Border Patrol is my monthly look at the borders as a whole, to see what is working, what isn’t, to take stock. The last one of these was October, I have not found the motivation to write another since then. You are not missing much, the overall theme during the winter in my garden is “brown”.
Overhead shot. The grass needs a good mow (I have since mown and edged the lawn, looks much better for it).
Patio pots – I finally got around to tidying the patio and removing pots of dead annuals, swapping them for tubs of tulips. As usual, I am really looking forward to the tulips this spring.
The Patio Border – things are beginning to come back to life. Over on the right by the small trellis are some tall alliums, I forget the variety, but they should flower at 5 feet or something like that. Otherwise the daffodils were emerging and the crocus around the cercis canadensis are doing very nicely this year. I’m concerned about the cercis, it might have to come out, half of it is dead, I fear. I’ll give it a few weeks to buck up its ideas but I will start tree shopping, just in case.
The Sunny Border – Not a lot going on here at the end of February. Since then I have pruned and cut back anything that needed it, and have trained the climbing roses. I think they are going to be excellent this year. I also have a few clematis on standby that could go in here. Somewhere.
The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. As you can see there is some crocus and even some early daffodil action here. I think the variegated gaura has carked it, seen off by a hard frost with serious windchill a few weeks ago. Shame, as it was a nice plant. In hope more than expectation, I’m leaving it for now in case new growth emerges. I’ve taken against the broom in the corner, it is an untidy scrubby plant. It is nice for a week or two when in flower, but doesn’t earn its keep the rest of the year. I’ll be turfing it out with due ceremony at some point. Having moved this border around in September, I’ve forgotten what I put where, so am looking forward to this border emerging from winter slumber over the next few weeks. All the roses and clematis along the fence and trellis line have had their annual prune. I am itching to prune hydrangea ‘annabel’ but I should wait until next month in case of frost damage to the new growth.
The Lilac Border – Still fairly barren, but since taking this photo things are coming on quickly. I did put some daffodils and alliums in to the sunnier portion of this border, but no real signs yet. I think I will add more bulbs later this year, one can never really have too many. If I remember right I need to move some plants around, there were too many tall plants at the front which did look great but obscured their just-as-nice border mates.
The Shady Border – I’m currently underwhelmed by this border, but that will change as perennials re-emerge. I lavished quite a bit of plant love on this border last year and it was looking pretty good by the end of the season last year. The viburnum tinus in the first picture has established well, although it hasn’t really flowered yet. The camellia on the right in the second picture has not put on much growth that I can detect, although it is covered in flower buds. I’m intrigued by the weigela which has always been a poor shape. It seems to have decided to become a proper shrub, and with no intervention from me. I wonder if it is just responding well to being watered regularly! Or perhaps it overheard me muttering about its days being numbered.
The Hibiscus Border – Meh. There could be more bulbs in here I think. I am pleased with how the moss rose ‘William Lobb’ is coming on, I expect it to put on a load more growth this year. There is no sign of the fuchsia planted in the Planting Place of Doom, perhaps continuing the long trend of plants which have failed to thrive. It could just be it has died back to the ground over the winter, let’s give it a chance.
The Front Garden – more underwhelming brownness. I have begun the process of removing the large clumps of helenium autumnale, of which I have had enough, with it’s stubbornly yellow flowers. I dug up and divided one big clump into a dozen smaller clumps, bagging them up and leaving them on the end of the drive for passersby to grab. They all went. I have another two clumps in the front garden and one enormous clump in the Sunny Border to remove and offload and then we’re done. Since taking this photo I have pruned back the clematis tangutica on the left. I am hopeful that the abutilon suntense will flower this year, but who knows. They do take a few years to get going, I gather.
That’s your lot for this month. At the rate I’m going it will be well into May before I publish the March #BorderPatrol…
Is brown all that bad? I know people dislike it here because so much stays green through winter. People expect landscapes to be composed exclusively of evergreen species, with something blooming in every season. I think that is silly. I grew up with the orchards, which were bare through winter. If I were in a climate such as yours, I would expect brown for part of the year.
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Looking good to me. I note the nonchalance when you talk about about removing a tree or shrub. Easy come, easy go! 😂 Shame about the Helenium, I happen to love those flowers, but they don’t seem to like my garden soil. Annuals for me. And you do know that the point of the border patrol is so you can see what you planted where in case you can’t remember!
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I will mainly swapping my helenium for more helenium, different varieties with more interesting colouration. They seem to do very well here.
As for the shrub, no room in my life/garden for plants I don’t love.
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