Border Patrol is my monthly tour of the borders in my garden, the idea being to take an overview, see what’s working well, what needs to change, that kind of thing.

Shall we then?
Rear Garden
View from Above – MI6 were kind enough to lend me their best spy satellite for this view. Since last time I have re-shaped the edges of the borders on the left side. Hopefully they are a more organic curve, with the happy upside of a little more planting space. Not my ulterior motive at all, course not! The straight edges of the right hand side now look a bit jarring in comparison, but there’s nothing to be done about that until the climbing frame can be retired, likely a few years off yet. Brown is on the retreat, green is very much in the ascendence.

The Patio Border – I’ve moved some alliums from their previous straight lines into more natural clumps. Some of them are protesting about this by looking a bit stressed. They may not flower brilliantly well this year, perhaps I should have waited until they were done. I’ve added lupins and penstemons this month which should all fill out the area just behind the berberis ‘golden rocket’. I’ve recently got hold of a load of gladioli corms, some of which will have a starring role in this border. There is still a fair bit of bare ground here which can accommodate the seedlings I have growing on. I am much happier with this border than I was just a few months ago.

The Sunny Border – The cotinus is still looking shorn, but fear not, new growth is appearing now. More of the fence is covered by rose and clematis foliage. No flowers yet, but they are coming. I have some annual climbers in the greenhouse which will further adorn the fenceline – some thunbergia alata and mina lobata. I might indulge in a late sowing of sweet peas too since my main batch is looking very ropy. I’ve got a little extra front-row planting space which I need to fill, plus there will be spaces vacated by bulb foliage once it dies down. I have plenty of cosmos and tagetes to go in here, plus more of those gladioli. The dahlias which I left in the ground are poking through now, they will soon grow on to fill out the surrounding area.

The Wisteria Border (incorporating Eye of Sauron). The titular wisteria is not quite at peak fabulous but is certainly getting its glad rags on. It is beginning to feel quite lush now, sitting in the Eye. There is not a lot of spare real estate. Since last time I have moved some poppy seedlings about, they should fill out over the next few weeks. I’m please to see the eleagnus ‘quicksilver’ leafing out and growing upwards too. That will eventually get quite large but can be pruned and shaped to suit. Also doing well is a hydrangea ‘annabel’ which I grew from a cutting a couple of years ago. I have some lupins I’d like to squeeze in here, but they are too small at the moment, they’d get swamped. I might end up keeping them in large pots this year and just place them in the border when flowering, plonking them on top of the tulips, for example. I’d still like to have the wisteria perform lower down (as it were) but I fear the pruning that would be necessary to achieve that. In the mean time I need the roses and clematis to cover her modesty. I can also grow some of those annual climbers up here. Still very pleased with this corner of the garden, I’m impatient to see it develop over the next two or three months.

The Lilac Border – I think there’s room for some annual climbers here too. There looks like a lot of bare ground but that’s mainly young plants not yet filled out. Dormant bulbs will give me the opportunity to park something on top of them, I have plenty of options.

Shady Border – Having removed the abelia (safely relocated to the front garden, for the concerned among you) I have quite a bit of space, I think for foxgloves since they don’t mind a bit of shade. I’ve also crammed in some more geraniums and hosta into this border. Once the shrubs get going again it will feel less roomy, I think. Talking of shrubs, I have half a mind to grow some clematis montana along the 4′ fence at the back of the border. At this time of year the fence is quite visible behind the bare shrubs, I think the flowers would be quite showy there. I have a couple of cuttings taken last year, I may plant those later in the year when they’ve put some decent roots on, and I can always take more cuttings now that the parent plants have established.

The Hibiscus Border – I’ve come off the fence and named it. The hibiscus does have an annoying habit of being a very slow starter but it should be very nice when in its pomp. I’m in wait-and-see mode with this border. I’ll wait until the incumbent plants fill out and flower before deciding what else could be done in here.

For the rear garden finalé here is the view looking up the sunnier side of the garden.

Side Alley – The climbers on the sunnier side are doing very nicely, particularly the montana/honeysuckle combo which is very lush at the moment. Flowers are just in evidence, should be even better in a couple of weeks. I have planted geranium ‘bevan’s variety’ and hostas in the previously empty shady planter, they seem happy enough and the geraniums will soon be flowering.

Front Garden

I mentioned last time that I had plans for this area, about 6mx5m in a slightly squashed rectangle. I have taken the plunge, the lawn has gone. You can read more about that transformation here, but suffice to say that I have more planting space to fill. Here is the view from the air.

I suppose we need new border nomenclature here too.

The Fence Border – well, that is currently the dominant feature! I have planted two scraggy looking roses that I’m not sure I like, and plan to plant a couple more and some clematis too. In the short term some of those annual climbers can go in here. It all looks a bit bare at the moment so I’ll spare its blushes.

The Keyhole Border – the area inside the new path line looks vaguely keyhole shaped. I effectively encircled some plants that were already in this area, plus I’ve added some others. Poppies, geraniums, hypericum and a foxtail lily spring to mind. Most are small at the moment so I’m not expecting too much from them this year. I’ll add a couple of dahlias into the middle of this space, plus I have gladioli and a bunch of other plants in the greenhouse that I can squish in here.

The Window Border – there were three pheasant’s tail grasses here in a big and overbearing clump. I ditched one and moved another to the far corner, leaving one in place. With a bit of support in place for the grass this will provide more planting space.

The Hypericum Border – not a whole lot has changed here, except the abelia grandiflora which I put in. Oh, and a fuchsia, a reject from the back garden, plus some more geranium, penstemon, probably a few more things I’ve forgotten about.

In general the front garden remains a work in progress, but I’m already much happier about it than just a few short months ago.
That’s it for this time!
I’ll be back next month for what I hope will be a more floriferous Border Patrol.