White Cosmos looking wonderful behind Stipa Gigantica
White Cosmos looking wonderful behind Stipa Gigantica

As I seem to say every weekend at the moment there aren’t enough hours in the day and I don’t seem to be home enough at the moment to feel I am making any progress in the garden.  However, on Sunday I was determined to finish a project and make a substantial step forward.  I have been dithering around from one job to another and it has all been rather unsatisfactory.  My theory is that is I complete a big job I will get a big ‘feel good’ factor and feel more motivated and less up against it.

The Big Border beginning to come into its own
The Big Border beginning to come into its own

I mentioned a few weeks back that I had decided to put a path through the Big Border for practical reasons.  The stumbling block has been edging the path and although my sons took down some branches from the prunus and willow to help with this, much more was needed plus the branches were a little skinny.


I had a terrible nights sleep late last week thanks to a badger trying to rearrange the garden fence in the early hours followed by the cat deciding that we might as well get up as we were awake.  Anyway, aside from exhaustion, it meant that I did a lot of thinking during the early hours and one of the ideas I came up with was to use the Malvern stone that we have a large pile of to edge the path.  The stone had originally been part of a retaining wall holding up the back slope but had been taken down when my eldest was digging out the space for the workshop.  I did say a month or so ago that I was going to put a rockery on the slope so that I could indulge in my interest for alpines, and use up the rock.  However, this plan wouldn’t come together in my head and I decided that it would just look odd in the middle of the garden so the daisy border, albeit, shorter, will remain.


So today I set too and finished moving the plants that were in the path’s route.  Some went to the great compost heap in the sky, some were potted up until I decide where their new home will be and some – roses, geraniums, aquilegia and delphiniums were re-organised in the new ‘Surgary Border’.  It was surprisingly humid which made the work hot and sticky but I was determined.  In the afternoon it was time to lug the stone across the garden and edge the path.  I suspect my Dad is expecting some form of dry stone wall, after all that is what he would do.  However, there isn’t that much stone and I wanted to keep the edging narrow as the path is narrow, just wide enough for someone to walk down.  This is essentially to be an access path and the idea is that the plants will spill over the edges and you will have to push through them.

Galtonia - such an elegant plant
Galtonia – such an elegant plant

It did occur to me whilst I was pushing earth into the gaps behind the stones that the stone edging was essentially a long thin rock garden.  Here in full sun with excellent drainage was the perfect opportunity to plant the more robust alpines – result!

I am thrilled with the result.  It needs finishing with wood chip but I need one of my son’s to help with carrying the bags up the garden.  The path has open up the garden and means that I can really access all part of the borders.  It also means that I can now see the faces of the dahlia flowers which had perversely chosen to turn their backs on the top path.

The garden isn’t looking too bad if you avert your eyes from the weedy patio and borders and some of the scrubby areas which I need to re-organise.  There are some that comment on how much I move my plants around, this isn’t really the case as I ponder moving plants but they don’t always get transplanted.  I have questioned my approach recently wondering if I was doing it all wrong- I do take comments to heart – but today  reading Christopher Lloyd’s Foliage Plants my anxiety was lifted when I read:

“Because you are inexperienced, your mistakes will be numerous, but experienced gardeners do and indeed should make many mistakes also.  They should always be living on the frontiers of their experience; always  be experimenting and trying out something new.  It’s only those who are afraid of having to admit to mistakes who are frightened of making them.”

That’s good enough for me!