This is the third in a monthly series in which I consider the borders as a whole, rather than individual plants. I hope  this will be useful as the seasons progress, I’ll be able to see where the borders look messy, patchy, uninteresting, flower-free, or indeed fabulous.

Rear Garden

Border 1.  The loosestrife is long gone, flower-wise, although I haven’t cut it back yet. I have removed the mallow and the sunflowers, invaders both.  The overall effect on this border right now is a bit, well, meh. I need to have a think about adding some colour. The cotinus is looking even more leggy and drunken than it did last month.  I’m not sure what to do about it. I pruned it hard to the framework in early spring and it has responded with lots of very leggy growth.  Should I have trimmed it again?  Dunno.

Border 2. The long sunny border, mostly replanted this year.  It’s all a bit floppy and becoming untidy.  I need to do a better job of supporting the plants. I’m going to have a go at making some supports with prunings from the dogwood, which I intend to pollard again in the spring. The dahlias have been great value this year, although they have crowded out other plants a bit. The witchhazel is looking a little worse for wear, I think it should come out. Overall this border is still looking OK, although I’m itching to get to the climbers at the back to tie them in properly, they are currently obscured. I didn’t really think about that when I planted up the rest.  I noticed last weekend that the ground is very dry, I must admit I haven’t watered this border for a month or two, relying on the bit of rain we’ve had.

Border 3. This is still a mess, a project for next year. It has few redeeming features, an exception being the little patio rose which has been flowering on and off all summer, and is having a last hurrah now. I’ll clear this border out over the winter, start afresh next year.  I never have a shortage of plants waiting for homes, so some clear space will be most welcome.

Border 4. The nasturtiums are taking over! My fault for not training them up the trellis, which is where they should be as a climbing variety. The (renamed-but-to-me-will-always-be) aster ‘little carlow’ are in full flower, adding a bright spot, but in general things are looking a bit scrappy. I can’t identify the flopped-over plant on the right, silvery green foliage. Not convinced I planted it…


Border 5. The long shady border, I quite like this border at the moment.  The big shrubs are a little overpowering, I’ll prune them hard over the winter, this should renew the shrubs but also give the underplanting a bit of a chance to do their thing.  I need to replace the pheasant’s tail grass as it’s past its best. There is no shortage of re-inforcements as it has been self-seeding liberally about the place.  There is not a lot of floriferous colour in the border, even the aster I have is a bit overwhelmed by the dwarf hop.  The climbing rose, ‘danse de feu’ has been fabulous this year, it is stil flowering away at the upper stories, about 8 feet in the air. I need to prune and train that better. There’s lots to do in this border!

Border 6. The rather ugly solidago has gone, I dug it up, hopefully before it set seed. In fact I dug the rest up too, and replanted it entirely. It was a rush job, so may not stay in this configuration.  I still want to enlarge this border, but for now the gaura is the main interest, still flowering intermittently. The helenium have not yet recovered from being crowded out by the thuggish goldenrod, but hopefully they’ll put on a show in the next few weeks.  A work in progress, very much so.


Front garden

Border 7.  In general the front garden is still giving me a disporportionate amount of joy, mainly due to the contrast to its prior, awful state.  There is still a lot of colour in this border, mainly provided by the dahlias and the dregs of the potentilla.  The dianthus, of which there are many, have just lurked in the front row, throwing up a few flowers, but not the sea of pink I was expecting. I still don’t like the nicotiana, but still haven’t dug them up. I guess I’ll wait until the flowers have gone over.


Border 8. Pow! still lots going on. The dahlias again, the osteospermum, cosmos and the helenium providing the pzazz. There is more to do here, and a number of plants which are not yet established and thus from which I can expect more next year. I’m happy with it.

Border 9. Things are growing away nicely, although the established shrubs are rather dominant at the moment. I am half tempted to remove the weigela and the sprirea to allow more light in. That would be fairly radical surgery, not sure I want to go that far. Yet.  Maybe I’ll see how this border does through next year and then decide.


That’s the round-up for this month.  By the time October’s Patrol comes around we will be well into tidy-up before the winter. Less flowers and perhaps foliage will be in evidence and we’ll begin to see the bones of the borders. Or lack thereof, potentially.

I’ll be back in a month with the October Border Patrol.