End of Year View: the Main Borders

For most of the years I have been blogging, when December 31st comes along I have posted a month-by-month view of one part of the garden instead of an EOMV of the whole garden, although I have still taken my usual photographs of the whole garden for my own records. Having looked at the shrub border, the woodland edge border, bold borders and the paved area in previous years, this year I shall look at what I call the ‘main herbaceous borders’; these are a group of four beds with a pastel feel to them, with anything brighter than pinks, purples and whited not allowed. You can see where they are located within the garden if you click on the Map of the Garden (2) under The Garden tab above.

The beds had something of an overhaul in autumn of last year, with everything dug out, organic matter added, a selected number of plants replaced and new plants added in the spring, but there is still some way to go before I feel satisfied with them. A degree of maturity will help but there is a still the lack of cohesion which almost inevitably follows shoving in plants that I like without any real overall scheme. My lack of success with supposedly reliable bloomers like penstemon does not help either; nor does the poorer soil and shadier position of the bed in the foreground on the left. Nevertheless, monitoring the progress of the borders on a monthly basis like this is helpful in identifying when and where the gaps and poor performers are.

Last January the herbaceous borders were, not surprisingly, pretty bare and scruffy:

At the end of February, they were somehow looking a bit less scruffy – perhaps the wind had blown the last of the leaves away…

By the end of March things are greening up with alliums, tulips and aquilegia – but I am not sure what the splash of pink on the left hand side is, possibly a tulip? The additional pots are in preparation for more hostas to join the other hibernating ones.

By the end of April, blooms are appearing thick and fast, starting with dicentra/lamprocapnos and aquilegia. Hostas are pushing their way through now too:

Blooms are more apparent at the end of May, mainly alliums and aquilegia but with rose Gertude Jekyll and a clematis against the fence on the left; hostas are in full leaf and slug free, as they remained for most of the year. Only a few weeks before our first NGS opening, ongoing maintenance had been a feature throughout the early part of the year, and this month it was the turn of the benches, which needed repainting and/or their slats replaced.

Our two openings had been and gone by the end of June but we had two group visits to go and ensuring the garden maintained its tidiness was always on our minds: thanks to the Golfer, the paths were absolutely pristine which is clearly shown in this picture. The borders are now full and blowsy but, to my mind, not especially exciting.

There was a greater variation in colour the next month (July), with phlox, cosmos and long-flowering lychnis:

Things were not very different at the end of August:

Autumn was settling in by the end of September – hostas were on the wane, the frist leaves were off the trees, and although foliage in the borders was still lush, blooms were less obvious but sedums were at their best:

The borders continued to decline through October, November and December but at least during this last week I have got them tidied and mulched with homemade compost, the first of the borders to get this treatment. Perhaps 2018 will bring an improvement as the borders continue to mature…

Steve of Glebe House Garden hosts the End of Month meme which bloggers will use in various ways to feature their garden or parts of it, so do pop over and follow the links – thanks Steve for facilitating.


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20 Responses to End of Year View: the Main Borders

  1. tonytomeo says:

    I actually remember the last few of these. I have only been here since September.

  2. johnvic8 says:

    Thank you, Cathy, for sharing your year in review. Your blog and IAVOM have been an important part of the year. Have a wonderful 2018.

  3. Steve says:

    Happy New Year Cathy. Interesting that we have done similar blogs for December. As I have been away I needed a quick blog which I di before the snow! I guess I would do it differently now.

    • Cathy says:

      I shall probably do a general review of the whole year and its relative successes and ‘failures as well, if I have time, a reflection of the year as a whole in the garden. But if the weather is mild I shall be out there instead!

  4. Fascinating month by month view of the same plot. It has inspired me to try the same thing. Happy inspired New Year.!

    • Cathy says:

      It’s an interesting exercise to do, Cathy – one year, I collated all twelve monthly pictures of ach part of the garden and printed them off but it was a lot of faff and it is easier just to look at them on the computer

  5. Lovely post! Happy new year.

    • Cathy says:

      Thank you – being able to look back on my blog at old posts is really helpful for assessing progress and what needs changing

      • That’s so true. I’ve been spending the Christmas hollibobs looking at old posts, revamping some, deleting others and generally having a blog tidy up!

        • Cathy says:

          Although I meant assessing progress in the garden…! 😉 I Even though my earliest posts were written solely for my own benefit and I used to struggle with editing photos I wouldn’t go back and change them – or delete them – because it was a stage I had to go through to get to where I am now. I might do the odd tweak if I came across a factual error or typo though!

  6. Oh haha! I am a nutter! Yes you are right……unless you look back at photos, you quickly forget what you have achived. X😳🤪

  7. Such a great idea – really gives a picture of how your garden develops throughout the year.

  8. Cathy has been a very instructive experience to see your garden every month throughout the year 2017. It helps a lot to reflect on the position of the plants and if they are suitable for a specific place. Thanks for the pictures. Happy New Year! Greetings from Margarita.

  9. WOW! Great post! I loved watching your backyard spring to life. Reminded me so much of when I was living at the mansion in Mississippi and how I took all the photos. Then fall comes and cool weather just takes away all the enthusiasm. Plants come inside and look out the window and wait for spring like I do. Happy New Year and best wishes for 2018!

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