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Front Border Inspiration

We recently dug up the border outside of our house as it had been become a bit of a mess of weeds and stones. However, I’m a bit stumped when it comes to what to plant. It is south facing, clay with plenty of manure dug in and about 4.5x2m. It has “goldcrest” conifers growing along the back, so they are sapping a lot of moisture. It is also right next to a dirt track so there is a lot of dust - not sure if that matters. And we have a lot of deer visiting so nothing that is irresistible to them. I planted some potentilla limelight and cistus dansereaui decumbens but not sure where to go from here. I love a more cottage garden style and not to keen on grasses. Does anyone has any ideas what to add? And what colour scheme to choose? The bright lime yellow of the goldcrests is quite strong.


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  • zugeniezugenie Posts: 632
    Maybe some salvias? I’m not sure what deer like! 
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    Deer can have a go at most things, so anything you plant will need protection - it's the same with rabbits. 
    I think you're going to struggle with plants there - south facing and in front of conifers will always be tricky unless you have sufficient rain, and it might be a case of experimenting with various perennials. If you can add loads of rotted manure it will also help to retain moisture - you can get it bagged from GCs etc. Leaf mould is also good, but you may not have that. 
    Good old hardy geraniums would be a start, and then some tough verticals - Veronicas and Lychnis spring to mind, but you'll have to get adequate protection in right away to give any plants a chance, and water very thoroughly for a good while. 
    Sorry if that's not very helpful! 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • WatsoniaWatsonia Posts: 106
    Thank you both for your suggestions. I just bought some salvia at a plant sale which I could try. Any suggestion is helpful @Fairygirl, I’m drawing a big blank at the moment and it’s looking rather sad. 

    I have added loads of manure to the bed, so hopefully that will help. Geraniums are a good idea. I also have Veronica in the back garden which I could divide and transplant. I guess I need to look at drought tolerant plants with the conifers there. Maybe a rosemary? Not to keen on anything that tries to injure me me when I garden , ie  mahonia leaves or big spines.

    The deer will make an appearances, but I would prefer not to lure them in. I would have loved a rose flowercarpet but that would be far to tempting. I’m hoping the neighbours gardens will be more interesting if I get the planting right.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    I expect other people with similar conditions might have suggestions @Watsonia:)
    Dry soil isn't something I have much experience of - whether in front of conifer hedging or under trees! 
    Some salvias are woody, so they might be better. Many aren't hardy, so it depends whereabouts you are as to how well they do. S. caradonna is the bone hardy one.  Rosemary and Thyme would probably be fine- but they'll still need lots of water until established. Things like Ox eye daisies would thrive, if they don't get eaten  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • JennyJJennyJ DoncasterPosts: 7,723
    The shrubby salvias would be OK there if the deer don't go for them (I have dry soil and grow lots of them, but I don't have deer). You might want to be careful about colour choices though, depending on your taste of course. To my eye the hot pinks would look vile with the goldcrest hedge.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,201
    I'd agree @JennyJ. I love shocking pink, but against that strong yellow/gold, it can be a bit full on!
    Purples would be excellent, along with white. Blue if you like it. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • Chris-P-BaconChris-P-Bacon Posts: 940
    Hebes perhaps?
  • Balgay.HillBalgay.Hill Posts: 853
    Tall Gaura white flowers would look good against the lime green background.
    Sunny Dundee
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,137
    @Watsonia Erodiums would work well if very dry, Parahebe perfoliata, santolina Primrose Gem with Phlomis Russeliana. Helianthemum Henfield Brilliant, Nassella, libertia Peregrinans.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
  • GardenerSuzeGardenerSuze I garden in South Notts on an improved clay soil Posts: 3,137
    @Watsonia Just to add I have no idea about deer! Erodium Chrysanthus has cream flowers. If you prefer cooler colours Helianthemums come in different shades too. I would persoally go for hot colours in a warm space. The plants I have mentioned are creams, lemons with a shot of orange. Parahebe flowers are purple. Libertia has beautiful leaves that are evergreen and lovely rust shade especially in winter.
    The most serious gardening I do would seem very strange to an onlooker,for it involves hours of walking round in circles,apparently doing nothing. Helen Dillon.
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