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Planting A Raised Bed

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Vagus | 09:34 Thu 22nd Feb 2024 | Home & Garden
14 Answers

We have a raised bed which used to be a pond, it's approx 8ft x 3ft.

Weve tried various types of planting in it..lavender, wild flowers, pansies, geraniums, but nothing has really been successful so we gave up and covered it in gravel.

However, due to some garden renovations and a change in our lifestyle we've decided we want to plant it out again, with something really colourful. I'm thinking begonias but does anyone have any suggestions?



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Did you ever find out why it wasn't successful previously ?

Question Author

I think partly because we were away a lot so couldn't water as much as was needed, although we chose lavender and geraniums especially because of that. The wildflowers just looked like weeds, they need to be in a much larger area to look nice I think. I think the pansies suffered from lack of watering.

a variety of bedding plants. You can get them cheap and cheeful from garden centres now and change them each season

make sure that you are mixing some bone meal and fertiliser through and depending on how claggy your soil is maybe some perlite.

ah I see they were too dry - perhaps a good mulch of bark chippings which are not only good at saving water - very cheap and smell lovely

Question Author

Are there particular plants I should consider, Helen? Ideally I'd like it to look a mass of colour low down rather than flowers on top of stems, would begonias work?

begonias, pansies, marigolds. 

Chuck a few herbs in there too thyme, chives, marjoram and oregano - useful for cooking with and look lovely when in flower

pansies and french marigolds are edible and look lovely scattered on a salad


Question Author

Oh yes, hadn't thought of marigolds, they're very colourful, and maybe some herbs too. Thanks Helen, for all the suggestions about the soil too πŸ‘πŸ˜Š

Does the bed have sides and a bottom or is it 'open' to the soil underneath? If it is like a giant plant container, then it could be suffering from lack of water in dry weather, or from waterlogging in wet weather (unless there are drainage holes in the bottom).


Question Author

It's really well drained, Atheist. Although the pond liner is still in place (it was difficult to remove as it's concreted/mortared in under the top layer of bricks so we left it) it was well and truly slashed and cut as much as we could. Under the pond liner is a load of bricks and stones covered in sand.

I think that's maybe been part of the problem in the past...too free draining and not enough watering. Things are different now though and whatever we plant will get lots of TLC and water 🌼🌸🌺πŸͺ»πŸŒ»

The difficulty with raised beds is that they depend on you for water.  They do not take rain water well and even after lots of rain, you will still need to water.  Daily.  And not just a sprinkle.

You could consider setting up an automatic drip feed system (not expensive).

Whilst Begonias have big waxy leaves that will protect the top of the soil from drying out, they do need water.  Mr BM normally produces an amazing display of begonias, but he waters them religiously in the cool of the evening, every evening.  Without fail.  If you want something a bit more forgiving, go for herbs and lavender as RH says.

Your planting matter is important - unfortunately if it is compost, once it has dried out forget it.  Better with soil - you can buy bags of topsoil.  If you do use compost mix in some water retaining gel.

Wild flowers will not generally do well.  Pelargoniums are quite forgiving, nasturtiams are good (but prefer poor soil), pansies can get leggy.  Busy Lizzies may do OK with some attention.  We had great success last year with osteopermums (the annual variety) in pots with compost.  Seek out plants that like it dry.

Osteospermums that should say!

Question Author

Many thanks for all those suggestions Barmaid, some good pointers, Id not considered osteospermums, they're very colourful.

The soil is actual soil but stuff will be added to it before we plant anything to give everything a fighting chance. And watering won't be a problem anymore as we won't be going away on our extended six week trips, the longest will be a week, two at the most. We used to have an automatic system but OH removed it when we had a water meter fitted πŸ™„

to follow on from what BM said - nasturtiams are edible the leaves can be eaten in salads or stir fries and the flowers in salads, even the seeds can be pickled and eaten like capers.

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Planting A Raised Bed

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