In 2011 we decided that we needed to totally renovate the border that we look out on from the back window of our house.
This started off as a plan to add a focal point - maybe a statue of some kind to the border.
The ellipses in the photos on the left show the intended location for the focal point!
As seems to happen to all of our plans the execution never turns out to be as simple as the original idea and turned out to be a total renovation job.
The crab apple tree had some branches taken out to let in more light and most of the plants were dug out. The remaining plants were severely pruned leaving us with an almost blank canvas to fill.
As this area is quite shady once the tree is in full leaf or even full bloom I decided that I would use mainly a blue and white theme to try and lighten things up.
Even before we had decided to cut everything down we found the object that would act as a focal point. This didn’t end up being a statue but a bird bath which to be honest was more our sort of thing as the statues that we found were nothing like the one that I had pictured in my head.
Read more on my blog post here
A couple off bamboos were allowed to remain in the border to give some height but these were severely reduced in spread. (These have since been removed).
I also retained a choisya and a camellia although both were severely pruned. Time will tell how they recover but both had really grown too large for the size of the border.
Directly under the bird bath I planted black leaved ophiopogon to provide a good contrast with the white of the bird bath and in front of this was planted laminum White Nancy.
In amongst the ground covering plants I planted some miniature iris Kathleen Hodgkins for early spring interest. These are shown in the photos below on the right.
For Spring 2013 I want to add to the spring bulbs by adding some muscari, white tulips and white miniature daffodils.
We also wanted a couple of shrubs to add some structure and chose an acer - just really because we have always wanted one and this seemed a good sheltered position for it. We also bought a hydrangea quercifolia which should eventually have white flowers. Being a fairly small plant, the later will probably take quite a while to provide any real structure.
I also bought five clematis to grow up the willow screen. I chose mostly white and blue flowers although couldn’t resist breaking the rules and buying one with flowers that have a pinkish tinge. Rules are made to be broken aren’t they and it is our garden? Soon after planting one of the plants succumbed to what we thought was clematis wilt. Fortunately we had followed the grower’s instructions and planted deeply and happily this plant regrew from the base the following year year. ( Now in 2017 only two varieties survive).
Read more about the varieties chosen on my blog post here
After much deliberation and whittling a huge list down substantially, more perennials were bought in 2012. A full list is available here. After much moving around these plants have now been planted in what may or may not be their permanent positions. The good thing about herbaceous perennials is that they don’t mind being moved. So in April 2012 the Willow Screen border looked like this.
April 2012 - the crab apple tree is full of blossom with pink ‘scilla growing round the base.
View from a bedroom window - Malus Profusion in full flower.