Each month I take a look at the borders as a whole, trying to decide what I like, what works, what doesn’t, what might need doing. It is April now, of course, but these photos were (mostly) taken at the end of March. Let’s take a spin.

Rear Garden

View from above. Since taking this photo, I have removed the slide, it was past it and too small for child the youngest. The climbing frame and swing remain, for now. The ratio of green to brown is improving with each passing week.

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Border 1, the patio border. Best described as a work in progress. Last month I had started to plant and I’ve done some more this month. I acquired quite a number of geraniums last autumn so those have gone in around the edges at various places. The tall asters have gone in the back along the wall, I still have more of those to plant. There is a long line of alliums pretty much following the line of the old border. I think I will move those, spreading them about a bit. I had better get on with that or I’ll have to wait until they have flowered and gone over. There looks to be plenty of room in here, a good thing as I have lots of young plants coming through in the greenhouse and cold frames. Mind you, I often make the mistake of thinking “there’s plenty of room” at this time of year, forgetting that plants have an annoying yet welcome tendency to fill out.

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Border 2, the sunny border. The climbers are all taking off. The clematis all seem to be growing away vigorously. Leading the charge is Mme Julia Correvon in the first photo, behind the cotinus. She was the star last year, the only one to top out the fence and flower profusely. The others are not far behind and I will be spending quite a lot of my weekends tying in for the next month or two. Also doing quite well are the roses. Most of them, at any rate. I seem to have lost one of them, not sure why. Never mind, I will plant something else there, I have choices. I have an abutilon suntense and some annual climbers vying for a spot. I think there are other opportunities for some height in this border. I’m growing tithonia again (although they haven’t germinated yet…) and also ricinus, both of which get quite tall.

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Border 3, the wisteria border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. I’m pleased with this corner. I think it will look great in two or three months. The crocus are done, but some daffs and all the tulips are still to come, then there is the perennial planting which is burgeoning. I have planted several verbena hastata for some height, plus of course there is the wisteria itself, climbing roses and clematis which should all provide a nice backdrop. Some more geraniums have gone in here too, I see poppy seedlings, and the salvia are bulking up nicely. I’ve also planted some campanula persicifolia, not something I’ve grown before. I’m hoping they will tone in well with the alliums, perovskia and salvia.

I’m looking forward to sitting in here of an evening, surrounded by plants and bees, gin and tonic in hand.

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Border 4, the lilac border. I still haven’t planted the ligularia, must get around to that. I am finding them to be very attractive slug-fodder, so I hope I can prevent death by munching. There is a bit of spare room in here after the rosemary went, I need to take advantage of that. Plenty of plants in waiting. The lilac will be out soon, I think, and the fatsia is still growing away happily in the corner. The vinca which inhabits the further reaches of this border is going bananas. I rip it up but it keeps coming. Looking at this photo I am reminded that the last fence post is rotted at the base, causing the trellis to lean a little. The trunk of the long-dead ceanothus is holding it up! I need to sort that out as well.

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Border 5, the shady border. The photos are a little over exposed, the sun was in the wrong place when I took these. The main news is the abelia grandiflora has gone. I’ve been unhappy with it for a while, it wasn’t earning its keep. I’ve stashed it in a pot for now, I may be able to use it in the front garden. It leaves a fair bit of empty border behind it. I think I will have lots of foxgloves this year, so perhaps I can get a decent clump of those going. You’ll note the artwork in the border, an installation even, “two old balls”. It really evokes the timeless emotion of, well, indifference mainly. I should bin them, they have clearly been discarded. The shrubs lull me into a false sense of space and light at this time of year, but I think I can stuff in some more under-planting.

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Border 6, the xxx border. I still haven’t named it. I am waiting to see what is the dominant feature, or possibly just the one I like the best. I am leaning hibiscus. As I was writing this I noticed that I had forgotten to take a picture of this border, so it is dull and rainy in comparison to the others. Still plenty of empty real estate in the border, I had better get planting.

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Finally, bringing up the rear for the rear, the view up the garden, taking in Border 3, 2 and a bit of 1.

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Side alley

The clematis and roses on the sunny side are coming on in leaps and bounds, I think I saw my first rose bud of the year at the weekend. The shady side is looking more sparse, but the hosta are poking through, the ferns are looking perkier and the climbing hydrangea is greening up nicely. There is quite a lot of space in the planters, I have other hosta which could go in there plus some shade tolerant geraniums. I should plant them out. A job for the weekend perhaps. In general I’m pretty happy with the alley, what was a drab, functional access path has become part of the garden.

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Front garden

Well! I have been busy in here. The much and justly maligned forsythia thicket has been removed. The laburnum tree in the corner has also gone, albeit since these photos were taken. The way is now clear for me to put in a fence, up which I will grow more roses and clematis. The tree surgeon did squash a few things in the process of removing the tree, but nothing permanently, I hope. The more I think about it, the more I want to revamp the front garden. The little bit of lawn is fairly useless and is occupying space that would be better served by more attractive planting. I have sketch of how I think it will all look. A design is too strong a word, but something to follow as I dig stuff up.

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That’s it for this time.

I’ll be back in a month for another Border Patrol.