Border Patrol is my monthly look at the borders as a whole. What works, what doesn’t, opportunities, gaps, unloved plants, that type of thing.

Rear Garden

The overhead view first, including laundry and a partial hammock for your delight and delectation. Where previously there were spaces there are now just dark corners where nothing new will grow well, the jostling for position and daylight already too far advanced. We have had a lot of rain and some sunshine this month and the garden (and the weeds) have responded with lush growth. My prediction last month of significant floppage has come to pass in some cases, I haven’t been sufficiently proactive with my staking and supporting. Generally though, the sense is one of abundance. One might even say overabundance! The established climbing roses are fabulous, with some already well through their first flush. I tend only to buy repeat flowerers so there should be something in it later in the summer and through into the autumn.

The Patio Border – It continues to be the case that the left side of this border is more stuffed full than the right, although the right is fast catching up. My annual game is poor this year, with very few useful plants to show for a lot of sowing, and most of those that I have planted in here have been mown down my our slimy friends, despite my frequent culls. Oh well, it’s not like there is a lot of room in here anyway. I still have the problem of obscured rose plants which are trying their best to grow up the two trellis sections. As I mentioned last time, I think I will have to remove them to let them grow on before putting them back.

The Sunny Border – I remain unsatisfied by the gap to the right of the lobelia tupa. The foxgloves have been a temporary respite but they are almost done now. I have planted some telekia in here, which should get quite tall, but they have not yet put on much growth. I do have some more cosmos, and some dahlias and tithonia, not to mention some ricinus that can go in here. No excuse for bare soil!

The Wisteria Border, incorporating the Eye of Sauron. I never got around to replacing the big clump of basic helenium that was behind the big clump of aster ‘little carlow’, just behind the little table. It’s not too obvious a gap as the aster is hiding the gap but it is a gap nonetheless. An opportunity! If I can keep them alive over the winter I plan to plant a melianthus major in there. Grown from seed this year, it has great foliage with good structure and should be a good addition to the border. Hopeful it won’t obscure too much the rose behind it (‘ali baba’) which is absolutely fabulous this year, vying for the top rose spot in my garden. Definitely a podium finish. As you can see this area is pretty well stuffed. Of the clematis I planted last month there is no sign. It is probably a bit starved of light, it might have to bide its time until next spring when it should be able to get going before everything else gets in the way. Or it might die. Tough beat in my borders, survival of the fittest…

The Lilac Border – still a mixed bag, this bit of border. Plants are in the wrong place, tall at the front, short ones behind them. The prime offenders are the linaria and the helenium. Whilst that does provide a sense of mystery, what’s behind them, I am now irritated by it. I will juggle some plants in the autumn. I have finally decided on what to put in the gap between the fatsia japonica in the corner and the viburnum tinus on the right of the photo. I await delivery of a mahonia ‘Winter Sun’. It’ll come in a 15L pot but will probably take a year or two to grow into that space. I might put in a big pot for now and plonk it in the border, maybe even on some bricks, to artificially raise its profile.

The Shady Border – after a few months of being fairly bare and then starting to fill out, it is now looking pretty good. The camellia could grow a bit faster, as could the ivy I planted behind it, I can still see a lot of fence. There are some bare spaces at the front, if I have spare bedding plants I might stuff some in there, but to be honest the existing plants will probably fill out some more. The chinese rhubarb is now putting out mostly slug-proof growth, but is not as big as I’d hoped it would be. Yet…

The Hibiscus Border – There is still a bit of gap where the helenium were. The replacement, er, helenium have not grown into the gap yet, but they will. Otherwise, there’s a pretty good mix of foliage and floral interest in here. The fuchsia at the base of the left most trellis is still there, although not growing terribly quickly. Come on, hurry up!

The Side Passage – the rose front left is a resurrection. It wasn’t happy in there and appeared to die back almost entirely. I cut it right back to the stump earlier this year and it has responded with gusto, putting out lots of new stems and now flowers too. Frequent watering seems to be the difference. Who knew? The roses further down on the left have also been fabulous, with ‘The Pilgrim’ and ‘Claire Austin’ doing most of the work.

The Front Garden

Full to bursting, but still plenty of fence on display. I have planted a clematis, two climbing roses (‘A Shropshire Lad’ and ‘Ali Baba’, a cutting from its successful parent in the rear garden) and a cobea scandens in here, so that should help. There are also a couple of tall fuchsias in there which, if they grow as expected, will also hide some fence. There is also a new rambler ‘Paul Noble’, but his job is to grow up the left side of the house as you look at it. Believe it or not, there are some gaps in the window area, into which I will stuff yet more plants. I planted a couple of canna in the middle section, so far no sign of them, but they should burst through the canopy soon!

The front verge is also looking fuller now, although the tall linaria are rather obscuring things, I’ll either take them out or move them to the back, we’ll see.

That’s it, with a bit of sunshine in July, it’ll all go truly bonkers and run away from me entirely until November when I can take back control! I’ll be back in a month for another Border Patrol.