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Mind the gap!

Hi all,

We had the garden designed by a landscaper with a planting plan two years ago - it's going into it's third season now.

Obviously I am aware that alot of the plants have yet to mature but we have some big gaps in borders that I am desperate to fill... I've already done some improvising but need some ideas - or, someone to tell me that I should leave alone and wait a little longer like my husband does...!

But I look at the gaps and think it will be quite a long time before these are filled...!

First pic shows a viburnumimage, snowmound spirea and a cistus silver pink - I feel like something either side of the snowmound is needed? I've already popped a clematis just behind the cistus to scramble up the horrid wall and onto the trellis!image  Have added a close up of the cistus for context (and also if anyone can tell me how to stop it looking so leggy...?! I'm scared of pruning it as I've heard they don't take kindly!)


Then we have some cosnus alba with midwinter fire in the distance. To fill the front I've planted a couple of peonies and a buddleja buzz magenta, but still lots of gaps :(

To the far side of the midwinter fire we then haveimage a virburnum bodnantense, a miscanthus and another spirea snowmound, followed by a mis-shapen cistus corbanensis. 

Again, lots of space around the base of these and the weedimageing alone is killing me.

I was thinking about some salvia caradonna which we have in another border and which has grown beautifully. But I think that alone may look a bit strange!

Advice please!


  • hogweedhogweed Posts: 4,053

    Why not try some hardy annuals or bedding plants if you don't want something permanent ??? Or are you going on a green toned scheme? I would at least think of a low growing edging plant to go along the front of the beds to add a bit of colour.. 

    'Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement' - Helen Keller
  • fidgetbonesfidgetbones Posts: 17,279

    It is a bit late for seeds this year, but scattering a packet or two of poppy seed will fill the gaps. However, this year I would fill it with  annual bedding plants .eg Cosmos, marigolds, tagetes, nemesia, godetia. even collarette dahlias.  Markets and garden centres have loads at the moment.

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009

    I'm afraid you have to be patient. Plants grow at their own rate - especially shrubs. The better the soil, the healthier the plant, and the quicker it puts on growth.  You'll probably have to move those paeonies and the buddleia in another year as they'll all be jostling for room. The borders don't have much depth, so you really don't have a lot of room. All those things get quite sizeable - including the paeonies if they're happy. image

    Perennials are what you need to fill gaps, or annuals as hogweed suggests. Perennials will need dividing and replanting every few years because they'll also become quite large in time.  In autumn, you could plants some bulbs for spring - especially under the deciduous shrubs like the spirea. Crocus and narcissus are all perfectly happy in those situations, inexpensive, easy to grow and readily available.

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • The soil quality isn't great but I am not sure how to improve it?

    its very rocky and stony and gets very dry and then very compacted. 

    i haven't fed the shrubs either and wondering if I should?

    guess I need to find another home for my impulse purchase of a mock orange and a syringa :)

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009

    Plenty of well rotted manure and compost will improve the soil quality Joanna. That will help the shrubs and plants thrive. It helps retain moisture when it's there, but also helps improve the drainage as well. That should really have been done before the planting was done unfortunately, but you can do that now and also at frequent intervals to gradually improve everything. Did the landscapers not give you a bit of guidance for the maintenance of the planting? That's a little poor if they didn't. 

    A feed of general fertiliser in spring, as everything starts growing, is beneficial. There are loads of different ones available. I use Blood, Fish and Bone, which you sprinkle round each plant, and gently mix in. I would then add some compost or manure, if possible, as a mulch at that point, although it might be necessary to water as well if the soil's very dry. A mulch of manure in autumn is good if you can manage it too. That will gradually rot down further into the soil improving it for the following year. When you water, make sure you do it really thoroughly. That also encourages the roots to establish well, and the mulch will help to retain that during drier spells.

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
  • So forgive my ignorance but is it too late to feed hem now?

    so I dig in the feed but not the mulch?

    not the proud owner of a compost heap so will have to buy some. I am guessing it's freely available at a garden centre? I have only ever bought potting compost!

  • FairygirlFairygirl Posts: 54,009

    No problem Joanna. You can feed your shrubs now  image

    Most feeds are better lightly mixed in around the plants.  A slow release type is ideal as it 'does what it says on the tin' . You can also get liquid feeds, but it might be easier to go for one of those just now.

    The mulch is spread on top, keeping the main stems of the plant clear. If the soil's dry (poke a finger into it to see) feed, then water well round each plant, then add your mulch.  A mulch also helps to give your borders a neat finish, as well as benefitting the plants. There are plenty of composts available, so just pick a multi purpose one for now. You can also get bags of manure in GCs, but if you can get it from a source like a stable or farm , and keep it till it's well rotted, that's even better. 

    Take a little time to have a look at the various products available to see what they do, but you don't need anything too fancy or expensive at the moment. Keep it simple, and don't be worried about asking questions   image

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

    I live in west central Scotland - not where that photo is...
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