato plants are putting out tomatoes like gangbusters. I've had a tomato everyday for the last two weeks. Either in a salad or on a pastrami sandwich whatever. Like I said before it's like heaven tasting a fresh homegrown tomato.

    Any of you guys had any success? Mabs? Jargo?


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