Q How can I give my bor­der more struc­ture?

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

THIS BUSY BOR­DER looked fab­u­lous about two sea­sons ago. But now it looks an un­holy mess (top right). Part of the prob­lem is that it con­tains too many lax plants – my pen­ste­mons, grasses and gaura all love flop­ping on each other and mak­ing an un­tidy tan­gle. Another prob­lem is the fact I have too many plants in there – prob­a­bly about 25% of them need to go and live else­where. The soil might look bare in spring but by June the lupins and other peren­ni­als ar­rive and are an­tic­i­pat­ing a leisurely sum­mer of un­bri­dled flop­ping. “This bor­der needs a com­bi­na­tion of plant re­moval and re­place­ment,” says our gar­den­ing ex­pert Ian Hodg­son. “First Liz needs to thin out the plant­ing by trim­ming back un­wanted growth, re­mov­ing ex­cess plants and di­vid­ing the big­ger spec­i­mens to plant else­where in the gar­den. “Stak­ing in early spring would give the re­main­ing peren­ni­als bet­ter sup­port. Also, it might be an idea to swap the lax plants for species that are more up­right and self­sup­port­ing. I’d re­move the ane­man­thele in favour of more up­right grasses such as var­ie­gated Mis­cant­hus sinensis ‘Dix­ieland’ or steely blue Pan­icum vir­ga­tum ‘Heavy Me­tal’. Also, con­sider white-flow­ered plants with a stronger up­right habit such as Physoste­gia vir­gini­ana ‘Sum­mer Snow’ and Veronica longi­fo­lia ‘Char­lotte’ or ‘White Wands’.”

Need help with a bor­der that’s lost its lus­tre? Write to us at the ad­dress on p103

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