Tidy­ing up is all done!

The Hin­tons’ Dud­ley gar­den has a solid back­bone of shrubs and conifers, and a beau­ti­ful se­lec­tion of herba­ceous peren­ni­als in-be­tween.

Garden News (UK) - - Over The Fence - Guy & Stephanie Hinton

When we de­signed our gar­den, we had a sin­gle aim; to cre­ate one we could en­joy all year. How­ever, it also needed to be very low maintenance be­cause of our work. While we gen­er­ally suc­ceeded, we still have to ded­i­cate three long week­ends each year to keep on top of it. And so with the ar­rival of May and warmth, we spent our first days of the year clear­ing away the win­ter de­bris.

The great spring tidy took place last week­end. We weeded, topped up the bark mulch, and cut back the dam­aged, dead and de­funct among the abun­dance of shrubs, heathers and dwarf conifers.

The most la­bo­ri­ous sin­gle job was deal­ing with the six yuc­cas. We missed a trim last year and they suf­fered worse than nor­mal over the win­ter so no leaves were left un­spoilt.

The Fat­sia japon­ica also suf­fered, but this had more to do with the harsh cut we made the pre­vi­ous year, fol­lowed by the hard win­ter. We had to re­shape it in or­der to bring it back into our fence-line.

In the front gar­den, the berge­nia has re­cov­ered from a pre­vi­ous ant in­fes­ta­tion un­der the edg­ing stones on the drive.

The pond has done well – it’s very clear, with the health­i­est in­sect life we’ve seen for a while. We en­cour­age frogs, and this year al­most 70 of them con­gre­gated in the pond, re­sult­ing in sev­eral thou­sand tad­poles!

The fea­ture hebe, as al­ways, is caus­ing a con­cern. It’s 2.7m (9ft) across and ev­ery year we pon­der on what we’re go­ing to try next to thicken up the top. We’ve tried prun­ing down the middle to pro­mote low growth, but it doesn’t help and tends to push up higher. Any tips wel­come!

We pride our­selves on colour­ful fo­liage in­ter­est all year round

Our hebe’s a con­stant conundrum The berge­nia sprang back to life with gor­geous blooms

Af­ter a proper tidy up, ev­ery­thing’s look­ing neat and healthy

We’ve had about 70 frogs in the pond this year

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