A quick look around this month. Not a lot has changed since last month but there is a definite sense of things revving up.

Rear Garden

View from above – not something I’ve included in a Border Patrol post before, but it occurred to be that it might be interesting to see how this view changes over time too. The lawn is looking a little the worst for wear, although it often does at this time of year. As many feared when I changed the line of the path, there are those that don’t stick to the path and cut a slight corner. Curses.

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In these monthly posts I normally give the borders both a number and a name. For reference, Border 1 is at bottom left, in front of that planter. After that the numbering goes clockwise. Border 2 is along the fenceline on the left, Border 3 is by the left trellis, Border 4 the right trellis, Border 5 along the right fence, Border 6 is to the right of the patio steps.

Let’s take a closer look at all that brown, see if there isn’t something more interesting going on.

Border 1 – the patio border. Nothing much is new above ground, aside from a few daffs showing their faces. Below ground though, there are crocus that weren’t there before. I planted about 50 around the base of the young cercis canadensis. It’s late to plant crocus, they may not flower much this year. Other than that, this border is effectively virgin territory, I plan to remove the existing plants at the back and start again. If the weather allows, I’ll do the removing next month.

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Border 2 – the sunny border. Sunny my foot, there’s precious little of that to go round at the moment. I’ve weeded it, and many bulbs are now poking their heads up, including some new narcissi that I planted before Christmas. I’m looking forward to those. I have planted a honeysuckle along the fenceline in place of a failed clematis. It is lonicera ‘goldflame’, a summer flowering variety. It should put on some decent growth this year, assisting in the great fence covering. Otherwise, much is the same as last month. In February I will cut back all the clematis and tidy up the roses. I see new growth coming through on all of those bar one, I fear that one is a goner. If it doesn’t stage some sort of Lazarus style miraculous recovery, I’ll whip it out and replace with an abutilon ‘suntense’ I have languishing in the greenhouse.

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Border 3 – the wisteria border. I gave the titular wisteria its winter prune at the end of last year, it’s looking a lot neater. More bulbs, I planted about 100 crocus bulbs around the edges of the Eye, I’ll add more in the Autumn at proper crocus planting time. Maybe some will flower this year. Aside from that, much the same as last month. I was struck by how much real estate there is in this border, the second photo more than the first. I will have fun stuffing this with plants in a few months.

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Border 4 – the lilac border. Nothing new here, aside from wrestling the jasmine back under some semblance of control. I have also started my annual battle with the vinca which is a right bugger for spreading itself about the place. It all needs a jolly good tidy up. That rosemary – might have to go…

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Border 5 – the shady border

I finally decapitated the leaning tower of pittosporum! Took all of about 30 seconds to run a saw through it. There is quite a lot of nice vertical growth, so I expect it will push on quite fast now it has the entire root network to itself. Nothing new this month. I need to decide what to do with the abelia, it is a bit of a sprawly mess. Other things need a good trim, that zebra grass for a start. The dwarf hop will soon start shooting upwards. This year I want to try to train it over to the right, so it grows up the fence behind the nandina, rather than obscuring the hydrangea and rose as it usually does.

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Border 6 – the no-longer inadequate border. Nothing new this month, not even any bulbs to speak of. Yet. I have some moving of plants to do, and a lot of planting out to make this a border worthy of a name.

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I’ll leave the back garden with a view back along Border 3 and 2, taken from the path near the trellis. This will be another view that should develop nicely as the year progresses.

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Side alley. My increasing collection of planters will grow again in the next couple of weeks, I think. I reckon I can squeeze in another one or two. Since last time I have planted a couple more roses and a ceanothus in spare places. All of them will get trained along the wires I have attached to the wall. I am hoping that there will be quite a lot of growth this year and also some flowers.

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Front Garden

Borders 7,8 and 9. I still have it in mind to re-think the layout of the front garden, but I may not get around to it. I’ll mainly concentrate on stuffing it full of plants. I still would dearly love to get rid of the forsythia, and even better the laburnum too. Have chickened out so far…

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I see lots of tidying and clearing in my immediate future, along with a bit of planting perhaps.

I’ll be back next month with another Border Patrol.

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