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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.