First ever garden- ground cover?

Jessie23October 29, 2013

Hi! I'm a college student, just moved out of home to a studio- and it has a small (6 m2) garden. I've never done gardening before, I'd like to try but have no idea where to start!

As far as I can tell, I'm in zone 8, (in Lyon, France). I don't know anything about the soil. The garden faces south-east, but there is a tall (2m) hedge and some trees further out, so not that much direct sunlight. It hasn't been touched for some years- the owners recently cleaned it out, and so it's pretty much just a lot of exposed dirt, some small plants and small patches of moss.
I have no idea what to do! Preferably, something not too time consuming or expensive, though.

I was thinking about getting something to cover the soil, like grass.
I've heard of clover and moss? That seem interesting because of the shade- and less maintenance!

But I don't know if it would work, how to start, what to do, where to get it... Any help please?

Maybe later I'd like to get some herbs or small plants- Are lavender, mint(in a pot) rosemary, thyme.... Unrealistic? I'm lost!
Thanks!

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gardengal48

If not much direct sunlight, then you are looking at plants that will tolerate shade. That includes some lovely groundcovers (vinca, baby tears, pachysandra, sweet woodruff) but also includes things like ferns and various flowering perennials (dicentra, hellebores, astilbe) and a number of small shrubs. You may want to check at any garden center or retail plant nursery in your area for suggestions and availability.

Most herbs want a good amount of sun......like a LOT......to be happy and grow well. Mint (also parsley) can tolerate the least amount of sunlight.

    Bookmark   November 3, 2013 at 5:43PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

"small patches of moss." This indicates pretty deep shade that is consistently moist.

Generally, variegated and chartreuse foliage and white/very light colored flowers show up well in shade, and even in the dark. There are a ton of plants for shady gardens, shouldn't be hard to find many 'out there.' I don't know how things are done in France, but it's kind of dull, gardening-wise around here for the next couple months. You might be able to grow some lettuce? I'm not that good at veggies.

In the spring though, you should be able to find tons of cool things like Begonias, Coleus, cool elephant ears, Caladiums, Tradescantias, Plectranthus, Impatiens, sweet potato vines of various colors, Persian Shield, Alternantheras, Perilla, and so many decorative foliage and flowering plants for shade.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2013 at 3:29PM
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