Last year it was the bog garden that had an overhaul and is still in the process of developing. This time it is the border at the side by the field that is in desperate need of a make-over. The tiny bushes we planted about 18 yrs ago are now huge and leaning forward, depriving the plants in front of light and air. I never remember to take photos before we start work, but this is when we have started to cut back the first conifer.
Where I cut some branches back last year, I was so pleased to see some new sproutings. I’m hoping that in a years time there will be new growth where I have cut it back and that maybe in future we can keep it trimmed as a hedge which will let the plants in front grow properly. I have discovered about another 5 ft of border for planting!!
The left hand end of the border is a complete mess with Alchemilla mollis seeding everywhere, evening primrose and foxgloves seeding everywhere and grass has invaded the border, probably from the field next door. Lots more has come from the field, docks, thistles, bindweed, nettles and brambles. We will pick the blackberries before we pull them out! It might be easier to take out the plants I want to keep and pot them up, then clear everything else out.
In the centre of the border are supposed to be 2 lavender hedges leading to one of my carvings, what a sprawling, woody mess! I think I forgot to trim them this spring, but they are getting very old anyway, so out they came, but not before…….
…….lots of cuttings were taken. I will have to see whether I plant them back in the same place or if I decide to plant something new. The cuttings won’t be wasted, if I don’t use them, then they will be for sale at the church plant fair.
This is the carving in the middle of the border where the lavender hedge leads the eye, or its supposed to! I carved this after my mother died, her maiden name was Moon, she had a habit of wagging her finger at me and telling me what to do, even when I was over 60!
At the top right hand end of the border 2 shrubs are getting out of hand. A pink Spirea on the right is smothering the pampas grass, some suckers have even grown up through it! On the left a yellow variegated cornus is swamping an upright berberis and lots of perennials underneath. Note to myself, must cut this cornus back in March when I do all the red stemmed ones!
A Viburnum was doing the same as the conifer, spreading far too far forward and taking light from the plants below. We now have a carpet of ivy to remove as well, but that is easy to take out. I have been ruthless with plants that haven’t behaved, I will now have to decide what is going to replace them all.
There was a time when I had a super plant of a Cardoon in this border…..look what I found when I had finished cutting back the conifer, such a tiny little shoot, but it is still alive, more than I deserve really. I hope it survives the winter and will now grow properly next year. I remember when it is flowering at 6ft tall, the huge thistle like heads are usually covered with bumble bees wallowing in the purple pollen, lovely sight.
Once the clean up is finished, plants will be moved from elsewhere in the garden, some of them split to make more. Cuttings have been taken and seeds will be sown. Already having a garden where different parts take centre stage at various times of the year, it would make sense to have this border for the one season where colour is lacking. The garden starts the year with all the bulbs in the woodland, Jan, Feb, March and April and then hands over to the bog garden which will now be flowering on all cylinders for April, May, June and July. The bee and butterfly border starts in June and continues through July, August and September, so I am thinking that maybe (that means I can change my mind!) this border by the field can be the best border for August, September and October flowers with a bit of a prairie theme, maybe even into November, depending on the weather.
There is a lot of work to be done, removing all the weeds that we can see, especially the bindweed which comes through the fence, tracing their long white roots is quite satisfying in a peculiar way! The soil will need improving as it must be impoverished with the shrubs taking all the nourishment for years. We will add compost and leaf mould and maybe a visit to the livery stables up the road would be a good idea! Already I can see other areas in the garden that are looking tired and uninteresting but they will have to wait another year, one border at a time is enough!