Designing the Border at the Top Steps

In the nursery at the weekend I got around to clearing this six by eight foot piece of banking that sits between the existing border and the new set of steps between the sales area and herb garden. It's a tricky area as it's on a steep slope, the ground is rubbish (clay soil and a lot of stones) and it faces north, hmmmmm interesting, time for some garden designing.

First task - remove the "turf"

The border is also viewed from three sides so I had to think how to account for the slope, making it interesting from every side and what would grow in these conditions and provide interest through the year. Because these plants will back onto an existing border where the last plants are vigorous (Persicaria 'Firetail' and Miscanthus 'Gracillimus') I needed to make sure the new plants next to them would be able to complete.

I seem to always end up with b****d clay
soil in every garden! (excuse my language!)

This area of banking was particularly 

Looking through the nursery database I put together a list of plants that weren't planted already. This is something I'm working on, to get all the plants we stock into the gardens so customers can see how plants behave in the ground year on year. I then gathered all the plants together to encourage me to get on with the hard work of preparation so I can get this planting plan in place.

After the hard work comes the fun bit - planting

After lifting off the grass and weeds, I dug over the ground removing a few large stones as I went. These were used to edge the main path up to the nursery (nothing is wasted here). As I barrowed away each load of weeds and grass I brought back a barrow of our own compost to dig in and top dress. In the end I used six barrows of compost, this will certainly help improve the poor soil and give the new plants something to root into. Preparation is so important.

Placing the plants to make sure the planting plan will
work and to work out the right number of plants

The plants I've chosen for this design will give interest from early summer through to autumn, prolonged into autumn by a couple of grasses, Molinia 'Edith Dudszus' and Panicum 'Striatum'. The colour scheme is a combination of whites, pinks and purples with different shapes of flower and leaf.

In place and ready to plant

All done, can't wait to see it all grow together

From paper to finished in a day

This has finished off another untidy corner in the nursery gardens and one of the parts of my job I love doing. What's your favourite task in the garden and do you like creating a garden design and planting plan and making it happen.

Planting list
Molinia 'Edith Dudszus'
Monarda 'Mohawk'
Panicum 'Striatum'
Phlox 'Mother of Pearl'
Polemonium 'Purple Rain'
Salvia 'Amethyst'
Sanguisorba 'Pink Tanna'
Scabiosa perfecta 'Alba'
Verbascum 'Violette'
Veronica 'Purplicious'

You can see another garden design post here and read about how we created the Herb Garden and Scented Garden in the nursery earlier this year.

Monarda 'Mohawk', my own photo

Veronica 'Purplicious' (Google)

Molinia 'Edith Dudszus' (Google)

Scabiosa perfecta 'Alba' (Gogle)

Sanguisorba 'Pink Tanna' (Google)

Like us on Facebook:

The quirky Bird Gardener                    Quercus Garden Plants

Our web site:

Follow us on Instagram @quirkybirdgardener


You can now sign up for our monthly newsletter on the facebook page or by emailing us to be added to our mailing list

All contents  and photographs ©  Rona, unauthorised reproduction & use of these images is strictly forbidden