Colour Me Beautiful…Next Year?

Whilst blogging friends like Chloris and Ali are celebrating colour in their gardens, rejuvenating my own borders has largely put a stop to any colour except for green – but at least all eight borders are completed, with new plants planted and old plants divided or disposed of. I have been ruthless in some respects, with the Inula magnifica removed from this bed, for example, along with other plants which done little more than fill a space. Athough the overhaul was planned to improve on the existing inadvertently Spotty Dotty look with new planting mostly in groups of three to create bigger clumps, there was still no real planning behind it and the temptation to split the groups of three between borders still taunted me.

Rather than plant shorter shrubs to the front as I have done in the past, which tends to restrict choice, I have instead varied the height of plants within borders and included ‘see through’ plants too, repositioning existing plants where appropriate. This is the first time an overhaul has taken place at this time of year, with previous major planting having taken place in early spring, so I am hopeful that there will be enough growing time left this season to give things a head start. When work began on the overhaul a couple of weeks ago, the ground was bone dry and even a ‘thorough watering’ only seemed to wet the top inch or so; however, a very wet Thursday saw the rain really reach down to the roots as I found when I planted the last few stragglers and tidied up, collecting up all those redundant plant labels. Plants will undoubtedly have lapped it up, enjoying the freedom of a less compacted soil in the process.

It is easy to feel dissatisfied with our gardens at a time of year when earlier successes have faded from our minds, and planting for months of colour and interest is a skill that I am not confident I have, despite all my efforts. The overhaul of the borders still feels haphazard and only time will tell how successful it has been, but I would like sometime to reach a point where they are filled with established and thriving clumps of pleasing plants – is that too much to hope for?

Regardless of the replanting, the borders will undoubtedly benefit from the removal of the hazel tree next to the sheds – all the sky you can see in the photo below was blocked out by its branches, and I estimate an additional four hours of morning sunshine will reach the main borders following its demise, with more late afternoon sunshine reaching the area behind the house too.

Excited by this prospect, it wasn’t long before we decided that the hazel on the other side of the shed could go too…

So it’s upwards and onwards (or down and out in the case of these hazels)…

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22 Responses to Colour Me Beautiful…Next Year?

  1. bcparkison says:

    Sun is so important but I do hate to forfet a tree.But…won’t things be beautiful come Spring.

    • Cathy says:

      Both hazels will have been self-seeded, and probably not much more than twigs when we moved in 22 years ago and still liked the idea of encouraging self-seeders – but you can have too much of a good thing! And we have other trees still, mostly planted by us!

  2. tonytomeo says:

    Were the hazel trees grown for nuts?

  3. I know it’s easy to feel despondent but I’m learning there’s no need to really – all green is fine and patches of work in progress makes a garden interesting. I find those gardens where everything is frozen in time, manicured and designed, rather weird. Good luck and hurrah for more sunshine and light being beamed into your garden.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks, although I didn’t mean to sound despondent about it! I am thrilled about the prospect of more light, as part of the garden will always have shade from a neighbour’s huge beech tree

  4. Chloris says:

    Thanks for the mention Cathy. It is so satisfying giving the garden an overhaul and you are at your happiest when involved in a new project aren’t you? A bit of forestry is the most satisfying, you immediately have more space and light, I’ve been doing something similar here too.
    Anybody can have a week or two of glory in the garden, but getting it to look good all year round is only possible somewhere like Great Dixter where you have a procession of plants waiting in the wings. In my garden I aim to have different areas taking centre stage at different times of the year but everywhere having something of interest.

    • Cathy says:

      You are quite right about me being happiest with a new project and I really meant to say that in the post – I was writing later in the day than I intended to and so cut it short but felt most dissatisfied with it. If a few people hadn’t commented overnight I would have removed and rewritten it – so watch out for an apology!

  5. Heyjude says:

    It is always nice to rejig a border, though I keep on rejigging the same bed as I am not at all sure what I want to grow in it! I am guilty of the ‘spotty dotty’ effect, mainly because I love different plants and have a very small garden. I get around this by counting daisy-like flowers as all the same 🙂
    I have realised that Chloris is quite right in saying that different borders have centre stage at certain times of the year. My ‘woodland’ border for instance looks lovely in spring, but virtually green the rest of the time. I shall be very interested to see how your new borders look next year. I am sure they will be lovely.

    • Cathy says:

      Yes, we want to have specic plants and then we need to find somewhere to squeeze them in! I shall be writing an addendum to the post though, which should sound more positive.

  6. Cathy says:

    Since I have quite large hazels too, I understand your excitement at showing them the door! I think it’s an incredible trick to have continuous interest in one border. I’ve kind of stopped aiming there and like to think that different corners of the garden are good at different times. I do have friends who go for colour everywhere, all the time. Their gardens are rich (and more colourful than mine) – but they always look the SAME! To the extent where they will only plant an, admittedly lovely, geranium like Rozanne, because all the other splendid flowering geraniums they could enjoy are over too soon for them. Great to have a revamp – hope you enjoy your results!

    • Cathy says:

      You are quite right of course, Cathy, and colour all the time would be nigh on impossible except in a bed of annuals. I shall be writing a follow-on shortly

  7. Good job! I find things planted at this time do get going strongly more so than those planted in spring

  8. cavershamjj says:

    I am staring at one of my borders now and thinking it needs a do-over. I don’t like any of the plants, never mind love them. A job for the winter perhaps.

  9. Pauline says:

    I like a good overhaul ! Even a well planned border can become tired after a few years and need refreshing, any excuse for planting some new plants.

  10. Pingback: Colour Me Beautiful…Addendum | Rambling in the Garden

  11. Cathy the changes she has made in her garden will be seen in all its splendor in Spring. Changing the hazel is a very good idea: four more hours of light are many. As it says a Spanish proverb “Renew or die”. And I think Cathy that her thing is the change for the better. Greetings from Margarita.

    • Cathy says:

      Thanks Margarita – when I have considered the same option several times it suggests it definitely is the time to change ad move on…

  12. Brian Skeys says:

    It is the best time to overall a border Cathy, there is so much more to do in the spring. My plans have been frustrated by a back strain.😭

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