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Small border, does this plan look ok?

medomagemedomage Posts: 15
edited November 2022 in Garden design
Hello! I've prepped a border about 3.5m long and am finalising what to plant there. It's not too deep and I don't want to cram too much in. I'm also trying to maximise the space for pollinator-friendly plants.

I've divided the border into 3 to help design it, based on how much sun each section gets - there are some trees that will block the sun in places later in the year. How does this sound?

1. Full sun most of the day: salvia (hot lips), lavenders x5, perovskia, and some bulbs at the front. I figured all these together means I can prep the soil so it's well draining.

2. Partial shade: gaura, aster, possibly a hydrangea, and lots of bulbs (tulips, hyacinths, daffodils, hardy cyclamen)

3. Partial shade but full sun earlier in the day: anemone ('honerine jobert'), violas, crocuses and snowdrops.

I've attached photos below. Can I fit in more? Is this too much? Any advice would be appreciated!


Posts

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,135
    Hi @medomage. The amount of sun is calculated by summer conditions, so that's your starting point. Full sun would mean around 6 - 7 hours of sun   :)
    I don't think you have room for a hydrangea. Most are/want to be sizeable shrubs, so you'd find it overhanging your grass. 3.5 metres isn't terribly big, and it looks very narrow in depth [front to back] so I think your five lavenders will just about fill it alone. Perhaps one or two is more than enough, depending on the variety.
    Tulips need lots of sun, and good drainage. 

    The soil next to fence in a sunny site can be dry, and some of those plants like a fair bit of moisture [The Jap. anemone for example] so that will be a bigger factor in your decision making than the amount of sun. Virtually of those will be fine anywhere in your border apart from the sun lovers which should get the sunniest locations   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 13,027
    The border looks very narrow, is there any way you could widen it, you would get a lot more scope for planting?
    There are ashtrays of emulsion,
    for the fag ends of the aristocracy.
  • medomagemedomage Posts: 15
    edited November 2022
    punkdoc said:
    The border looks very narrow, is there any way you could widen it, you would get a lot more scope for planting?
    Unfortunately not due to how narrow my garden is. I've dug it the size of the existing border that the previous owners dug. It's not ideal. That's why I want to maximise the space.

    EDIT: One thing I did consider was cutting it into a curve at the end so it's deeper, but there are two massive buddlea in the way.
  • medomagemedomage Posts: 15
    edited November 2022
    Fairygirl said:
    Hi @medomage. The amount of sun is calculated by summer conditions, so that's your starting point. Full sun would mean around 6 - 7 hours of sun   :)
    I don't think you have room for a hydrangea. Most are/want to be sizeable shrubs, so you'd find it overhanging your grass. 3.5 metres isn't terribly big, and it looks very narrow in depth [front to back] so I think your five lavenders will just about fill it alone. Perhaps one or two is more than enough, depending on the variety.
    Tulips need lots of sun, and good drainage. 

    The soil next to fence in a sunny site can be dry, and some of those plants like a fair bit of moisture [The Jap. anemone for example] so that will be a bigger factor in your decision making than the amount of sun. Virtually of those will be fine anywhere in your border apart from the sun lovers which should get the sunniest locations   :)
    Thank you! That's really useful. It is narrow, sadly I can't make it deeper as my garden is quite narrow. 

    I based full-partial sun calculations on the tree growth in summer, so good to know I had the right idea. I'll bear that in mind about the hydrangea. I'll also reduce the number of lavenders, I can pot the rest up for my patio.

    Would the tulips grow well in similar sandy soil to the lavender?

    My main concern (aside from pollinators) is that it doesn't end up look too bare for most of the year - do you think the selection I have will leave it looking colourful/full enough across the seasons?
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,135
    Most of your plants are deciduous, or seasonal [ie the bulbs] so you may want to add a couple of evergreens. There isn't a lot of room, but some of the smaller Hebes might fit the bill.
    In mild areas, you may find the salvias overwinter, but in cold, wet areas they need protection over winter, or you need to take cuttings, and gauras can also be iffy. I can't keep them alive here for more than a couple of years. Your location and climate are very important when choosing  :)

    As @punkdoc says [and I do too] the border is very narrow, which limits your choices. If your garden is narrow though, you may want to consider curving the border around one end of your grass to give you more space, and even making the grass a different shape - an oval, circle or diamond etc, which will give you extra planting room. Putting ovals or diamonds across the space at an angle, also creates helps with making more space. It just depends on what you'd like, and how much you want to keep the grass :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • medomagemedomage Posts: 15
    edited November 2022
    @Fairygirl Thanks for teaching me how to tag! 😁

    I'm in the Midlands so pretty average Brit winter weather. My two salvias are in two big pots and doing well, so I hope putting one in the ground won't kill it off. I'll look at hebes too, thanks.

    I mentioned to @punkdoc above, I might curve the border around at the end, but at the moment there are two big buddleas in the way. However I'll definitely consider this when it's clearer early next year how our garden will look. We're rebuilding a shed, so curving the border to that may look really nice, and it gets full sun most of the day so there's probably more options for planting.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 49,135
    Definitely worth thinking about  :)
    There's lots of other evergreen plants - many are quite small groundcover types - Ajuga, Cerastium etc, but they would give some greenery in winter, especially if you see the garden regularly from the house through winter. Hellebores are great plants too and give early colour along with native primulas. Those will take some shade but also some sun. Heathers for later colour/flowers - many are winter flowering.
    If you like structural planting, Phormiums and Libertias, and some of the evergreen Carexes are useful plants too, although not so good for pollinators etc. 
    If you want to keep the buddleias, they're easy to do from cuttings. You can literally cut bits off and stick them in the ground and they'll grow, so you could grow new ones and get rid of the existing specimens if that was a viable option, and maybe re position them.   :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


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