The garden continues its winter slumber, with honestly not a fat lot going on. Still, it’s an opportunity to see the bones of the garden. In this monthly series I am attempting to view the borders as a whole, see what I like, what must come out, what works well together, that kind of stuff. Let’s take a spin.

Rear Garden

Border 1, the patio border. Recently enlarged, and living on borrow time. In early spring I will be ripping out everything in the original part of the border. I’ve already removed the scrappy fuchsia plants and a couple of the potentillas. I have recently added a few hellebores, putting them under the cercis canadensis. As the cercis grows it should provide the dappled shade that the hellebores prefer. No sign yet of any of the recently planted bulbs, positions marked by the black labels.


Border 2 – the sunny border. I am impatient for the roses and clematis to mature and do a better job of covering this fence. I have some other annual climbers in mind to plug the gaps this coming summer. More on this soon. I haven’t changed much here other than moving a couple of crowded plants around. The existing bulbs are coming through, no sign yet of those newly planted.




Border 3 – the wisteria border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. I’ve moved a couple of young shrubs around, they were right on top of eachother. Perovskia, hydrangea ‘annabel’ and an eleagnus have all been spaced out a little better. I always underestimate how much space will be needed, it wouldn’t massively surprise me if I need to move them again in a couple of years. In general I see opportunities to improve this area, I’d like it be stuffed to bursting so that sitting in the Eye is like sitting in the border.




Border 4 – the Lilac border. Meh. Aside from the fatsia japonica, not much to commend this border at the moment. I cut away lower branches and assorted chaff from the lilac, raising the canopy, so I should have space to plant underneath. I will have no shortage of plants come the late spring, many of which need the partial shade that this border provides.



Border 5 – the Shady border. I’m still looking at the abelia and wondering if it is worthy of its place, obscuring as it does quite a bit of space that might be better used for other more shade tolerant plants. Perhaps I should cut it back and move it to a sunnier spot. The euphorbia in the second photo is looking bedraggled. I wonder if I should cut it back, or perhaps just give it a tidy up. I still have not decapitated the pittosporum, but it is living on borrowed time, at least in its current form. I’ll wait till late winter I think. I seem to have missed it from all of the photos, but trust me, there is now a bamboo in the space where something tall was required. It’s a small division, hopefully it will bulk up over the next couple of years.






Border 6, the border formerly known as inadequate. I need to think of a better name now that I have finally got around to enlarging it. I put in a hibiscus which I moved from Border 1 where it was cramped by helenium. Ironically, the space I had in mind was occupied by…helenium. I’ve moved those a couple of feet away, hopefully that will be enough space. Apart from that, and a few bulbs, this is still virgin territory.


Front Garden

Border 7, 8 and 9. I have the beginnings of a revised plan for the front garden. It will involve removing the pathetic lawn, planting a small tree (a cornus kousa, probably) and some brick edging. The rest of the planting will be adjusted to suit, and I’ll need to provide some stepping stones to allow me to get in to the borders to maintain. Further rumination required. I would still dearly love to be rid of the hated forsythia thicket on the boundary line. I think the house next door is between owners at the moment, perhaps an opportunity to act now and seek forgiveness later?




That’s the lot for this month. Another month or two of drabness still before the bulbs begin to do their thing.

I’ll be back in a month for another border patrol.