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Help with a troublesome border

I live in Scotland, just outside Edinburgh in a new build house. I have been in the house about 4 years and for a new build it has a decent size garden. The garden itself faces South West(ish) and I have dug a big border at the side of the garden facing south East(ish). I always wanted a nice big, deep border but now I have it, I feel its just a mess! The biggest problem is that the garden is on a slope and gets pretty wet, when I got some paving done for my observatory (my other passion) and the greenhouse the guys pout in a drain to take water away from this side and down into that lovely new border! So, it can get quite damp in winter but I suppose the flip side is that in summer its still quite moist?
Anyway, Initially I wanted a kind of cottage garden look - you know the border filled from front to back with seemingly random plants that all flower all summer long... Wishful thinking yeah? At the moment I have a Magnolia which seems to be doing well, a camellia also doing not too bad. Smaller plants wise I have a hydrangea and a few perennials such as lupine and a few crocosmia and a few others seen int he photos below. I’m looking for ideas on neatening this up, as cheaply as possible, but also dont mind investing a little money! So, what should I do? I’m wondering about more big shrub/trees like the magnolia and camellia but then what would I underplant with? This bit of the garden I really want to stay random like, not a formal area like the bedding at the back (which was looking lovely till the rain the other day!). I should also add that the bit at the back door of the house, at the right hand side of the bed is also very dry for some reason, I think because this bit is somehow raised a little, dunno, but it seems dry compared to the rest, I have some mallow plants in there that are refusing to grow, I assume because of lack of sun and the dry conditions.


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  • Thanks, so what large plants would you suggest for the back?  Should I move the Magnolia and Camelia a little further back and spread out a little?
  • Valley GardenerValley Gardener Posts: 2,831
    Maybe look for plants that flower all summer ie Penstemons, Tall spires of blue/purple Salvias,Verbenas etc. Lupins are lovely but soon over. As it's damp Ferns would like it too.
    The whole truth is an instrument that can only be played by an expert.
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  • Thanks for the advice folks, given me a few ideas 
  • Blue OnionBlue Onion Posts: 2,987
    You could start a number of perennials from seed now, ready for flowering next year.   Rudbeckia, Echinacea, Penstemon, Salvia, etc.  Seed trays would be most reliable, until the plants are ready to be potted on to something bigger.  Then put out in the boarder in early fall to establish.  Otherwise, pick some up at the GC so they can self seed this fall, for instant color now and spread in coming years.  
    Utah, USA.
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