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Your garden conditions

Plants grow partially below ground (in the soil) and partially above ground in the air. This section describes the environmental conditions you should understand to ensure you are selecting plants that will thrive there. Is your garden in shade? Is it windy? How cold does it get?

Take notes throughout this section about the conditions in your garden. There is a print-out at the end for you to take out into the garden and scribble on if you prefer. Armed with your notes, then enter what you have learned into your personal account so you always have a record and we can advise you better. To register.

Aspect - Which direction does your garden face? East, West, North or South. Perhaps some comination of two? This is useful as it provides a good idea of the amount of light you are likely to get in your garden.

If you are unsure, here is a simple check. Stand with your back to your property facing north south vaneoutwards towards the garden. If you are standing in the sun in the morning, you face primarily east, if you are standing in the sun in the evening you face primarily west. If you see the sun rising to the left and setting over to the right, you are south facing and get a lot of day light all day. If however, if you have to turn around to catch a glimpse of the sun rise and set, you are primarily north facing, and get little light, particularly in the winter months.

If you are still in doubt buy a compass or ask a neighbour. (And please record the answer in the garden conditions section in your account.)

sun and shadeLight - Do you have pockets in your garden which are in full sun, part shade or total shade? Unless you are totally hemmed in by buildings and trees, and north facing, you probably get some light in your garden. This is useful to be aware of when buying and then planting plants. Have a wander around to take a look at different parts of the day. (Once again make a note- if you have all three light conditions, enter them all. Just remeber to check as you are planting a new plant to put it in the pocket of light it will enjoy. Over time we will let you register more than one garden -e.g. front and back.)

beachExposure - Is your garden in a sheltered or exposed position to the wind? If your garden is on a hill, by open water or on a roof terrace or open balcony it may get buffetted more by the wind than ususal.

Again there are some plants that are used to this type of environment and others that suffer. (you can select sheltered, exposed, or both)

Temperature - This is possibly probably the most tricky bit...Whatsnow on a plant is the average minimum temperature in your area? Do you have special indoor growing facilities? In the UK we can grow a variety of hardy and tender plants, however, the further north you travel you may have trouble with the more tender and half hardy plants. Each plant in our database comes with a rating of H1, H2, H3 and/or H4 depending on the temperture it needs to thrive.

Almost everywhere in the UK, we can grow H4-Hardy (-15C/ 5F) and Frost Hardy (-5C/23F) plants. So unless you live very far north, you should make a note that you can grow plants with an H4 rating.

If your garden is in the south and stays warmer, you can also include H3-Tender (5C/41F) and Half Hardy (0C/32F) plants. (if not, best not to add H3 to your list)

If you can grow plants in a cold greenhouse, add H2-Unheated greenhouse to your list. And finally if you have a heated greenhouse, add H1-Heated Greenhouse/Indoors.

Download print version to take with you if you like? Click to download

Now that you have all these great notes, please go to your account and store them in there. This will help when us provide better advice to you. If you don't have an account, register here)