The Garden Community for Garden Lovers

Revamping the White Garden


It happens all the time…I plant and plant and plant, and then 5 years later I end up removing half of what I’ve planted because its all got overgrown and messy! I bet none of you ever do this…..;)

Not only that, but I’ve been experimenting with some herbaceous perennials, which I never really had room for in my first two gardens. I’ve now decided that a lot of them aren’t for me. They are too much work, they grow too big and they only flower once, some for a brief time. The kind of herbaceous perennials I like are things like some Hardy Geraniums, Phlox, Scabious, Erigeron, Alstoemerias, perennial Nemesia…things that flower on and on.

So here’s what I’ve done with half of the white garden. First, a shot of how it was in August this year. A lot of green!

And now…ready for the winter…

The Carex ‘Evereste’ is invaluable for winter interest. I’ve moved the Camellia and removed the sprawling flowering currant bush. The Lilac ‘Madame Lemoine’ looks smaller because I removed the lowest branches. Out came Fuchsia ‘Hawkshead’ which was far too crowded out to thrive. I’ve also removed the conifer and replaced it with a white-flowering Pieris that I had in a container. Out came an old and failing Heuchera ‘Thomas’ and I’ve moved a few things around to fill in gaps. Out came spent aquilegias, very tall Japanese Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ which spreads all over the place, and a geranium macrorrhizum that was also all over the place. This has made room for a small Sarcococca which was very unhappy in the sunnier front garden. They need shade. There was a lot of creeping buttercup, nettle and Ground Elder, but they will come back no matter how often I weed. Now there’s room to enjoy the hellebores, the spring bulbs and the white rose can breathe at last. I just hope I can stop myself filling it all up again! I will look out for a smaller Anemone for late Summer…perhaps ‘Whirlygig’ which I loved in my last garden.

The other half of the white garden is where all the ferns are. there are also some taller shrubs, and although it is a bit crammed, the birds really enjoy the shrubs for cover as they feed from the bird table in there. I might remove another fern, but apart from that I’m happy with it at the moment.

Its a long haul till Spring, but this is what I have to look forward to….

More blog posts by cottagekaren

Previous post: Autumn is a great time for revamping borders!

Next post: Boris Becker ;)



Watching your garden from the day you moved in, I had a feeling you would have to revamp..... I did exactly the same K here where it became overwhelming.... I'm sure you will be pleased next year with the results.

5 Nov, 2018


Thanks Julia. It will certainly be easier to get in and remove the weeds!

5 Nov, 2018


funnily enough I'm taking plants out that I used as fillers until the nicer plants got going.
i'm cutting back some yew that is being part of a hedge.

I love what you have done in the garden.

5 Nov, 2018


Creeping buttercup, nettle and ground elder? I can't imagine any of them having the nerve to encroach on your garden, it always looks immaculate!
Us gardeners are never happy for long, buy a plant, love it and drool over it for a while then discover it's in the wrong place, too invasive or not what we envisaged.
Oh well, it keeps us happy buying new plants.
Your garden looks lovely and I'm sure the re-vamp will be terrific in the spring (and all year).

6 Nov, 2018


The very idea you need to revamp anything, Karen is surprising. It takes me all my time to keep up with things in the garden as they are.

6 Nov, 2018


Trouble is I veer between covering the soil with plants to suppress the weeds....(which doesn’t really only hides them) and keeping the ground clear so I can see the weeds and get them out early. At the moment, I am favouring the latter, but it will probably get full up again!

6 Nov, 2018


So difficult isn't it, on one hand you don't want overcrowding but then you don't want too many gaps, not easy, but, we get there in the end, all trial and error, that's the fun of gardening, I am sure you will be happy with the revamped borders Karen.....

6 Nov, 2018


Thanks Angela. It looks good with the bark. Much better than mud!

6 Nov, 2018


So so neat Karen. I envy your ruthlessness, I don't mean that in a nasty way, I find it hard to throw plants when I know they cost XX amount, I'm trying to do so rather than put up with them. Then I worry that if I get rid of plants, I will regret it, decisions decisions.
I've been looking around thinking the bare areas look good making the shrubs and trees stand out but I know by summer I will feel differently and like you, always tempted to fill gaps, then I struggle to picture the garden when I'm in a new season to how it was the season before if you get me.

8 Nov, 2018


Our biggest bugbear is the wild arum. It really tries to take over.Other weeds have been subdued using bark, as you have done. Pricey but well worth it.
We don't really grow perennials, so our garden can be quite dull apart from Spring! Good job I like trees as they do add colour in Autumn, as do the Acers.
Colour in Summer comes from container plants.
Our Alstroemerias have been put to bed until next year. They didn't like the very hot weather but they did perk up afterwards and have been flowering until the other day. It's a lovely cut flower as it lasts so long.

(How's the flower arranging going, Karen?)

8 Nov, 2018


Dawn I am exactly the same! I forget every season. But we have Goy blogs to remind us now!

Thanks Eirlys. I havent done any flowers for a long time now. Every time I think about picking flowers from my garden I talk myself out of it because they last so much longer out on their plants! But now its nearly winter I will start buying and arranging again. Its so cheering through the winter.

8 Nov, 2018


Karen, I'm going to start doing videos on my phone to look back on, hopefully to give a more realistic record (to include the not such good areas needing improvement)

13 Nov, 2018


:) Great idea Dawn!

13 Nov, 2018



13 Nov, 2018


Hi Karen, I don't know how I managed to miss this, I'm very similar to yourself, but not only do I cram them in, I get fed up of them after 3 or 4 years, seeing the same flowers year after year, really bores me, it was far more interesting when I grew annuals, I could have a different display every year, but I must admit, it's a lot less work using perennials and shrubs, Derek.

3 Dec, 2018


Sometimes posts just get missed Derek. No worries. Regarding ringing the changes, I like Monty’s idea of a ‘seasonal table’ to display things that are pretty right now. And I also had Scott build me some display shelving. Last year I grew a lot of Pelargoniums, but I wasn’t totally happy with them. They were only good for about a month. So next year there will be more red patio roses, and some annuals too. However, even with a small amount of pots, its still alot of work isn’t it. But yes,the boredom factor is always challenging!

5 Dec, 2018

Add a comment

Recent posts by cottagekaren

Members who like this blog

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 Jan, 2011

  • Gardening with friends since
    12 Feb, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    29 May, 2013

  • Gardening with friends since
    9 Aug, 2009

  • Gardening with friends since
    1 Oct, 2013

  • Gardening with friends since
    5 May, 2010

  • Gardening with friends since
    26 Nov, 2017

  • Gardening with friends since
    23 Feb, 2011