This is the journal of my endeavours to grow a range of fruit, veg and flowers from seed, grow organically, and my attempts to create a personal paradise with 1/2 acre of maintained gardens and 1/2 acre wild meadows. Northern Ireland's average daily high temperatures are 18 °C (64 °F) in July and 6 °C (43 °F) in January. Soil type: Clay

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Garden Challenge 1

Tired looking Bergenia (above and below).
I suppose every garden has its problem areas or challenges! I've various problems in the garden from overgrown plants to weed issues.

Currently I'm working on a corner of the walled garden I'm not happy with. The soil in this area is heavy clay and the main issues for this area are:

1. Bergenia (pictured left and below) have multiplied into a large patch and are no longer productive.
2. A mix match of plants in this area.
3.  A large shrub rose that I feel doesn't offer anything to the area. It's white flowers are insignificant.

The following photos capture this 'challenging' area and your views / suggestions are welcome!
Above: An overview of the area and the 'problem corner' highlighted. 
I'm thinking of removing the shrub rose and other shrub from the area - this will be quite a big job (which  I would not look forward to). Should I remove these?
The area from a different view. The bergenia (pictured above) have spread over the years but have only three poorly looking flowers. They also provide a snail hotel in the garden.
Should I remove them completely?
This is what healthy bergenia should look like. 
Back to the photo of the area. This is an area of the garden that is highly visible and should be more appealing. Any ideas welcome!


  1. First I must say what a lovely garden you have Kelli - right now I'll offer a suggestion. May be you could dig up the Bergenias and split them then may be they would flower again. As to the rosebush - well I'm loathe to remove anything from my own garden so I won't suggest that either, maybe you could move that and the shrub and put in something that you would appreciate more.

  2. I'm perhaps the least qualified person to advise on flower gardens, Kelli, but even I know that dividing and re-planting things often re-invigorates them, so that's what I'd do with the Bergenia. The rose shrub looks like one of those Old English Roses. If it is, I can tell you that it is likely to be very difficult to move!

  3. I don't know anything about bergenias, but perhaps they're just congested. Dividing may be the answer.

  4. I agree with Elaine about the Bergenias, keep the youngest growths and throw the rest away. It's hard I know.
    As regards the shrub and the shrub rose, I have often read that it is good garden practice to remove any plant that no longer earns its place in the garden. Whilst I agree with this entirely, I personally find it very hard to achieve, and still have many plants waiting on death row. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.

  5. I agree with the suggestions to split the bergenia - the centre often does die off.

    As for the shrubs - if you don't like them and they are not proving their worth have them out and treat it as a chance to buy something new that you will love and that will repay you!

  6. If you have the rose shrub and the other one out, maybe hire someone to remove it. It might prove very difficult and they would have heavier equipment to do the job. Or you could just cut them
    way back, fertilize and see if new growth made them flower more and look more appealing. If you just removed the shrub and not the rose, then you could prune it, plant another more beautiful rose where the shrub was and see if the two together make a better show. Your garden is awfully pretty in the photo anyhow!!!

  7. It's so pretty! I would have never noticed the "problem area"! After you get the bergenia blooming again, then I would take another look at it. Maybe you just need something bigger in that corner to balance out the planting on the right side of the bench. Photoshop might be a good option to try before you take things out. Good luck with whatever you decide.

  8. I was enjoying your garden view that I got distracted and did not notice the problem corner. I am not expert in growing the flowers you mentioned. But I hope you get some good advice.

  9. What about trying to use a flowering evergreen bush? One of my favorites is virburnum. :)

  10. I can't tell you how jealous I am that your begonias are doing well! I have quite sandy soil and our temps get a bit warmer in Sydney so I haven't had much success growing them here. But Like everyone else I think split them up. Put them in pots until they have earned there place back in the garden.

    I don't like roses here as it is too humid and they always get covered in black spot. If you don't like it trash it I say. What about a dogwood in the back for winter colour, some peonies in the front(I say this because I can't grow these either and they were a favourite of mine when I used to work in London). Euphorbas, hellebores, salvia, iris, daylilly are all good value. Do tell us what you got up to