© Garden Cottage Nursery, 2017
Know Your Site And Desires

Coastal Gardening

© Garden Cottage Nursery, 2017
What Do I Want, What Can I Have?
First steps in planning out a garden should be what kind of garden do you desire and what can be practically achieved.  Here are a few points to consider:
Personal preference Most important to you, but not necessarily practical, immaculate lawns and fine topiary gardens are unlikely to succeed on Unst at the top of the Shetland Islands and a cactus garden outdoors in wet Argyll will soon turn to mush. All of the following points should help you to find the happiest compromise between what you want and what your site will allow.
Impact on ones surroundings Not just as touched upon in the above point but also consider the implications your little corner of paradise may have on your neighbours. Battles over out-sized leylandii hedges are common in Suburbia and not without parallel in coastal communities. Many communities, especially in tourist villages have 'Standards' for gardens, that all must follow a certain theme, or have lawns or hedges kept below a certain height. Remember your more wacky tastes may not be shared by everyone and while you can decorate the inside of your house as garishly as you please and nobody else will know, a garden is usually open enough for everybody around to share in your unique tastes and a garden sticking out like a sore thumb may make you subject of mumbled conversations in the Post Office.
Current fashions and trends Important to some and not at all to others. Some positively relish flying in the face of change, a word of caution though what looks very à la mode today can look very passé in ten years time, consider this in planning the longevity of your garden. Part of the joy of a garden is the redevelopment of areas once you become bored with them or they have gone past their best. Dwarf conifer and heather gardens have now passed from grace and seem very unlikely to return, as have island beds and with the seemingly inexorable trend towards a more wild and informal structure of gardens as a whole, the herbaceous border will become less common and the matrix system of mixing perennials and grasses will become more widely used. Remember though that predictions only exist to be disproved and thankfully much in terms of garden fashions remains timeless. 
The use of the garden The all important 'Usergroups', is it to be a public garden? If so certain safety and access concessions must be made such as even paths capable of taking heavy foot traffic and wheelchair (and wheelbarrow) access. Do you have or plan on having kids, if so they will probably want a grassy area to kick footballs into the flower beds from. If you cook you may want to have an area with herb garden near to the kitchen door, many herbs do very well by the sea. These are just a few of hundreds of potential uses, try composing a list of how you would like your the garden to be used and what you would like to get out of it.
Practicality of access to the site for your intentions remember building something at the top of a hill involves carting everything up there to it. Before you put a pond in make sure you can get water to it and that the water has somewhere to go when it overflows.
What the soil like The 'edafic' conditions, how deep is the soil, how good is the drainage, when does it flood, where does water collect or does it dry out for long periods. What is the pH (a fairly approximate idea will do here), the texture of the soil, is it a predominately sandy, loamy, clay or a peat based soil, this will effect greatly what you can and can't grow and the amount of effort it will be to dig.
What is the sites aspect the prevailing direction of the slope of your garden or the slopes in different areas of your garden. The directions from which it is exposed to the sun are important considerations, a south facing slope will dry-out quicker as it feels the effect of the sun for much of the day, a west facing one will not see the sun till the afternoon and so forth. The prevailing wind in the British Isles is from the south west, this is the direction most damaging salt-laden wind will come from and the direction your protection will most likely want to focus.
What can I afford, how long have I got Rome wasn’t built in a day and a complicated garden on the West Coast of Scotland will take time to grow in.  Plant a realistic budget, plants are comparatively cheap if you choose sensibly, big instant and expensive specimens won’t establish in expose situations anyway, but filling a whole gardens worth a once can still cost a fair bit. Fencing, topsoil, machinery hire, building work and hired help will soon add up to a tidy sum.
The Level of maintenance you are willing to carry out (or have carried out on your behalf) Do you want an intricate and vast garden with rock garden, lawns, herbaceous borders, woodland, pond garden, herb garden, etc. If you do are you willing to employ an  army of gardeners or spend hundreds of hours a week yourself in the garden to keep it up to the level you want. Low maintenance  is the best approach for the majority of us who only have an afternoon a week to spend in the garden. Simple modifications can  save hours of maintenance, use plants with ground-covering properties of similar vigour in association so that when they have filled out they leave few gaps for weeds, mulching beds and infrequently used areas of grass can have bulbs planted in them, or given  over to meadow, so adding to the aesthetic and saving on mowing. Generally the more formal the style of gardening the more looking after it will need; neat, clipped hedges, manicured lawns and perfect borders all need plenty of attention from the gardener. Container gardening is becoming ever more popular for  reasons of our busy lifestyles, remember though a plant in a pot needs watered more often than if it were in the ground, selecting  more drought tolerant species helps in the summer but on the flip side they may need to be put under the eaves in the winter to  keep some of the rain off and plants in pots are more vulnerable to frost than those in the ground, but they can be brought in out of harms way. Vitally important with coastal garden is selecting pots which are heavy and broad-based enough not to  blow over in the wind, despite being more fragile and often more expensive a ceramic pot has a distinct weight advantage, also  remember that a terracotta pot dries out quicker than a plastic one and try to find frost-resistant ceramic pots.
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© Garden Cottage Nursery, 2017
Know Your Site And Desires

Coastal Gardening

What Do I Want, What Can I Have?
First steps in planning out a garden should be what kind of garden do you desire and what can be practically achieved.  Here are a few points to consider:
Personal preference Most important to you, but not necessarily practical, immaculate lawns and fine topiary gardens are unlikely to succeed on Unst at the top of the Shetland Islands and a cactus garden outdoors in wet Argyll will soon turn to mush. All of the following points should help you to find the happiest compromise between what you want and what your site will allow.
Impact on ones surroundings Not just as touched upon in the above point but also consider the implications your little corner of paradise may have on your neighbours. Battles over out-sized leylandii hedges are common in Suburbia and not without parallel in coastal communities. Many communities, especially in tourist villages have 'Standards' for gardens, that all must follow a certain theme, or have lawns or hedges kept below a certain height. Remember your more wacky tastes may not be shared by everyone and while you can decorate the inside of your house as garishly as you please and nobody else will know, a garden is usually open enough for everybody around to share in your unique tastes and a garden sticking out like a sore thumb may make you subject of mumbled conversations in the Post Office.
Current fashions and trends Important to some and not at all to others. Some positively relish flying in the face of change, a word of caution though what looks very à la mode today can look very passé in ten years time, consider this in planning the longevity of your garden. Part of the joy of a garden is the redevelopment of areas once you become bored with them or they have gone past their best. Dwarf conifer and heather gardens have now passed from grace and seem very unlikely to return, as have island beds and with the seemingly inexorable trend towards a more wild and informal structure of gardens as a whole, the herbaceous border will become less common and the matrix system of mixing perennials and grasses will become more widely used. Remember though that predictions only exist to be disproved and thankfully much in terms of garden fashions remains timeless. 
The use of the garden The all important 'Usergroups', is it to be a public garden? If so certain safety and access concessions must be made such as even paths capable of taking heavy foot traffic and wheelchair (and wheelbarrow) access. Do you have or plan on having kids, if so they will probably want a grassy area to kick footballs into the flower beds from. If you cook you may want to have an area with herb garden near to the kitchen door, many herbs do very well by the sea. These are just a few of hundreds of potential uses, try composing a list of how you would like your the garden to be used and what you would like to get out of it.
Practicality of access to the site for your intentions remember building something at the top of a hill involves carting everything up there to it. Before you put a pond in make sure you can get water to it and that the water has somewhere to go when it overflows.
What the soil like The 'edafic' conditions, how deep is the soil, how good is the drainage, when does it flood, where does water collect or does it dry out for long periods. What is the pH (a fairly approximate idea will do here), the texture of the soil, is it a predominately sandy, loamy, clay or a peat based soil, this will effect greatly what you can and can't grow and the amount of effort it will be to dig.
What is the sites aspect the prevailing direction of the slope of your garden or the slopes in different areas of your garden. The directions from which it is exposed to the sun are important considerations, a south facing slope will dry- out quicker as it feels the effect of the sun for much of the day, a west facing one will not see the sun till the afternoon and so forth. The prevailing wind in the British Isles is from the south west, this is the direction most damaging salt-laden wind will come from and the direction your protection will most likely want to focus.
What can I afford, how long have I got Rome wasn’t built in a day and a complicated garden on the West Coast of Scotland will take time to grow in.  Plant a realistic budget, plants are comparatively cheap if you choose sensibly, big instant and expensive specimens won’t establish in expose situations anyway, but filling a whole gardens worth a once can still cost a fair bit. Fencing, topsoil, machinery hire, building work and hired help will soon add up to a tidy sum.
The Level of maintenance you are willing to carry out (or have carried out on your behalf) Do you want an intricate and vast garden with rock garden, lawns, herbaceous borders, woodland, pond garden, herb garden, etc. If you do are you willing to employ an  army of gardeners or spend hundreds of hours a week yourself in the garden to keep it up to the level you want. Low maintenance  is the best approach for the majority of us who only have an afternoon a week to spend in the garden. Simple modifications can  save hours of maintenance, use plants with ground-covering properties of similar vigour in association so that when they have filled out they leave few gaps for weeds, mulching beds and infrequently used areas of grass can have bulbs planted in them, or given  over to meadow, so adding to the aesthetic and saving on mowing. Generally the more formal the style of gardening the more looking after it will need; neat, clipped hedges, manicured lawns and perfect borders all need plenty of attention from the gardener. Container gardening is becoming ever more popular for  reasons of our busy lifestyles, remember though a plant in a pot needs watered more often than if it were in the ground, selecting  more drought tolerant species helps in the summer but on the flip side they may need to be put under the eaves in the winter to  keep some of the rain off and plants in pots are more vulnerable to frost than those in the ground, but they can be brought in out of harms way. Vitally important with coastal garden is selecting pots which are heavy and broad- based enough not to  blow over in the wind, despite being more fragile and often more expensive a ceramic pot has a distinct weight advantage, also  remember that a terracotta pot dries out quicker than a plastic one and try to find frost-resistant ceramic pots.
Page 1 Page 1 Page 2 Page 2 Page 4 Page 4 Page 3 Page 3 Page 5 Page 5