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What would you plant here?

A new flower bed! There is a wild cherry at one end, Holly and wild rose on the other end. South facing and not exposed or windy. Tap right behind it. 

I am thinking of a simple white and purple colour scheme for a very understated look. 

Desdemona and Claire Austin white roses in the middle. Alliums popping up for height. Nepeta faassenii all around, and potentially wrap everything in by a small tidy Japanese Holly border. I could even plant some purple tulips for spring interest. I am hoping as long as I stick to white and purple it will look quite tidy. 


  • Great idea keeping to a restricted palette.
  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,461
    I'm sorry, but I'm going to rain on your parade. I do sympathise with your wish to keep what you have, and your colour scheme sounds lovely. I hate throwing plants out, but...

    That wild cherry is far too close to the fence. They make large trees very quickly, there just isn't room there, and yours is already beginning to sucker from the roots, which will be a pain for you and your neighbours. I have several that self seeded in my large wild garden where space doesn't matter, and the flowers are pretty but don't last long.  Get it out. If you really want a cherry tree, then either one such as Ama-no-gawa, which is tall and narrow, or a grafted, properly dwarf tree would suit you better and give better flowers. 
    Wild roses are very pretty and I have one that I keep for hips for the birds, but again the flowers are short-lived and it suckers. I feel it might look out of place and detract from your DA roses which will give you flowers for much longer. I would suggest you ditch that too, beef up the soil with plenty of muck and get a nice purple rose to go with the other two :)
    On the holly tree it is harder to say. There are a couple  of variegated ones in my veg garden that died back and had to be trimmed to a trunk like yours and they have been there for  many years and never regrown into decent looking trees. I pick a few sprigs for Xmas decorations, but am now thinking of removing them altogether. Where they are it doesn't matter what they look like, but your situation is different. Yours might do better than mine ever have, so give it a chance if you want and can put up with how it looks. I will just say that weeding under holly trees can be painful! If you decide to start again, then Ilex aquifolium J C van Tol is a partially thornless one that doesn't grow too enormous, can be pruned and has loads of berries.

  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120


    Thank you for taking the time to reply. It’s much appreciated. I shall look into it further. Getting the roots out may be troublesome but there is no time better than now! 
  • AthelasAthelas Posts: 862
    edited August 2022
    I would agree with @Buttercupdays. Looks like a great planting opportunity!

    As you mention white roses, purple alliums and nepeta, thought I’d share a photo of my border (3 x 1.5m) from spring just for reference. It slopes downward so that would be a bit different to what you have.

    The white roses are Vanessa Bell (so more on the yellow spectrum, and there’s a random Olivia Rose Austin and a Flower Carpet in there). I think Desdemona and Claire Austin would be great. The tall purple alliums are ‘Ambassador’ and the shorter ones are ‘Metallic Shine’. The nepeta is ‘Kit Kat’ but personally I find it a bit scraggly and I find ‘Purrsian Blue’, which I have elsewhere, better with tight, full, rounded foliage and abundant flowers.

    Photo of ‘Purrsian Blue’ in my front garden here:
    Cambridgeshire, UK
  • WoodgreenWoodgreen Posts: 1,273
    A lovely border, @Athelas.

    @Cecelia-L My first thought was 'No!' to the wild cherry. Totally wrong place for reasons outlined by @Buttercupdays.
    Similarly the wild rose. The holly would need constant trimming to prevent it over shadowing the planting, and I agree, not the best subject in a border needing attention by you. These would be more at home in a hedgerow with several metres to expand into either side.

    Personally I would remove these existing plants and make the border you want, to fit the space and surroundings, rather than try to compromise by utilising what's already there. 
  • Cecelia-LCecelia-L Posts: 120
    Wow your border is perfect, better than what I have imagined. Loved the metal art work on the wall too. 
    Thanks for the suggestions, I will look into these. 

    That makes sense. I feel an inevitable sense of guilt when I remove established plants and trees. Though I do agree certain trees in urban areas are simply unsuitable and are more trouble than merit. 

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