The miniature border

Fri 6 June

Two days to go until garden opening. A very fine day, but with the prospect of heavy showers on Saturday. Quite a lot of to-ing and fro-ing with V, who had no house keys and I only got round to doing something in the garden in mid-afternoon: attending to a border. People talk about lovely deep herbaceous borders maybe 10 or 15 feet deep. Well I have a miniature version. Two inches, which runs alongside the six-foot stone flag path between the front gate and the door steps.

Why bother? – you might reasonably ask. Well, it happens to be the sunniest place in the entire garden. South-west facing with an open outlook, protected only from the street by the open railings of the gate.

What plants can go in such a tiny border? Well plenty. At present a miniature copper-leaved weedy Oxalis with yellow flowers, varied little sempervivums of red and green with varying hairiness. And earlier in the year we have had Iris reticulata, Tulipa bakeri, Crocus tommasinianus purpureus and to come in the autumn Crocus autumnale. Of course all the usual things to do – clearing out dead material, removing surplus stones and soil, and weeding out some plants that can’t possibly continue there. Besides the usual, this also turns out to be a great seed bed for a 12ft Echium pininiana once nearby.

Then down at the allotment, I am there to collect some plants in pots which I’m planning to sell. This includes blackcurrant bushes, Schizostylis coccineus, dahlias etc. Then I am picking strawberries (Is the straw helpful?). Redcurrants also to be picked. I have three bushes of the same variety Jonkeer van Tets. But one seems to ripen well before the other two and has a paler leaf, so maybe a labelling error.

Many pressing maintenance issues for which there is little time at present – raised beds falling apart, carpeting paths and cement work needed on the shed foundation. But instead some watering for the seedlings. I’m hoping that the forecast showers will materialise for the potatoes and broad beads which always welcome more water.

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