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The trials & tribulations of a new gardener - Part 3


Progress – Please come and have a nosey :O)

Hey everyone, hope you’ve all had productive weekends. I certainly have! It did get off to a slow start because yesterday was torrential rain all day so I did zero in the garden. In fact I barely ventured out of the house. However I definitely made up for it today.

I have been desperate to continue work on the woodland area for weeks but have been unnable to due to re-seeding the lawn and needing to keep off it. I finally got to mow my new lawn today and start work on the borders in the back area. So my first problem is my new lawn. I am going to put up a question about this, but thought I’d stick it on here too. It was weeded and reseeded about 3 weeks ago. However there are still large patchy areas. Does anyone have any ideas how to fix it or will it just sort itself out?

My new lawn just getting started:

Ok so I started the long cottage border and mapped out under the apple and pear tree a while back. The main area that really needed my attention was in the far corner under this huge tree which I am ashamed to say I don’t even know what it is.



Anyone recognise these leaves?

Ok so along the semi-shaded border under the mystery tree that for some reason reminds of the one out of Winnie the Pooh :O) I have started with a pinky/purple planting scheme. Here is where I’m up to:

Here I have planted; Hebe -Heartbreaker, Hardy Fuschia, Pink Bacopia, Hardy Geranium, Hosta & Astrantia good pink (Masterwort). Any other ideas guys?

Here I have Dianthus Pinks, Honeysuckle Lonicera, Dicentra Spectabilis (Bleeding Heart) & Aquilegas. Please feel free to throw in any suggestions of any other plants for this area, it would be much appreciated :O) To left of the Hosta is very sunny and to the right very shaded.

So my next issue is that the huge mound of soil that sat where my compost bin is now is hiding behind the willow screening. When up close it is an eyesore. Does anyone have any ideas how to disguse this mess?

I was thinking either, a large screen, taller willow screening or a shrub that could grow really tall under that huge tree and eventually disguse the area. I would really like a rambling rose. Whatever I plant will go exactely where those three little tulip lights are. Any ideas?

So now over towards my woodland area, this little area in front of the fences (that are yet to be painted and screened off) gets rather a lot of sun at the end of the day. So I plan to plant this area tomorrow.

So I have; Sedium, Armeria Maritima ‘Alba’ (Thrift), Scabiosa, Phlox, Pavar – Royal Wedding :O), Origanum ‘Kent Beauty’ (Oregano) Echinops ritro (Globe Thistle), Geranium Phaeum ‘Samobor’ & Primula denticulata var. alba (White Drumstick Primrose).

Please come and have a nosey around my little woodland. Just please remember to go quietly so as not to disturb the faeries ;O) I have already planted a Fern and have a lovely Hosta, some Helleborus, Ajugas, Trycristis – Toad Lillies and Aquilegas to go in.

If you can see right at the back of the woodland there is a trelis. I really want to plant something that will climb up and hopefully along the fence. Is there a different climbing rose (to the one that will do well in the tree) that will grow well in the shade? I really want to add some colour to this area with lots of Roses or even some clematis that don’t mind shade.

Up the back end of the garage I have a little border that has already had a Lavender hedge planted with a small Rosemary, Lupin and Ceanthous. I have a Heuchera – Sweet Tea and Weigela to go in yet. Also where you can see the little faerie door I would love to plant a Wisteria that I hope would take over the garage, that is my dream :O)

Ok here is a zoomed out view of the woodland area. In it you can see the Pear tree (on the left) & the Apple tree (on the right). Now then the Pear has never fruited in the 5 years I have lived here and it has these horrible black marks to half of the leaves. We pruned it massively last year but to no avail. Does anyone have any ideas if I can help it? I was considering growing a climbing Rose through either the Pear, the Apple or both……….what do you guys think? Any ideas of a good one that might look nice and do well in this area?

The Apple

Ok so we move onto the cottage border that I started a while back and still needs a lot of work. I have prunned the Lupins & Delpiniums and have a lot more to go in. Does anyone have any ideas or thoughts on what it might be missing? Also any ideas on how to define the grass edge would be much appreciated.

Now the last stretch. In the far right corner under the blue bird table is a Lavender, Lilac Shrub, Ajaga and Cornflower. I feel that something is missing to the right of the birdtable but am not sure what to put there, this area is very very shaded.

This little area is very shaded and I’m worried I made a mistake putting Lavender and Heather here. Do you think I need to move them. I have some Astilbe to put in front of the small bird bath.

Ok so this is the last little bit, my self made very uneven pink patio :O) I have just potted a load of pinks, fuschias and dahlias. My Dad is going to make me a Rose arch for over this little area because I really do love it so much.

Now that brings us back to where we started. Thanks once again guys for taking the time to look around my modest little garden. As always if you feel inspired or have any ideas please share :O)

Happy Gardening x

More blog posts by misscupcake

Previous post: The trials & tribulations of a new gardener - Part 2

Next post: Guess Where????? :O)



Hi Misscupcake, I've only just managed to catch up with your blogs. Everything looking very lush after the rain. I enjoyed reading them :)) I can hear how enthusiatic you are!!!!!!
I don't have answers to most of your questions but can I comment on your some of your pics it looks quite waterlogged or is that my eyesight :) If this was mine, I would put some more seed in the patchy bits. I recently lifted some stepping stones and filled in with soil and seed. They were a wee bit patchy and I put more seed in at it came ok in the end.
Lavender likes full sun and very poor dry soil, I've learned this lesson!!!
Be careful with your heathers...if they are not trimmed correctly they become all woody and look yukkkkk! This is the same for lavander.
I too would be tempted to grow something to fill the gap under that tree. That soil mound may eventually rot the fencing and your screening.
I absolutely love your bird feeder :)
There are many ways to define your grass edge, costing from very little to very expensive. Reclaimed brick laid diagonally on their ends gives the cottagy look, I think.
Perhaps your dad or BF knows where they could lay his hands on some for much cheapness!!!
I have no doubt there are probably plenty others who will give you better advice than I can give, beginners together eh!!
I hope you dont mind me giving you one more piece of advice...I started of with all your enthusiasm last year, spent lots of money and lost around 50% of my plants because I got too excited. Let the things you have grow this year and next year fill in once you see what has done well and what hasn't.
Obelisks are great for growing clematis in the border rather than against a wall or fence.
I love the look you are achieving...all those little nick nacs around the garden looks realy cute.
Keep up the good work.
Angie x

20 Jun, 2011


i think the large tree is an oak tree,would say more but going to work,happy gardening

20 Jun, 2011


Yes it's an Oak :o)

I think you'd be better moving the lavender to a sunny place.
It's all going to look great when it fills out.

20 Jun, 2011


hi, it is looking good, well done, it will soon fill out. looks like u had a massive downpour, i agree with scottish re the lawn, just scatter seed on any patchy bits, dont walk on it too much. look forward to seeing ure progress.

20 Jun, 2011


Hey Scottish thanks for all the advice. I agree about not getting too carried away with the plants. I lost some things last year and have really learnt my lesson because I didn't correctly protect them from the frost we had. I really need to look into that this year. Also I am going to be putting a lot of mulch down so hopefully that'll help too. Things did look a little water logged but I had just watered everything so that's probably why, however my soil does tend to get a bit compacted so I need to try and combat that somehow. I have a mini rotavator that I use on the borders I might try it on the patchy areas of lawn too and then add more seed :O)

Ladybug and Hywell many thanks for the tree ID, I love that tree it's just a shame it causes so much shade. Hywell I think you're very right about the Lavender I think I will move it. :O)

Cazcat thanks to you too for the nice comments :O)

20 Jun, 2011


Hi, you have been working hard it is looking great. I would suggest you have a look at Taylor's Clematis Nursery. They grow a wide selection and will have a list of Clem's that will grow in shade for your woodland trellis.

I love seeing a garden come to life it will look lovely when all the plants have grown, I love cottage gardens looking forward to seeing it progress. :-)

20 Jun, 2011


Aw thanks so much TEDS that fab advice I will take a look. I would love a mix of clematis along the fence. I will keep everyone updated on the progress :O)

20 Jun, 2011


well its looking as tho you have it all under contrull hun ..............yep its an oak tree ........... lovely ...........
love ur nik naks sooo pretty !! i have mixed borders ........... every were . i tend to spilt plants in aurtum and spring , and spread them around . allso wen buying them , have a look 2 see if you can get 2 or 3 out of it ................ you get more 4 your mony , i do this all the time . i have had up to 6 plants from 1 pot !! ........... youjust pot them on 4 a while and let them grow . x

20 Jun, 2011


Haha Cristina I must admit that I have definitely been looking at how much I can get out my plants. I really need to get some sort of greenhouse soon so I can start getting some cuttings soon. :O)

20 Jun, 2011


best way hun ............. gud 4 you , i got a greenhouse and grow my own annuals every year now ......... its easy !!

20 Jun, 2011


Can't believe I nearly missed this blog! You have certainly got "the bug" Cupcake....and your garden is going to be stunning with all those lovely new plants :)) It's already a credit to your hard work and enthusiasm!

It's really hard to "give advice", as I can't grasp the size or scale of your garden from the pics...but my first impression would be to widen the borders and cut back on the lawn area....this would give you more room to grow the climbers and ramblers that would add so much to the "cottagey look". If you made the lawn more circular (or oval) and edged it in the log roll, this would effectively widen your borders and give you more planting space. You could then "frame the view" with a couple of well placed arches which would add height to your design, and support climbers such as clematis and roses.

In your "pinky-purply" border you could try growing a's a shrub that grows rapidly (in most conditions), has masses of pink flowers in summer, and soon grows to a decent size. Try Lavatera "Barnsley" for impact! Purple aliums (Alium "Purple sensation") would look good would dark purple and pink tulips for spring colour (Tulip "Queen of the Night" and Tulip "Angelique" would be gorgeous...)

Ooohhh I could go on and on with ideas and suggestions (but better not or I'll be boring you ;) Your garden reminds me very much of mine twenty years ago.... I'm enjoying watching it's progress! :))

23 Jun, 2011


Aw thanks for all the advice Di, I have a huge Lavatera in the front part of the back garden and I saw another beautiful one at the vicarage today so might have to take your advice. I have also put in an order for two arches and an arbour from my Dad. Lol me and Mum have a huge list for him :O) As for the borders I have just widened them but plan to invest in some new more heavy duty log roll when I can afford it and then I can widen them even more. Hopefully it will get it done in the next few months depending on how much time I get :O)

26 Jun, 2011

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