Garden Blog - Blog Post

Eight Years of the Corner Border – Part 1


The disclaimer

This is split into multiple parts because there’s no way a reasonable web browser will cope with a single page describing eight years of horticultural history. I also don’t want to be liable for massive data roaming charges if you’re reading this out and about on a phone.

The Content

In the back garden, the Corner Border is the first border you come across when stepping out of the back doors. You must pass it unless you head across to the far end of the patio. These days it’s roughly triangular in shape with a fern wall on one side, trees and shrubs on the other and a stepped rock wall with various perennials along the hypotenuse.

Of course, the Corner Border wasn’t always this way. It came about because of a difference in the levels of the upper terrace with the rest of the garden, the border was a convenient way to avoid what would otherwise be a steep and difficult piece of grass. The previous owners thought so too because there was a small strip of border already in place when we first arrived.

A Carex-choked neglected border

This strip was weedy and neglected. It did have a few shrubs – like the Euonymus and Camellia – that we kept and still have to this day. Others that were really suffering – such as a very miserable Choisya and moth-eaten Viburnum – were taken out in the name of horticultural compassion.

The Corner Border hides the slope

In the first Summer we moved in, I’d already come up with a sort-of plan for how to lay out the garden nearest to the house. I made the Corner Border much, much bigger, with generously round, bulbous ends to offset the two straight sides forced by the lower terrace and concrete path.

It was precisely laid out using cut-off bits of pruning from neglected shrubs.

The Garden in the Early Days

While it’s all very well laying a few stick on the grass, I actually needed to start working on it rather soon otherwise I’d risk running over the sticks with the lawn mower. And thus it was mid-June when I officially marked out the border with the lawn edger (also known as a half-moon edging iron).

The lawn edger these days is more a ceremonial piece of equipment, but back then, it was the very first tool-with-a-handle that I used to create not just this border, but all the others too. The humble lawn edger begat all borders and for that reason alone, it holds an almost mythical status among the other tools in the greenhouse.

Every border begins with an edge

Back down to earth – literally – once I carved out the border edge, I needed to get rid of all the grass inside it. I could’ve toiled away cutting the grass into tiny sections and lifting the turves; I could have waged chemical warfare. Instead, I took the “easy” option by covering the whole area with a black landscape fabric, which cut the light to the grass and weeds while cooking them in the hot summer sun at the same time.

The Corner Border all wrapped up

Then that was it; for a good few years. I moved on to another border in another part of the garden, leaving this Corner Border to “sit” for a while until came back round to it. I made no more progress on it in the intervening time.

It was – however – very useful to have as a “storage” area (essentially using it as a place to dump rubbish) while I worked on other parts.

Corner Border Just Chilling for a few Years

It had all sorts on it in the early years, soil pipe, guttering, old grill pans, hosepipe, bits of wood etc.

It would be 2016 before I got back to pick-up where I left off with the Corner Border, but that’s going to be in the next part.

Stay tuned for tales of rockery-relieving, trench-digging, dahlia-rescuing and plant-pilfering shenanigans.

stay up to date


Enter your email address to subscribe to the Garden Blog and stay notified when new posts are available.

catch up

Recent Posts

Don't miss these recent posts.

delve deeper

Garden Blog Archive

Peruse the full Garden Blog Archive going back over a decade.

Visit the Garden


Visit the Garden at 13 Broom Acres on National Garden Scheme Open Days and by arrangement

author & gardener

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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Wendy Goodall 29/10/2022 - 2:35 pm

Hi Sunil it will be interesting to re-visit each border and learn more about it’s development and evolvement. I first discovered your blog when you were in the midst of creating ‘The Landing Pad’. I had done a Google search on how to grow ferns from spores and your article on doing just that was in the recommendation list. Do you recall doing that? I then began to read your other articles – being intruiged as to why you had a landing pad in your garden and was then hooked on following your progress. Over the years I’ve read most of the published articles from the past, and eagerly await your current postings. Its always interesting seeing other people’s gardens isn’t it?

Sunil 29/10/2022 - 10:09 pm

Hello Wendy, that’s the plan. I’m not sure if I’ll get round all the borders, but I have all winter to try. The Landing Pad was quite a few years into the garden work and it’s nice to hear you’re loosing yourself in the archives (beware – they go back a long way!). We remember doing the ferns from spores and you should see how large the plants are now! I also find other people’s gardens interesting because I’m a nosy person and it’s also a great way to get inspiration for new plants and new things to try. Even when a garden isn’t to my taste, I can appreciate the effort that has gone in to creating it.


Blog Post Lucky Dip

Lose yourself in garden history with over a decade of blog posts to choose from.

neighbourhood explorer

Followed Blogs

Here's a favourite list of blogs that I love to curl up with a cup of tea, slice of cake and have a good read.

stay notified

Subscribe to the Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe to the Garden Blog and stay notified when new posts are available.

email address policy

Your email address will only be used for the purpose of sending you email updates to notify you of new blog posts. It will not be sold to third parties nor used for advertising or other marketing purposes.

© Sunil Patel. All rights reserved