Old Herbaceous Border

I have a very old herbaceous border with some nice unusual plants BUT it has become very overgrown, with evidence of ground elder starting to creep through the backdrop (yew hedging) from next door - Feels like I should just empty it and start again ?  any tips ? 


  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 24,622

    If it's not a huge area Fran, or if you have enough help, could you lift the plants when the weather's suitable and keep them in a temporary  'holding' area? You can then attack the ground elder and any other weeds more easily, tidy up and nourish the border, and then divide and sort your plants before putting  them back. image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • ObelixxObelixx Vendée, Western FrancePosts: 16,850

    I agree with Fairygirl.  Lift out the goodies this spring and store them on a plastic sheet soemwhere sheltered while you fork over the border and remove weeds.   Keep your plants moistened to prevent exposed roots drying up while you're working.

    You can then add some good garden compost - bought or home made - to enrich the soil and divide and replant your treasures to revitalise them and renew your bed.  Any spares can be potted up and grown on for somewhere else in the garden or swapped with friends and neighbours.

    "We don't stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing." - George Bernard Shaw
  • artjakartjak Posts: 4,168

    Yes, to remove ground elder I would dig up the plants that are near it at least and really go through their root systems, removing every little bit of the ground elder roots. Pop them in a bucket with some water, dig some well rotted manure in and replant. Sounds like a lot of work, but it really will be worth itimage

  • nutcutletnutcutlet PeterboroughPosts: 25,999

    lots of plants are improved by a split up and replant

  • punkdocpunkdoc Sheffield, Derbyshire border.Posts: 6,936

    I agree with all the above. The key factor is do you like the border? If the answer is yes, then salvage it. The best way to do this is dig the plants up, divide them, dig out the weeds, enrich the soil, put the plants back and you have got an even better border than before.

    It is however much easier to say than it is to do it !

    You wouldn't know a diamond if you held it in your hand
    The things you think are precious, i don't understand
  • Hostafan1Hostafan1 Posts: 21,021

    Unless you plan to dig up the yew hedge, which I'm sure you don't, I'd let the ground elder grow a bit, then hit it with roundup. You can use the gel type which you dab on individually , eliminating contact with other plants. You can dig out all the roots you like but, as you've said it's coming FROM the hedge,you'll never get the roots underneath it, I'd use the Roundup.

    Each to his own though.

    I was  a professional gardener for over 25 years and I wish I had £1 for every time I'd heard " they're not my weeds, they're coming from next door"

    tee hee.

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