If there is one thing I would love gardeners to consider more often, it’s the need to be generous with your borders.
Clients are sometimes taken aback by the width of the borders I’ve specified in their garden plans, fearing they’ll be too wide and need too much maintenance, but once the plants are chosen well, the reverse should actually be the case. Most people would like colour and interest in the garden to extend for as much of the year as possible. This means having a carefully chosen cast of plants, each of whom has a job to do at a different time of year, from late winter / early spring right up until the very end of autumn, and winter again. And the cast needs somewhere to live so that they can do their job when the time is right – from Sarcococca sending out sweet winter fragrance around Christmas, to peonies ushering in early summer, to Michaelmas daisies marking the start of the mellow autumn season.
So just as you need closet space for all of your clothes, the seasonal players in the garden need adequate room to live, grow and perform when it’s their time. The tiers of colour in the border pictured are possible because of its width - narrow little strips around the edge, so often seen in town gardens, just won’t allow you the space to layer plants and achieve this effect.
Shrubs and larger perennials will form the backbone of your border, with perennials and grasses of differing sizes and shapes taking up the middle, and lower-growing, spreading plants filling in at the front. So think big and think wide – you’ll have lots more colour and shape to keep things interesting – as well as less lawn mowing to do!
Anne’s Tip of the Week:
Borders with lawn on one side don’t need any special edging as long as the edge of the lawn is kept crisp and neat – go over the edges once a year with the special half moon shaped tool (or a spade edge ) to keep them in good condition.
Anne Byrne Garden Design provides easy to follow Garden Plans that you can implement right away or in stages. Anne’s design flair and passion for plants brings a touch of magic to gardens of all sizes.
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