Ask a Question forum: I want a full garden!

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Name: Sheila
Central Kansas (Zone 6a)
Be thankful for everything you have
Jan 27, 2014 4:58 PM CST
I love the look of full gardens. How do I resist the urge to fill them up with new plants? Is it ok to do that, then thin them later? How do you guys get your gardens to look so beautiful? Mine are all new from last April so they are not old gardens. I'm have Hostas in the shade. I want to add some Heucheras with them but I don't know how close I should plant them. The hostas were dug from my old house and were established, but the drought in Kansas really kicked them back. It seems like I was watering every other day in the summer!
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Name: Larry
Enterprise, Al. 36330 (Zone 8b)
Composter Garden Photography Million Pollinator Garden Challenge Garden Ideas: Master Level Plant Identifier Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Region: Alabama
Jan 28, 2014 11:34 AM CST
I also love the look of full gardens, then when I see a garden with a lot of bare well kept space I like that tidy look also. I think it is a great idea to fill a bed with plants and thin later. I think one of the better ideas for keeping a beautiful garden is to be able to move plants in and out as needed. I have always liked the idea of an alternate garden, or the garden out behind the shed idea, one that is not for display, but one that gets raided when you need to fill in a space and plant the not quite ready for prime time plants.
Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jan 29, 2014 9:40 AM CST
Full gardens are great to look at. I would recommend to fill in with annuals for the time being until the perennials get established. The best solution for a full garden is time. It is said about perennials: the first year they sleep, the second year they creep, and the third year they LEAP!

Another solution is to buy mature perennials. But, be sure to follow the recommended spacing suggestions, especially if you plant shrubs...unless you want to do a lot of pruning. Crowded plants encourage disease. Air flow is essential.

You can also consider adding some boulders or garden art to fill in the gaps. For garden art, be sure to stick to a theme. If you add boulders, bury them a bit so they look natural.

I hope this helps. Let us know what you decide to do, and update us with photos please!
Name: Rita
North Shore, Long Island, NY
Zone 6B
Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Tomato Heads I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Vegetable Grower Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge)
Birds Garden Ideas: Master Level Butterflies Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Roses Photo Contest Winner: 2016
Jan 29, 2014 11:31 AM CST
I also think the best plan is too fill in with annuals. First of all, it will give you lots of color almost immediately while giving the perennials time to grow and fill in. Annuals are so easy.
Name: Michele Roth
N.E. Indiana - Zone 5b
I'm always on my way out the door..
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Forum moderator Garden Sages Garden Ideas: Master Level Dog Lover Cottage Gardener
Native Plants and Wildflowers Plant Identifier Organic Gardener Keeps Horses Hummingbirder Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Jan 29, 2014 12:06 PM CST
Wind protection will help your garden plants reach their full potential, too. Most of the garden plants we love to see growing lush and full can do so almost entirely on their own after they're given a bit of protection from the hot, drying winds of summer. A few examples from the gardens here ...

Windward edge of the planting area:

This row of super wind-resistant Lilac, Bridal Wreath and Rugosa Rose aren't all that intriguing in and of themselves, but they offer wonderful protection for another garden area situated downwind.
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Downwind of barrier:
(Click on the image to see the markings)
Yellow arrow denotes the flow pattern of prevailing summer winds. Red circle is where a fence section with shrubs is situated to cause a partial block. This helps to create a softer eddy and flow of hot, drying winds.
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Plants downwind of the shrub/fence barrier.
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If it helps, think small to start with and then begin a section at a time.

Small area examples:

These pansies wouldn't be nearly as full and lush if the variegated grass wasn't providing shelter.
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Delicate blooms aren't tattered by wind and storms if they're sheltered, and the plants grow straight and true.
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You don't have to tackle it all at once either, just pick a spot and start with a grouping of items: a fence section, a pile of rocks or wood, the side of a building, or whatever you have to work with, then add some wind-resistant shrubs at the edges, and go on from there. Smiling
Cottage Gardening

Newest Interest: Rock Gardens

[Last edited by chelle - Jan 29, 2014 12:09 PM (+)]
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Name: Reid
North Branch, MN (Zone 4b)
Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Jan 29, 2014 4:06 PM CST
By the way, there is a garden art forum if you need some ideas.
Name: Rick Corey
Everett WA 98204 (Zone 8a)
Sunset Zone 5. Koppen Csb. Eco 2f
Frugal Gardener Garden Procrastinator I helped beta test the first seed swap Plant and/or Seed Trader Seed Starter Region: Pacific Northwest
Photo Contest Winner: 2014 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Garden Ideas: Master Level Garden Sages I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped plan and beta test the plant database.
Jan 29, 2014 5:26 PM CST
If you have open space and plastic chairs but little budget for art, a nice spot to sit down looks like a well-planned foresight-full use of garden space.

If legs sink into soil, consider laying down some concrete paving stones, or setting each chair-leg into a soup can inside a coffee can, with some spare lids added for strength.

If you have a LOT of empty space, two chairs plus a small table ...

My SO got my a small statue of an angelic figure for the garden, but now I don't want to put her out in the rain, on a sappy old stump!

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Name: Joanne
Calgary, AB Canada (Zone 3a)
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Master Level Region: Canadian Charter ATP Member Seed Starter Roses
Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Annuals Container Gardener Vegetable Grower Winter Sowing Enjoys or suffers cold winters
Feb 2, 2014 4:36 PM CST
I agree with filling the spaces with annuals while your perennials mature. Looks like lots of sun near the trampoline. You may want to consider dinner-plate dahlias - big plants with big flowers and very easy to grow from tubers. Annual and/or perennial vines would look gorgeous along the wall of your house. Sometimes I put a big container of annuals in my flowerbed if I have a spot that needs a color boost. Adding some shrubs or roses will add focal points, texture and color.
When we moved to our house 15 years ago, there was one daylily plant. We had several years with a 8x10 trampoline and a 21' swing set. I'm sure your garden will "leap" in year three

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