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Follow the yellow brick road: A shady spring border

by Gail Rowlands (Langdon gardener)


What do you do when one of your bosses decides to construct a beautiful path through a scrubby bit of land? Well you obviously plant a border to enhance it!


The area in question is in deep, dark shade; much like Paddington’s Peru so was always going to prove a challenge. After a lot of thinking; then a lot more thinking, the plan of a Spring border began to formulate.


Now hellebores, euphorbia, geraniums and wood anemones flower in abundance and provide some lovely colour and hope at a dreary time of year. The border is backed with hawthorn to create a pseudo barrier which realistically stops nothing but let’s the wild area behind have a place.


Before...



After...



Over time spring bulbs and other planting have been added. There is also sufficient to provide year round interest although this year I will definitely not be leaving the leaves on this border which fall from the arching trees. They created an unwelcome soup of sludge which covered the emergent shoots.


What could possibly go wrong?


Blooming false spiraea (Sorbaria sorbifolia) that’s what! Bits of the garden at Graveney are flourishing with it and it is a blooming nuisance! It grows on root suckers and pops up everywhere. In an organic garden, smother or snap is the only solution!



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