Help with troublesome border


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Hi Folks,

Just joined up today :). I live in Scotland, just outside Edinburgh in a new build house. I have been in the house about 4 years and for a new build it has a decent size garden. The garden itself faces South West(ish) and I have dug a big border at the side of the garden facing south East(ish). I always wanted a nice big, deep border but now I have it, I feel its just a mess! The biggest problem is that the garden is on a slope and gets pretty wet, when I got some paving done for my observatory (my other passion) and the greenhouse the guys pout in a drain to take water away from this side and down into that lovely new border! So, it can get quite damp in winter but I suppose the flip side is that in summer its still quite moist?
Anyway, Initially I wanted a kind of cottage garden look - you know the border filled from front to back with seemingly random plants that all flower all summer long... Wishful thinking yeah? At the moment I have a Magnolia which seems to be doing well, a camellia also doing not too bad. Smaller plants wise I have a hydrangea and a few perennials such as lupine and a few crocosmia and a few others seen int he photos below. I’m looking for ideas on neatening this up, as cheaply as possible, but also dont mind investing a little money! So, what should I do? I’m wondering about more big shrub/trees like the magnolia and camellia but then what would I underplant with? This bit of the garden I really want to stay random like, not a formal area like the bedding at the back (which was looking lovely till the rain the other day!). I should also add that the bit at the back door of the house, at the right hand side of the bed is also very dry for some reason, I think because this bit is somehow raised a little, dunno, but it seems dry compared to the rest, I have some mallow plants in there that are refusing to grow, I assume because of lack of sun and the dry conditions.
 
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Welcome to the forum! :)

You've done a lovely job with your garden, it looks surprisingly mature for a new build. I quite like the border as it is to be honest! We've got some tiarella in a partially shaded border that does very well. If you're looking for ground cover then how about vinca major/minor or ivy? Ferns would fit in well with the native plants too.
 
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alp

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Magnolia will become very big. Best is to discuss with gc owner before taking the plunge. You can always underplant with hellebores, erythroniums, triliums. You could add some topiary or some evergreen shrub or variegated evergreen to jazz up the border. For cottagy feel, you can't go wrong with Stipa Gigantea, Salvia amistad, delphiniums, alliums purple sensation, Ambassador, Gigantium, Echinaceas and heleniums. For ground hugging, you can have some alpine.

if your garden is damp, Astilbes are your friend and so are Trollius Chinensis and hydrangea. Or make a small dipping pond.

For dry areas, you could try candytuft the perennial version,irises and peonies. But I don't know how hardy these are. Might be a good idea planting them in pots and make them portable.

You've done very well for 4 years. Please don't sound deflated. You should congratulate yourself for having all these in just 4 years.
 

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