Planting An Herbaceous Border

 In Environment, Gardening

Gardening springs between joy and despair. Earlier this year I bought three online cottage garden plant collections. I knew it was late in the season, the plants were on sale and cheap and they were struggling when they arrived. I put them into a new border, mangy green dots in a sea of naked soil. It was just as the drought started and the 28 species sulked week after week. Moreover, Ann looked at the moribund border and was convinced my dementia was evident. However, I never doubted my 65 years of horticultural skills! Needless to say, I appeared doomed until a period of rain primed the soil gods. We never looked back, the border and I. Planting an herbaceous border can be stressful but what the hell.

The buzz

The border now is abuzz with bees, hoverflies and even a cricket or two. Butterflies drift in and out. You can walk out to inspect it at anytime and it never disappoints, life abounds. That is the joy of gardening and it makes all the work so worthwhile. However, I had to turn the lawn into a bed first. That entailed flaying off the turf and digging it in row by row. In each row, I removed lumps of limestone discarded by the house or wall builders. Even as the plants finally flourished, caterpillars appeared on various species. I never removed or sprayed them because there is room for us all. They pupated and disappeared, just as we all do in time.

Planting an herbaceous border

The cost of plants is now a serious consideration. Most of the herbaceous plants such as hollyhocks, delphiniums and geum can cost £10.00 each at local nurseries. That would amount to over £700.00 for my border, which cost me around £40.00 in the online nursery sale. Far better though is the fact that I now understand which plants like my soil and the location. Indeed, these plants have bulked up so much that I can split them into two or even four plants as early as autumn. The plants that look less comfortable can be moved to a different location. They, like me, need to be comfortable with their surroundings.

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