Wednesday 2 March 2016

Plans for the borders

In my garden, the emphasis is firmly on the edibles - fruit, veg and herbs - but two sides of my plot are edged with an ornamental border about three feet wide. In the border I want easy-maintenance plants, so that means mostly shrubs. I am particularly fond of Dogwoods, which provide lots of interest (attractive leaves in Summer / Autumn and brightly-coloured stems in Winter / Spring), whilst needing minimal maintenance.

I am also currently very much enthused with Hellebores, so I am gradually establishing clumps of them underneath the Dogwoods. This is a good combination because the Hellebores flower at a time when the Dogwoods have no leaves.

I am raising several new Hellebore plants from seed, and my plan is to put them into the border down by the shed, in an area from which I have recently removed lots of the Euphorbia.

Euphorbia is nice enough, but (in my opinion) rather unexciting. Actually, over the last couple of years it seems to have lost its vigour and probably needed some drastic treatment anyway.

Euphorbia "Clarice Howard"

Since the Hellebore seedlings are currently very small and will take a couple of years to bulk-up even when they are planted out, I am going to temporarily fill the space with Heuchera plants. I have five like this, which are offshoots from a mature plant that I have had for several years:

Heuchera diversifolia "Palace Purple"

Also in the border is this Libertia, a plant which has a history. It was once on display at the Chelsea Flower Show. I mean this specific plant, not just one of this type.

Next to the Libertia, at the right of the photo above is an Hypericum. This one is a volunteer that just appeared one year, presumably growing from a seed imported by a bird. It has beautiful flowers and berries, so I am happy to have it in my garden.

At the other end of the border is this... a Japanese Anemone called "September Charm".

This type of Anemone spreads very easily, via underground roots, and little plants are popping up all over the place. I will have to be ruthless if I am to keep this one in check!

latest addition to the border is this Lysimachia Ciliata "Firecracker", purchased last Summer on a visit to RHS Wisley:

I grew it in a pot last year, when it was still small, but when it died down in the Autumn I transferred it to the border, near the Anemone. With a bit of luck it will grow a lot bigger this year.

I realise that I have strayed from the point a bit in this post. I started by writing of some plans to augment the planting in my borders, and I have ended up telling you what the borders contain! Oh well...

Actually, it has served to remind me that despite the preponderance of edibles in my garden, there are also plenty of ornamentals too these days. I think my garden has reached a state of balance.


  1. Be careful with the Lysimachia. The foliage has lovely red shade, but spreads like crazy by means of underground stems. The Dogwood is beautiful. I love it too. What is that with green stems?

  2. The thing with green-ish stems in the first picture is also a Dogwood - though it is supposedly yellow. Maybe my photo doesn't do it justice.

  3. It does sound very balanced, hopefully our garden makeover will commence soon.

  4. Hi Mark - looking forward to hearing you impart wisdom about Chillis now, perhaps a slightly more "entertaining" subject than the last thing we spoke about!

    1. Hi Simon; nice to see you visiting here! If you want to find out how I go about growing my chillis, just put the word "chilli" into the Search box in the sidebar and you'll find loads of posts. And Yes, I agree with you that chillis are more fun than ITIL!

  5. Well done - I'm slowly adding to the borders but I really should sit down one day and do a proper plan instead of seeing a plant that I like and simply plopping it into an open spot, although there is something to be said for that type of spontaneity too.

    And you mention a great technique that I often forget about - planting quick growers/temporary plants in spots that will later be filled in by a slow grower. I am planning on planting a few evergreens around our property but they are notoriously slow growers, so I'll have to make sure to keep that in mind.


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