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The Story of a New Border


When we moved here nearly three years ago, there was an Escallonia hedge between the back garden and the farm field. Unfortunately, it had not been pruned for years and worse still, it was riddled with brambles!

So we decided that it would have to go! The first task was to cut the whole thing down to root level.

Then we burned the brambles bit by bit ( a safe distance from the remaining green mesh windbreak)! This left 15 Escallonia roots exposed.

I had the backbreaking job of barrowing the remains of the hedge to our useful work area, ready for the incinerator.

Then my husband got on with removing the roots. He used a pickaxe, spade and an iron bar – but this biggest root was a match even for the bar!

While he got on with building a new fence, we marked out a curve to match the existing stone circle. I dug out the remaining small roots and several barrowloads of stones and lumps of blue lias stone (probably part of an outbuilding).

We had decided to place a narrow path along the new fence to enable us to lean over and chop off the encroaching brambles from the field. Then the new trellis was fixed in place, and turf laid where the old hedge had been.

So that’s where we are up to – the bed is ready for planting up in my chosen colour scheme of purple, white and gold. I’ve started buying and placing plants, notably a Solanum laxus ‘Alba’ for the centre.

And I have a list of possibilities for the rest of the bed; climbers, tall, medium and small plants. There are still jobs to be completed, such as a brick edge round the whole bed, but I am really looking forward to enjoying my new flowerbed next year! It’s been hard work, but satisfying at the same time. It has given us more light and space in the back garden, too.

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It's a very satisfying feeling when you achieve something like that, it's looking really good, what other plants are you putting in

1 Oct, 2007


Hi Grindle - I've got a long list of possibles, some of which I've already bought from recent Garden visits. I have 2 x Heuchera 'Licorice', 2 x Rudbeckia triloba and one deanii as well as an Agapanthus 'Navy Blue'. I am hoping to plant a Purple Clematis alpina, a purple viticella and a white large flowering one as well as the Solanum. Small plant ideas are white Helianthemum and hardy Geraniums - as well as trying the Anemone blanda corms! I shall definitely plant my favourite Salvias, 'Purple Rain' and 'Mainacht' or 'Ostfriesland', and Verbena
bonariensis and rigida. i like Lavandula stoechas, so that's on the list with white Penstemons and dark Delphiniums. Maybe a white Thalictrum and Lysimachia clethroides. I think I may transplant a Convulvulus Cneorum which is not happy in its present position. If there's any more space, I'll plant Calendula and Escholzia. If you (or anybody else) have any thoughts or ideas, I'd love to hear them! The border gets sun most of the day. All suggestions considered!

1 Oct, 2007


Any new border is exciting and the list of things you want to plant in it usually exceeds the space availabe (well, it does for me anyway). Have you thought of planting any evergreens so there is something to look at in the winter? Some ideas - phlomis fruticosa, a small purple phormium and variegated euonymus. Maybe a winter jasmine for winter flowers and then crocus for early colour. Don't get me started, I'll never stop!

1 Oct, 2007


Thanks Andrew - please don't stop! That's why I added the question... had started to think about evergreen structure and 'architectural' plants, one idea was evergreen late flowering mini-Hebes. Phormium sounds good! I've got one in a pot I had last winter in the porch. I'll place it and see what it looks like.

1 Oct, 2007


Some more ideas to extend the season - erica carnea 'Springwood White' flowers in late winter/early spring and is lime tolerant, winter aconites, potentilla alba (herbaceous and flowers two or three times a year for me), fuchsia 'Hawkshead' (pure white flowers and still going strong). Grasses - stipa tenuissima is probably nearest to white, or how about imperata cylindrica which goes bright red in full sun and a moist soil?
Foliage lasts longer than flowers. Clematis recta 'Purpurea' is herbaceous and upright to six feet with white flowers. Sedum 'Purple Emperor' has the darkest leaves I've seen in a sedum. And cotinus can be grown as a small shrub, stooling it back each spring to grow it just for its foliage. There are purple leaved forms and 'Golden Spirit' is a bright yellow-green

3 Oct, 2007


Thanks Andrew - I knew you'd come up with more ideas! I've ruled out a Cotinus as I have 2 elsewhere already. I looked at Phormiums today, not sure about them due to potential size. I have bought some purple crocus and pack of yellow as well. I also planted Iris reticulata today - and marked where I'd put them! I've planted the Solanum and a beautiful purple Aster plus a Lavandula stoechas. My friend gave me some purple Iris to put in. You are absolutely right about the list of wants overtaking the available space! GOT to leave space for delphiniums!

3 Oct, 2007

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