Life on the Borderline

Volunteer Christina has seen changes in the garden over the time she has been volunteering, she documents the challenges and changes in one of our perennial borders here.

It feels like ”A Long time ago in a Galaxy far, far away” when I started volunteering as part of Thursday afternoon group. We worked together to weed beds, clear paths, and of course chat with tea and biscuit breaks. As winter 2018 came we headed into the Leaf Room and sorted seed packets and began planning a big change to the border below the metal shed, while again drinking tea and eating biscuits in front of the log burning stove …..those were the days!!!

Winter 2018

There was a lot of ground elder in the bed so drastic action was required. It was recommended we clear the bed completely and plant it with annuals for the first year so a second clearout/blitz on the ground elder could be carried out the following year. This was the plan of campaign we agreed to follow. We decided to go mad with whatever seeds we had the first year but to go with rose, which we were planing to keep, the rest of the border should be blues, pinks and purples. The plan was set and seeds were planted in polytunnel to use in first year.

Spring 2019

We cleared the border. We left a few of larger shrubs and the hellebores which were flowering at the time otherwise we were had clear ground. The plants we thought could go back, and were clear of ground elder, were planted in borders in front of polytunnel until we were ready to put them back. We then had the fun of planting up the annuals. With help of some medical students who came down as part of their course to learn about theraputic use of garden and nature, we planted lots of seedlings from the polytunnel including sunflowers, cosmos, nasturtiums and sweetpeas. There were also some seeds planted directly into border. Willow supports were made and the border was ready for its first year.

Autumn 2019

The border was cleared of all the annuals and a small amount of recurring Ground Elder. Sarah, our facilitator moved onto a new job but left a selection of plants for the bed on the path of the planned colour scheme to be planted the following spring.

Spring 2020

Well we all know what happen next……. Lockdown meant those plants sat in their pots on the path for a while longer!!! There was no more Thursday group to fill the bed but once we were allowed back into garden I did a wee bit weeding and got some of the plants in, no planning involved just make a space and plant them in. Mother nature played her part too and the border was ready to put on its 2020 show. The year of the Poppy….

Autumn 2020

A relaxation in restriction meant a few more people in garden to see the border and collect some of poppy seeds and I had a wee helper for my clearing and weeding!!!

Robin, the wee helper

Spring 2021

Photo of the border with a foreground of the wider garden

Another Lockdown so again reduced activity in Garden but border was weeded and cleared with a few more of ”path plants” finding a permanent spot and again mother nature played her part….foxgloves!!! I did try to thin them out and stop them from crowding out the plants already there, by spreading them elsewhere in garden but in the end I had to admit defeat and the show was pretty spectacular.

Autumn 2021

Time to cut back, clear and tidy again and look forward to what next year will bring in the Life of the Borderline….. though still have to find room for some ”path plants”!!!!

Text and photos by Christina Howie

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