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The Story of a border - update.


Back in September last year, we had an Escallonia hedge riddled with brambles across the back of our small back garden.

It was impossible to remove the brambles – we found out from the farmer next door that years ago, they had been cultivated blackberries grown as part of a market garden behind our house. No wonder they were so tough! The hedge was 8’ high and we discovered that it was actually 8’ in depth too! Trying to prune that lot was an impossible task. It had to go!

What a job we had – cutting back the Escallonias to stumps and then digging them out, as well as the Brambles. I was in charge of transporting the branches to the incinerator and we burned everything. Then I took on the digging, ready for my husband to put in a fence with a narrow path in front of it to reach the brambles in the field – I take my secateurs along every few weeks, which keeps them down. We wanted to create curved borders to match the existing stone circle in the centre of the garden.

It took a while to get the curves right, and then the trellis went in. We decided to mark the edges of the borders with reclaimed bricks and we had to re-turf the area where the hedge had been.

One immediate bonus was that we now have a view over the fields at the back of the house, and there are often sheep or cattle there. It is also much lighter in the garden.

I had thought about colour-theming the garden, and decided on purple, white and gold/yellow. It took a while to draw out a plan with felt tips (yes, really!) marking in what plants I wanted, to try to keep colour and shape from spring right through to late autumn. I chose climbers for each season, too, different Clematis species and a Solanum laxum ‘Album’. Then I went on a plant hunt! I placed the plants carefully to get them in the right position.

Some of the plants on my list would not be available until the spring, so I had to take care to leave spaces. I strated some off from seed in the greenhouse, too.

It was the right time to plant spring bulbs and I chose small types so that the leaves would not be in the way later..I also planted a lot of winter pansies and Violas. They have done so well and are still flowering madly 7 months later!

So here we are in May, and this is what my border looks like now. There are still plants coming up or waiting to flower, so I hope that my vision will keep working for several more months.

Of course I added plants to the border that were not on the original plan – browsing in the Garden Centre I sometimes spotted a plant that seemed made for the job – like the Erysimums and those little white ‘African Eyes’. I have also planted some seeds which have germinated – they were meant to fill the gaps – but there aren’t many of those! I have pots of Acidantheras in the cold frame ready to go in – it will be a tight squeeze! They were on the plan – so I have a space ready for them… I will post some more photos later in the year so that you can have another look. It’s been fun and I’ve enjoyed every moment of it! I love my made-over back garden.

So does Henry!

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Well done spritz - a great improvement. And I love the colour scheme too.

18 May, 2008


Looks great, Barbara. It's amazing how much space you regain after removing an old hedge - as you've found - I recon I regained about 6ft in places when our laylandii hedge went.

18 May, 2008


It's also nice to have a pleasant view from your garden instead of it being all closed in.

18 May, 2008


Amazing amount of work Spritz shame because in right place escallonia can be an attractive plant very common here as enjoys coastal position.At least soft stems counteract the dreaded bramble.No doubt this will be another stunning border to compliment the rest of your impressive garden.Whats wrong with me tonight being so nice to everybody.

18 May, 2008


lol its ok bonkers , i sure it wont last.. loat of worj there spritz but well worth it in the end, looks fantastic

18 May, 2008


What a fantastic transformation Spritz. The fence looks wonderful.

19 May, 2008


Thanks for the kind comments - especially BB's! ;-) It's a shame we can't do anything about the fence between us and next door - you can spot glimpses of it in some photos. It is a real eyesore and they have brambles too in between the shrubs and Rosemary that grows down this edge. Can't think of the name of the grey-leaved one - has yellow flowers - oh dear. I have planted a variegated Ivy, a Wimter Jasmine, a Ceanothus and several Clematis to try to disguise it a bit.

19 May, 2008


Your grey-leaved shrub with yellow flowers - phlomis fruticosa?

19 May, 2008


What a fantastic transformation uv made Spritz ,Its Stuning I love all the Purple/Orange/yellow Plants uv chosen they look great, cant wait 2 see more pics in the future :)

19 May, 2008


Looking fantastic Spritz. I love seeing the progress this border has made since you gave us the plan for it way back when. Keep updating please.
By the way this is my 1000th post lol

21 May, 2008


Your border it beautiful Spritz

21 May, 2008


Spritz, I've just seen this blog by you about your bramble infestation! Does this mean I will have to loose the holly hedge!?! Its a lovely big natural shield from the road - that sometimes has fast cars running along. I often think the holly stops our two cats from going through the hedge onto the pavement and out onto the road - the fact that the bush is holly and not some other leaf. :-(

22 Apr, 2010


Ooh I forgot to mention - re your photos - GREAT work and GREAT result. Looks lovely.

22 Apr, 2010


Have you got brambles in it, Luby? You might be able to control them - but in our case, they were coming through from the field behind, and under the fence as well, so I couldn't get to the roots or even see the source of's obviously better to dig them out, if you can - if you can get to both sides of the hedge, you could probably win without taking the hedge out.

I'm glad you liked my 'make-over'...:-))

22 Apr, 2010

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