Adapting to a new climate...any suggestions?

eckles(8)February 20, 2012

Hi everyone. I've moved from arid Australia to the southern part of the UK. I was a really keen gardener back home and have moved to a lovely place with a big garden that's been let go over the years and I want to make it something special. Could anyone tell me some great plants for clay-ish soil that doesn't mind a bit of snow now and then? I also have deer to contend with and don't want to start putting up fences and guards. I know nothing about cold climate gardening. All my years of experience have gone out the window here and I have to learn all over again. I'd like flowering plants mainly. We have a lot of conifers and hedges already. Ground covers and low growing shrubs are what I had in mind. Thanks for any suggestions.

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flora_uk(SW UK 8/9)

eckles - most of the posters here are based in the US and their conditions are often very different from the ones you'll have in the UK. It is not just a case of choosing plants but understanding how to garden in our climate. For example, irrigation figures high in the US. Here we hardly mention it. Mulch is less of a fetish and grass just grows! On the other hand plants which need hot summers will not do well here, even though our winters are not very cold. Crape myrtle, for example, will not survive. I frequent these forums because they are different.

My first suggestion is that you should watch your garden carefully for a year to see what you already have there. At this time of year you should be beginning to see the spring bulbs - daffodils, crocus, etc. Most garden plants here are pretty forgiving and they will not mind you leaving them in peace for a while as you learn about them. Try to identify what you have already. Feel free to post photos on the Name That Plant Forum here and I will do my best to id them for you.

My second suggestion is to get a copy of the Royal Horticultural Society's Encyclopaedia of Garden Plants. It has a simple hardiness key. Also visit the RHS website. I won't go into all the detail but have a look and you'll find masses of gardening help there.

Visit garden centres (some, like Hilliers, have garden clubs with activities and magazines) shows and gardens open to the public. If you see a plant you like idrentify it and then look it up to see what its requirements are. Most things you'll find at a garden centre will grow in your garden except possibly acid lovers. They're not in the business of selling stuff which will not survive the local climate.

Talk to the neighbours and buy a gardening magazine every so often. They have 'what to do this month' columns.

Sorry I can't answer your question directly - there are around 90,000 different plants grown in UK gardens. You have moved to one of the best places in the world to grow stuff. Have fun!

Here is a link that might be useful: RHS

    Bookmark   February 21, 2012 at 10:40AM
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Thanks for your suggestions. The bulbs are starting to shoot everywhere now. I've planted a few things and accidentally dug a few up. My main plan was to clear what I don't want and put in some of what looks great in the neighbours yard in the cleared beds. Just a tidy up is making a huge difference. Plenty of Heather of all colours with silver folage works too. I'm learning...slowly. Thanks

    Bookmark   February 22, 2012 at 1:20PM
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Konrad___far_north(3..just outside of Edmonton)

Hope you're adjusting well to the new place!
Just on top of my head...
HOW is the overall state of mind after the move...any regrets??
Guess time will tell.
I'm sure your'e enjoying the Lucius Green,....but what might bother me the most is the lack of sunshine.
I grew up in Switzerland...probably similar in climate as the UK.
Now over 30 Years in Alberta, I still don't regret and all-way's enjoy our dry sunny province.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2012 at 1:39PM
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