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Recommendations please for border

Hello I’m new to the forum.. nice to meet you.

I’m looking for some advice this is my small border at the moment.. I’m a beginner gardener so… im looking for some plants for my border that is winter hardy and will last all year.

At the moment i have lilies, hydrangea, astilbe , alliums and gladioli 
Along with the round hebe sort of plants (I’m not sure) they was already here.. 
I want to keep the round plants but fill in the gaps with some winter hardy plants taking out the lilies, alliums, gladioli etc..

I believe astilbe and hydrangea can withstand the winter months..correct me if I’m wrong. Any opinions or advice is greatly appreciated.

The soil is a orangey clay type of soil although i have added some other soil to it but it didn’t help much.
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  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    Hi @xmishx244le0feQ9 - unfortunately - there isn't really much room to put anything else in there.  :)
    The hydrangea will get much bigger - assuming the aspect and conditions are suitable for it, and it will crowd out many of the other plants anyway. Do you know which direction the bed faces? Hydrangeas like shadier conditions than Hebes, and also like a good bit of moisture, so it may be difficult for it right next to the wall, although if you have clay soil, it tends to hold onto moisture so you might be ok. 
    It does look like you have several Hebes of the same type there [would need close up pix to be sure] but apart from the gladioli, they're all totally hardy plants. Hebes do like sharper drainage though, and a good amount of sun, so if the soil hasn't been improved, they might struggle.  In some areas, some types of gladioli are also hardy enough to leave in the ground. There would be no need to lift the lilies etc, unless you don't want them, but they'll die back over winter anyway, as will the Astilbe.
    The best solution is to add some bulbs for spring in the spaces. Plenty will be available now. If it was my border, I'd remove some of those Hebes and replace with a different plant or two, but certainly I'd take out a couple that are next to the hydrangea.  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    Hi, and welcome.  I am new here, too.  And I was very much where you are today a year ago.  

    Plants I have grown to love that have long flowering periods are as below.

    Salvia (common name Sage):  I love the red flowered "Royal Bumble" which attracts bumble bees and hummingbirds.  
    https://middletonnurseries.co.uk/salvia/salvia-royal-bumble

    Also love these Bluebeards, which grow high up to about 70 cm and attract bees.
    https://www.crocus.co.uk/search/_/search.bluebeared/sort.0/

    Gaillardias keep short and bushy, growing up to about 30cm.  They produce glorious, bee attracting flowers.
    https://www.jparkers.co.uk/catalogsearch/result/?q=Gaillardia+

    You can buy them as small plug plants in gardening centres
    or online, sent to your home in small containers, well packed.

    Dig a hole at least 8 inches deep and wide for each plant, fill it  
    half with a John Innes compost
    and half with a multi-purpose compost (I like Westland Gardeners' multi-purpose compost)
    and mix it up in the hole.
    You can put back and mix up some of the dug up soil, too.
    Mix it all well with a gardening fork.

    Then plant the plug in the middle.  It will use the compost to get established and then send roots into the surrounding soil.

    I advise getting a slow-release fertilizer -- I like Fish, Blood, and Bone fertilizer in ground granule format.  Put about half a teaspoonful around the base of the new plant and mix it in with the top soil with your fingers.

    I also buy a pack of Farmyard Manure and mulch it around the base of each plant at the top.

    You might be in time to see some blooms this autumn, but it will be blooming in full glory early next spring and summer and buzzing with bees and butterflies.


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    I can see now that what I thought was a wall is in fact a pavement. Apologies @xmishx244le0feQ9.

    However, without knowing the climate and conditions where you live, there's no point suggesting any further plants. Those are absolutely the key factors. Are you in the UK? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    The hydrangea are boring.  If you plant the flowers in between, they will grow fast and you can prune out the hydrangea bushes and take one of two out if you like the flowers better.  I took my shrubs out as the flowers bloomed in glorious colour.

    If you dig a hole about 8 square inches all around and as deep as possible, and put in the compost, that will clear some hydrangea roots and give the flowers the space to get established and then fight it out with the shrubs.  They will send roots out into the grass areas deep under where there is space, water, and nutrients and flourish.

    When you water, water infrequently for a long time each time until the soil is fully drenched to the brim.  This is where the John Innes compost comes in handy as it allows the water to seep in deep under.  This makes the plants send roots down deep under where there is moisture when the top soil dries.  Whereas if you water a little bit frequently, the roots are shallow and fighting for limited space at the top bit only. And watering all the time is also a hassle.
  • Hi fairygirl yes I’m in the UK in the West Midlands. Thank you for all your advice everyone I appreciate it. 

    I’m willing to move plants about or remove them need some recommendations though. 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    If you can determine the amount of sun the area gets, that will help with suggestions. Hebes and Alliums , and Astilbes and Hydrangeas don't often mix well in the same area because they like quite different conditions  :)
    Can you do a close up of the Hebes? That will just help determine the variety.  :)
    The hydrangea will grow and fill a good bit of that area, so it will make a good, easy shrub for you if conditions suit. Is the soil in reasonable condition? I appreciate it's difficult for you to determine that if you're not experienced.  :)
    The Hebes might be best moved so that the hydrangea has enough room. I'd avoid too many flimsy perennials or annuals though, as it's bordering a footpath. Tougher shrubs are generally a better bet in that sort of site, but it also depends what you like - colours etc.
    Have the plants been in long? 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Fairygirl it is quite sunny out there I haven’t been here long but the house gets sun on the back and the front garden.  The soil is quite clay like so I did add quite a lot of other soil in with it when planting not sure if I did the right thing or not but it didn’t make a difference I don’t think. The plants have been in for about two months and the hydrangea don’t seem to be growing to be honest but early days
  • The hebe plants came with the house (new build) so they have been in since last September 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 46,129
    I wondered if that was the case  :)
    I'd leave what you have there for the time being then. 2 months is no time at all for any shrubs [especially] to thrive, and all plants will just be getting their feet down and establishing. If the soil is poor, some plants will struggle to do well. Hydrangeas need to be well watered - especially as you have it in a sunny site. Always water down at the base, not overhead, and water really thoroughly - a full can every couple of days in hotter/drier spells. Once you're into autumn/winter conditions, you can stop doing that, and it will be dormant anyway.  :)
    Some plants may not make it - new builds are notorious for having poor soil conditions, but you've done the right thing by adding a bit extra to the soil. Ideally, you'd spend as much on the prep of a new planting hole as you do on the plants. :)
    However, you can also help the soil structure by adding some mulch in the gaps - well rotted manure is ideal [you can get it bagged in garden centres]  or just a general compost. That will work down and help, and it also helps retain moisture and suppress weeds. 
    I'd lift the gladioli though - most aren't hardy, so unless you know which ones you have, it's probably safer. You'll need to overwinter them in a shed or porch or somewhere similar to keep them frost free. Just wait until they've died back. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Jac19Jac19 Worthing, South Coast of EnglandPosts: 496
    edited September 2021
    Fairygirl it is quite sunny out there I haven’t been here long but the house gets sun on the back and the front garden.  The soil is quite clay like so I did add quite a lot of other soil in with it when planting not sure if I did the right thing or not but it didn’t make a difference I don’t think. The plants have been in for about two months and the hydrangea don’t seem to be growing to be honest but early days
    I had clay and muddy soil.  If you do the compost hole thing, they will be flowering in a month.

    The compost will cost about £5 each -- 35 litre John Innes, peat based Multipurpose, and the Farm Manure -- from the local Wikes or B&Q.  The fish, blood & bone fertilizer is a tenner. You need a 1m tall spade for digging and a small garden fork. Maybe gloves.
    That will be enough for all your plants.

    The problem with clay and muddy soil is that water does not seep down and gets trapped as mud in the top 2 inches, then evaporate back into the air.  Not enough space for plants to put their roots down and get some nutrition, and you lose more than half your water into the air.  This is the way to solve the problem.  It is like lowering a flower pot into the ground.  Even rainwater will then go down deep into the ground through your holes and carry nutrients down with it, enriching more space for even other plants' roots to go down.

    https://www.diy.com/departments/westland-john-innes-no-3-compost-35l/5023377007552_BQ.prd

    https://www.wickes.co.uk/Wickes-Multi-Purpose-Compost---50L/p/185215

    https://www.wickes.co.uk/Gro-Sure-Farmyard-Manure---50L/p/132290

    https://marshallsgarden.com/products/westland-fish-blood-and-bone-4kg-10904647?https://marshallsgarden.com/&ds_rl=1278790&ds_rl=1284312&ds_rl=1278790&ds_rl=1284312&gclid=CjwKCAjw7fuJBhBdEiwA2lLMYY1n33U5-mOkstExNWtXYAFfu_jMCK9ov_8P19A28aDjV6p5UoFuShoCBUoQAvD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds

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