In this monthly series I try to assess the borders as a whole. What’s working, what’s not, what needs to come out, where are the opportunities to improve. Come and have a nose.
Rear Garden

First let’s take a look from above, this photo was taken by Sputnik and personally sent to me by Vladimir Putin. The borders are all looking pretty full. But are they full of things I like?

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The Patio Border – This border makes me very happy. It was empty just a few months ago, now it is stuffed. I couldn’t jam another plant in. Well, apart from the ricinus I planted at the weekend. I’ve put it just in front of the wooden planter in the 3rd photo below. It should get to five feet or so, giving bit more height in that area, along with the asters which are getting taller each week. I think I will plant a couple of tithonia in the gaps left by fading tulips. Who said there was no room for more plants? Idiot.

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The Sunny Border – The clematis have been better this year, some doing a pretty good job of covering the fence. Same for the roses. When I get the chance later in the year I’ll need to tweak the training of the roses to get the best coverage. I would like to have some more colour in this border, but I’m not sure what I would remove. The lobelia tupa, to the right of the first picture, is a large plant which makes its presence felt – plantspreading, let’s call it. It’s a structural plant but the flowers are not that inspiring. I might tuck in some ricinus and a couple of tithonia for height, I have some spare.

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The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. Has anyone seen my seating area? When I built this I imagined more or less sitting in the border, surrounded by plants. The poppies and the thalictrum certainly go a long way to achieving this. It is rather nice to sit here with a cuppa. I sometimes manage as much as two minutes before noticing something that needs doing. I took these photos on Saturday when the poppies were still changing the guard. By Sunday morning there was a fresh rank of purple poppies. They really have been fabulous, all from the sprinkling of one seed head through the border. I shall be doing the same again. I have a couple of dahlia and tithonia earmarked for in here when the poppies are done. The persicaria are a little more thuggish this year than last, I’m fairly sure they have engulfed a dahlia. They are just starting to flower, so I shan’t mind so much. The final photo presents an opportunity, I think. The poppies have got very tall, obscuring from certain angles the planting behind. I should sprinkle further back next time.

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The Lilac Border – at this time of year, when there is no longer the promise of lilac flowers and their heady fragrance, I get annoyed by the lilac. It is in the way. There is real estate in this border going begging. I planted an actea, no sign of it, and the ligularia have just been shredded by slugs or snails. I should concede defeat and plant something that doesn’t attract so much attention. A hosta or something!

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The Shady Border – The white foxgloves are not quite spent, but they are living on borrowed time. I have replacements waiting in the wings from seed sown this year. I’ll plant them in the same spot once this year’s plants are shredded and on the compost heap. I’ll lose the height till next year, but so be it. I am worried about the dogwood. It has normally recovered from the hard prune by now, putting on a few feet of growth. This year there are just a few inches, if that. I wonder if it is giving up the ghost. I get a bit of borrowed height above the lower part of the fence from next door’s shrubs. I would still like to cover the fence, I still have clematis montanas to plant in here but haven’t quite got around to it.

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The Hibiscus Border. Whilst this border is much much better than it was, I would still like to stuff more plants in here. I could definitely put more alliums in. The helenium ‘short and sassy’, despite their silly name, are doing very well in the Patio Border, I could move a few of those in here. I also have some baby cosmos which would do well in here once they’ve grown on a bit. I’ll think of something.

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I’ll finish the Rear Garden with the view up the slope from the Wisteria border, up the Sunny Border to the Patio Border.

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The Side Passage – the planters go from strength to strength, filling out nicely. Well, most of them do. I will definitely replace one of them

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Front Garden

Overhead Shot

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The Fence Border – I have taken steps to make this less dull. Three clematis have gone in here to join the two roses, and I have also recentlyplanted several annual climbers. Thunbergia alata, mina lobata and a few eccremocarpus scaber. The latter is not a plant with which I am familiar, they are a recently identified result of this year’s HPS lucky dip seed packet. Supposedly they are fairly rampant, forming tubers that may or may not survive the winter in these climes. Hopefully they will quickly scamper up the netting and save this new border’s blushes.

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The Wall Border – I’ve removed the spent foxgloves which has left things a little uneven. I have more to plant around the base of the ricinus I planted at the weekend to the left of the helenium. I can still fit a few more things in here I think. I’m pleased with the penstemon, a cutting of ‘patio wine’ which is doing very well.

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The Window Border. This looks a bit lopsided to me. I have planted a few things to the left. Some delphiniums (I think), some eupatorium and some angelica, all of which should get quite tall, although perhaps not until next year. The corner with the drainpipe offers an opportunity I think. With the right combination of shrub, climber and rambler, I could fill it with roses up to the guttering. Maybe a clematis or two as well, why not?

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The Keyhole Border – This is beginning to look quite nice, I think. There is still some planting to do. But then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

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I’ll finish with a side-on shot of the front garden. It has become somewhere I actively want to spend time, rather than somewhere I hurry past to get to the house. Hopefully it has added something to the street scene too.

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I’ll be back next month with the July Border Patrol.

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