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Beginning a new mixed herbaceous and shrub border


I finished early at work today( lost 5 customers in 2 weeks…. 2 moved out (one did a moonlight flit leaving owing me a months wages) the other 3 were all via a landlord who’s decided he’s not going to pay for gardening anymore) Hey ho the joys of self employment!

I put the word out to my existing customers that I’m looking for new work and although it’s a bad time of year to find regular new customers I did get one recommend earlier this week which I did for the first time Monday pm. It was in a mess but didn’t take too long to get looking something like decent. Over the next few weeks I shall get it into nice shape.

I spent the spare time I had today starting a new herbaceous border in my own garden. I’ve wanted to do this for many years but the area was infested by mares tail weed so I couldn’t see the point.

Now I’ve got the weedkiller to eliminate it I’ve made a start.

The border will be a very big crescent shape (perhaps 50 feet long ,15 feet wide at it’s deepest and tapering almost to a point at each end.

My wild life pond sits in the interior curve of the crescent.

There are already a couple of good sized trees within the crescent. ( a golden leafed sambucus and a rhus) both of which I planted about 4-5 years ago.

Otherwise I’ve cleared the few plants that were there as they were infested by marestail. I’ve strimmed off all the weed and will wait a week or two until it reappears and then spray. The stuff “Kibosh” I’m using to kill the weed really is staggeringly effective. One treatment really should be enough. i don’t like using weedkiller but marestail is indestructable and I’ve only this past 10 days find something that works

I’ve bought a sambucus black lace the black foliage of which should contrast beautifully with the golden foliage of the golden variety.

The intention is to create a border which is in flower all year around and very low maintenance as I simply haven’t the time and energy to spend much time gardening after looking after my customers gardens.

I intend to take before, during and after photographs and hope the border will look good from next summer but will be looking really mature in about 18 months time.

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Sounds like a great project, AM. Having the established trees and a wildlife pond you are well on your way. Glad you've found an effective killer for the marestail too.

I'll look forward to pictures as you progress with your new project. That's not nice losing 5 customers...self-employment can be tough, particularly when your job of choice is dependent on weather conditions (and customers that settle their a/c before moving on...grrr!!).

16 Sep, 2010


Oooh, i love new projects too and it's great following peoples progress as they get their own into the ultimate state.
I'll look forward to this Am :-)))))

16 Sep, 2010


That`s a big border AM...will follow with interest. Sorry about the loss of customers, but looking at the quality of your gardening I don`t think it will be long before you pick up more work.

16 Sep, 2010


That's a pity you've lost customers... not easy for gardeners this year, with the weeks of drought and the recession ...

... good luck with the new project :o)

16 Sep, 2010


Happy digging Anchorman, that sounds like a big project, hope you have success with the marestail. Recession who needs it, it will affect lots more people yet. Keep your chin up - hope you don't have any more jump the boat -that is not nice, all the good work you put in needs more appreciation than that. Good luck with your own garden plans.

16 Sep, 2010


Good luck AM. I'm sure, with the quality of your work, you will have no trouble finding more. Sometimes you have to allow your self some "home time " and you are putting this to good use. As for the thief, because thats what they are, lets hope its swings and roundabouts, I do really believe things like this do come back to haunt them, if not, we could always send the " boys round ".

16 Sep, 2010


Look forward to your pics, AnchorM, sorry you have lost work but sure there will be plenty more, wish you lived near me !!!!!

16 Sep, 2010


Can't wait for the results of you new project A, agree with Littlelegs about the thief, what goes around comes around.. hope something comes up for you soon matey! Oh pardon the pun

16 Sep, 2010


Good luck creating your new border. I hope you find some new customers soon.

16 Sep, 2010


Thanks for all the nice comments. They're much appreciated :)

16 Sep, 2010


That's a co-incidence, you mentioning that weedkiller. I was reading about it only this morning! I do hope it works well for you.

Yes, please show us 'before', 'during' and 'after' photos. :-)))

Good luck with finding more gardens to care for, too.

16 Sep, 2010


I used it for the first time about 10 days ago It has killed all the marestail and is the only stuff that will. I've tried multiple applications of other weed killers with no effect whatsoever on marestail other than they slow it down a bit! It is very expensive but 500 ml will make 21 litres so you could get a few people to share the cost and it actually works out cheaper per litre than the diluted stuff you buy in hand held sprayers in DIY sheds. It's just a hell of alot to spend at one go (£36 inc postage)

16 Sep, 2010


Wow! At least it works, though. Can't be bad. :-))

16 Sep, 2010


I'm enormously relieved to find something that works. Marestail has been slowly creeping up from the wild part of my garden to the cultivated part for 10 years. Nothing I've done has stopped it. One treatment with the new stuff seems to have killed it dead. It means I can now use parts of the wild garden for planting where before it was pointless as the marestail throtteled everything!

16 Sep, 2010


Sorry to hear about the lost customers. The landlord is being very short sighted in deciding against having you take care of the gardens. Gardens can deteriorate so quickly once the neglect takes hold. The weeds don't know its winter time. Hope you find some new gardens soon. Your new project sounds like quite a task. That is a very long border. I look forward to seeing it take shape. I love seeing what other people do with their gardens. Hope the weather keeps fine to allow you to get on with it.

16 Sep, 2010


Good luck with the borders. Look forward to the photos too.
This was an interesting read (the relevant section is two thirds of the way down the page)........

It's a nightmare being self employed at the moment - we don't have a shortage of customers, but they just have a shortage of money once the bill arrives! Just had one company go belly up on us owing just over two thousand!

17 Sep, 2010


It all sounds fascinating a lookfordward to seeing pictures as it develops. I do hope your buisness picks up for you!

21 Sep, 2010


For anyone interested I've now created a new blog dated 9th August showing the progress I've made on this border.

Also I'm pleased to report I did manage to replace the customers I lost last year.

9 Aug, 2011


Enjoyed the new blog thank you. Good news about your new customers too.

11 Aug, 2011


Thanks Scotsgran


11 Aug, 2011

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