Debbie's Garden

You may remember that I am helping my friend Debbie create a dog friendly garden.  She has very sensibly decided to concentrate on one area at a time as her garden is a little large to think about all at once.  An added benefit is that the costs are also spread. 

Here are the latest photos from Debbie after she planted all the plants she recently bought.  The area certainly is starting to look like a garden :). 

Note that she is still restricting canine access to the area using sheep fencing while the plants establish.  This may not be necessary if you are only planting a couple of plants, but with a brand new bed like this, it makes sense to let the plants establish a little before she trains the dogs that the bed is her area not theirs.

Hi Finuala

I had no idea how many plants we arrived home with last week, I thought about 50, but they are all planted (and counted) now and it was 66!!!!

I just have a Morello cherry left to plant that I am going to try and fan train on the fence.

Sep 2009

Mar 2009

From Debbie – plants for her new garden.  See the thread for the story so far of the new canine friendly garden she is creating.

Just a quickie…… on way home with a full caravan – see photo!!!!!!!

If you look carefully, you can see the inside view of a caravan amidst all these plants

Hi Finuala

I have made arrangements today for our first nursery visiting trip – and I am EXCITED!!!

The main purpose of the trip is to visit Paul Whittaker plants:

 This is one of the nurseries I had hoped to visit at the end of last year. I have spoken to Paul today and he came across as really helpful and knowledgeable. He has asked me to email him a plan with dimensions, aspects etc. and some photos of the area I am wanting to plant so that he can offer me appropriate advice and suggestions when we visit.

He runs the nursery with his wife, and they are both doggie people so hopefully we will be on the same wavelength!!!

 Keep watching this space!!

 Best wishes


Hi Finuala

Lovely to hear from you. I have a collection of catalogues recently arrived all put to one side to look at after 1st February!!

I have done NOTHING about my garden recently. I got as far as a wish list last October. I found a couple of specialist nurseries to vist, Dave agreed to buy me a ‘feature’ for my birthday, we managed to free up time in the diary for a few days away to search for said ‘feature’ and visit the nurseries…. then Dave was ill!!!! He’s fine now, so we are hoping to reschedule the trip for March.

So – watch this space, I will let you know as soon as I start buying and planting – and thank you for reminding me about hellebores, I planted some in Northumberland and they were amazing.

Bye for now


Hi Debbie

 Just wondered how your thoughts on the garden were going?  Have those vegetable catalogues got any flowers in them too?  Those catalogues are a wonderful way of gardening in the winter – dreaming of what your garden might look like in the summer.  I must admit that I am not a “bedding” person, so much in those spring catalogues leaves me cold, but there are a few that have perennials as well. 

 The one annual that I tend to go for each year is Cosmos.  They perform so well, flowering their little heads off.  Last year mine kept going until the beginning of November, and all that they need is regular dead heading – I do it a couple of times a week (all the more for the compost bin). 

 I am rubbish at growing seeds, I never seem to have any luck with them.  Luckily these days there are so many ways of buying annuals, from mini plugs, all the way up to garden ready plants.  You obviously pay more as they get older and there is less risk of them failing but they are still remarkably good value for money.  The other great thing about annuals is that you can use them to fill in spaces as your garden grows up.  New gardens look so sad when they are empty, waiting for other plants to mature around them..

 Then of course at this time of year my thoughts turn to spring flowering plants.  Yes, bulbs had to go in last autumn, but there are still some wonderful plants that you can buy and pop straight in the ground. 

My favourite is the hellebore.  They tolerate most soil conditions and their flowers make you just want to stare and stare at them.  Some people put them in bowls of water so that they can appreciate them indoors.  The plants aren’t cheap (probably around £9.00), but once you have a few in your garden and fall in love with them then you can always buy a few more each year – that’s what I do.

 Hellebores aren’t the only choice – snowdrops, primroses, cyclamen and many other wonderful plants are just thinking of waking up.

 So, how are your dreams going?

 Best Wishes


Hi Finuala

Just managed to grab half an hour in the sweet shop!!

I have realised that I seem to have an oriental theme developing???!!!

I have found a grass I like, penniesetum alopecurides, add this to bamboo, lonicera japonica, holboellia coriacea, chaenomeles and miscanthus……

I have also always liked acer palmatum but have been told in the past that they can be very difficult to grow. Have you grown them?



 Hi Debbie

There are a load of lovely plants from the oriental as that was a favourite place for the Victorian plant hunters.  Is the theme just the plants or are you thinking of expanding it into the decoration as well? 

I was pleased to see that the Penniesetum is frost hardy, there are some that aren’t.  I haven’t tried Acers as I don;t have the right spot for one.  Their big issue is wind damage.  I’d wait a while and eventually create a sheltered are for one, but bear it in mind as you design. (I am assuming that your garden is pretty windy – an I right?)


Hi Finuala

I’m getting hung up on wanting the fence to be broken up in winter by something evergreen.

The climbing shrubs from the RHS plant finder I like are:

Mutisia decurrens
Lonicera japonica ‘Halliana’
Holboellia coriacea

Do any of these make you want to run away screaming?! I also remember you mentioned some listed as evergreen weren’t true evergreens but can’t remember which.

I am seriously liking bamboo, and some of the grasses. I’ve never grown either before. The bamboos seem to have large spreads. Do you have any? Do you think I could manage the spread of bamboo given my narrow planting width?



Hi Debbie

The Mutisia decurrens may be hard to get hold of as the Plant Finder says it was last listed in 2005 :(.  The Lonicera looks v nice, but I thought you didn’t like Honeysuckle :).  I love the look of Holboellia coriacea, I think I may have to try that myself – now where can I put it ???

What I was trying to say about evergreens is that although they keep their leaves in the winter, the leaves have to drop off at some point.  This means that particularly the ones with larger leaves can look a bit scruffy during the year as each leaf slowly dies off – make sense?

Yep, the problem with bamboos is the spread.  I don’t have any, but I have thought about them.  That planting width isn’t that narrow really and they could, in time, make a real jungle along there.  They would certainly hide the fence, but might make the area feel a little claustrophobic in time.  What you could do is put a barrier in the ground to try to control their spread.  This site seems to have some good advice on them.  Also, bamboos seem to suffer from wind damage – how windy is it down that side of the conservatory?  Another thing to consider is aspect – this page  seems to suggest that they need sun.


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