How can I in­ject a bit more win­ter in­ter­est in this bor­der?

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

STYLISH HAZEL FENC­ING is a smart way to mark out your bound­aries: if only the neigh­bours here hadn’t planted a horn­beam hedge so close be­hind it! It’s quite at­trac­tive to see the golden au­tumn leaves pok­ing through; in time they’ll cre­ate a pretty back­drop for the plants in this bor­der. How­ever, it’s not a good idea to have a plant grow­ing through a fence be­cause the branches will rub against it and could bring it down in time. In the mean­time, by far the best so­lu­tion here is to make the bor­der deeper – at least 1.2m (4ft) wide. This would al­low you to move plants away from the fence and lay a step­ping stone path, al­low­ing for hedge-trim­ming ac­tiv­i­ties be­hind. In terms of plant­ing I’d make the most of the part-shady con­di­tions with a mix of ev­er­greens for shape and colour. The ex­ist­ing Nan­d­ina do­mes­tica is a good choice be­cause it turns a lovely pur­plered in win­ter (H and S1.5m/5ft). But for me the bor­der lacks some state­ment plants to im­prove its ar­chi­tec­ture. Go for fasti­giate ev­er­greens such as Ir­ish yew, Taxus baccata ‘Fasti­giata’ (H8m/26ft in 20 years) or, ideal for this tight space, slen­der Cu­pres­sus sem­per­virens ‘Totem Pole’ (H8m/26ft). These will cre­ate height and rhythm. At the far end, pop in a Hi­malayan birch as a fo­cal point. A clas­sic choice for win­ter in­ter­est, its ghostly white bark draws the eye, and leaves pro­vide a shim­mer­ing gold au­tumn dis­play too. Top­i­ary balls add struc­ture at ground level – here I’ve cho­sen neatly clipped Hebe top­i­aria rather than box, with smaller rounds of Eu­ony­mus for­tunei ‘Emer­ald Gai­ety’ in front. Around these sleek ev­er­greens I’d plant a sea of wafty grasses such as frothy Nas­sella tenuis­sima, tas­sel-flow­ered Mis­cant­hus sinen­sis ‘Sil­berfeder’ or up­right Cala­m­a­grostis acu­ti­flora ‘Karl Fo­er­ster’. I also like the idea of adding a few ar­chi­tec­tural shrubs – white-and-green var­ie­gated Eu­phor­bia chara­cias ‘Sil­ver Swan’ or grey-and-white Pit­tospo­rum tenuifolium ‘Sil­ver Queen’. The lat­ter can be shaped into a loose pyra­mid shape, or ball. ● Need help with your plant­ing schemes? Con­tact gar­­[email protected]­me­

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