A week or two ago I took pity on my front garden and gave it some love. I widened a rather pathetic border that is immediately in front of the bay window, and dug up nearly all the plants/weeds, leaving just the dwarf magnolia, which I pruned, and a couple of straggly lavender plants that I later moved.

I’ve designated this border as Border 7, Borders 1 to 6 being in the back garden.  There is scope for a Border 8 and 9 in the front, but that’s a job for another time.  Border 8 in particular is a bindweed nightmare, not looking forward to that at all. As it is, the dreaded weed will encroach pretty fast on the newly dug Border 7.  Constant vigilence required.

Anyhow, I widened it to about 5 feet, sacrificing some unlovely, weedy lawn. I dug it all over, removing weeds in the process, then mulched it to a depth of a few inches with spent mushroom compost.  The border is now about 6′ deep by 10′ wide.

I have not made a border plan for this border. I’m essentially winging it, somewhat based on the planting ideas from the back garden, and even more so based on what plants I have left over.

The front of the house gets the sun in the afternoon, from about 2pm on, so partial shade on average, although in the summer it is a sun trap well into the evening.

Leftovers – or some of them.


I had a lot of plants left from my phrenetic propagating earlier in the year, so a few sq metres of new border space is a good opportunity to find a home for them.

Starting from the right hand side as you look at the house, the far end of the photo, I have moved the two stray lavender plants and added 6 or 7 more that I had knocking around. These should form a low lavender hedge, nestling in under the magnolia.

Next are three nicotiana sylvestris at the back, some penstemon husker, 3 potentilla ‘monarchs velvet’.

Moving left, I have planted some geum ‘Mrs J Bradshaw’ at the back, then a group of dahlia ‘bishops children’,  some slightly dog-earred monarda that should bulk up a bit, then some spare antirhinum at the front.

Moving further left I have some pheasants tail grass, three clumps from a division, then a group of crocosmia Lucifer, then a group of berkhaya species at the front.

The final group of plants on the left has honesty at the back, then a good clump of astilbe, some aquilegia ‘greenapples’ then some alchemilla molis.

I used up most of my remaining dianthus ‘brilliancy’ for the front of the border. I’ve found that they fill out the space quite fast.

In total I planted out 108 plants into this border, it was a hot afternoon’s work! Nearly all of these plants were grown from seed, some are divisions and just a couple are plant fair or pity bench purchases.

Potty quantity of pots


I’m hoping to get some colour out of these plants this year but even more so next year. I suspect the overall effect will be colourful, if not exactly colour co-ordinated. Either way it will make a pleasant change from quite a scrappy, unloved, badly conditioned border and should make a slightly more attractive welcome to our front door.

Borders 8 and 9 next! Although, I’m getting low on plants.  I need some cuttings to root!

I’ll be back with an update once these plants have grown on and established, hopefully with some colour.