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Skirting the Urn

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The “Rectangle” grass area of the garden is formed by the straight border edges of Fruit Avenue, the Crescent and the large (not-yet-named) border on one side and the Landing Pad and Willow border on the other. These two sets of borders face-off against each other across the Rectangle. The grass in between feels like a kind of border no-mans-land. At one end of the Rectangle, a large urn is set in front of the beech hedge. The urn is supposed to tie the two sides together, however, it’s not working as well as I’d like it to and there is still a strong distinction between the “back of the garden” and the rest. I’ve been wondering what I can do to better join-up the two parts of the garden and not make the Rectangle feel like such a dividing feature – it’s definitely a weak point in my original garden design and master plan.

To that end, I plumped for more of the metal edging that I used in the Willow border path but this time, I went for black and I set it in a straight line underneath and just slightly in front of the beech hedge, creating a skirting to the hedge and a (somewhat out of style compared to the rest of the garden) sleek black highlight to the urn pedestal. The edging creates a strip of narrow raised border, backed by the hedge. The edging isn’t very high as I didn’t want to create a “proper” raised bed, but something that really was just a skirting, raised just enough so that it’s hard to drive the lawn mower onto.

I filled this “raised bed” with my usual rocket fuel mix of fertiliser and well-rotted manure, as soil underneath an established hedge is very nutrient-poor. This mix always seems to make plants grow to twice the size stated on their label – or it kills them. Once again, I turned online to search for a set of “large” and “giant” hostas that I could plant in this new area. We already have a lot of hostas in the garden and while I’m not crazy for them, the big, bold, sumptuous leaves of hostas should complement the shape of the urn and contrast nicely against the finer leaves of the beech hedge behind. I graded the hostas so that the largest ones were behind the urn in the centre and then gradually decrease in size as you go outwards. The idea is that is gives a kind of optical illusion, the reality is probably going to depend on how many slugs we attract with these plants. I could have bought several of just one type of hosta, but where’s the imagination in that? Instead, I went for:

  1. Hosta – greeny-blue
  2. Hosta – bluey-green
  3. Hosta – you have one like this but smaller
  4. Hosta – you killed this last time you bought it, why would it be different this time
  5. Hosta – spot the difference with the last one you looked at
  6. Hosta – you forgot you have this one already

Only kidding, I actually got:

  1. Earth Angel
  2. Yellow River
  3. Barbara Ann
  4. Forbidden Fruit
  5. Band of Gold
  6. Bam Bam Blue
  7. Touch of Class

It’s probably only hostas where you have such an odd range of names. If you were to give this list – out of context – to anyone and ask them what it was a list of, I wonder how many would guess correctly?

The gaps in between were planted up with almost thirty ferns that had self-spored in the sides of the border edge of the large border (as yet to make). It’s amazing that ferns just self-spore in our garden. These ferns are dryopteris and they grow to around a meter, which is why the hostas need to be sizeable if they’re to “live” together in (very) close proximity.

It will take a few years for the hostas and ferns to get to their mature size so I’ll have to be patient while the Rectangle continues to develop and starts to bring the two parts of the garden together.

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Sunil Patel

I'm Sunil Patel, this is me. I created the Garden at 13 Broom Acres and I open it to visitors. I also bake and write blog posts giving a "behind the scenes" look into what it's like to maintain such a garden.

Visit the blog, then come and visit the garden. We can have a good sit-down, a jolly chinwag and a relaxing cup of tea with a sinfully generous slice of home made cake.

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