Monday, 30 April 2018

On Border Patrol

My garden is basically a rectangle. The house is the centre rectangle and my garden is all around the edges. In Permaculture this would be principle number 11: use edges and value the marginal, but in gardening terms this is called the Border. The Border is meant to be a continous seasonal array of plants from one end to another, to be walked through via path or lawn. There are meant to be no gaps in this border, and no weeds. As one plant flowers, the other plants around it must complement or contrast in form and colour, with the taller plants at the back, perhaps in front of a wall, fence, screen or hedge, and graduating down eye level, nose level, and ankle level plants near the path.
At the end of this border there must be a seat or a focal point, and at every angle there must be something to catch the eye.

Making a border is not easy. Apart from having tall plants at the back and shorter ones at the front, growth habit sideways must be taken into account. Seasonal variation as well, some plants are evergreen, others deciduous. Perennials die down in winter, annuals die every year, and bulbs only appear and flower in spring. Besides all this, plants must be sited correctly according to their likes for shade or sun, dry or damp. And then you must choose your theme. Is it going to be a 'hot' border or a 'cool' border. Will it be silvery foliage or subtropical. Is it geometrical or naturalistic. Floral or herbal? Fussy clipped topiaries or low maintenance? Dry or bog?

With this in mind, yesterday I went to the Warehouse and found some friends for my lone Crimson Spire columnar apple tree. They were selling two fruit trees for $40 and so I bought two 'Scarlet Spire' apple trees.I figured mum will not notice these are trees as they look like sticks and won't block the light from the precious UV exposed lawn. I have just planted them in my border and had to move some plants along in the process further down the rectangle, where I had dug out overgrown dietes.and applemint.

 So there's salvia, and a Dragon's Gold kowhai now next to the abutilon. But now there is a great big gap which I need to fill with more plants to complete the border. I had put in a few more fruit salad plants near the fence and was planning on somehow transplanting the grapevine, which is not easy to prune where it is at the moment. Or perhaps I can attempt to grow either a choko or another passionfruit on this fence, to go with the subtropical theme. I contemplated putting in a few pongas which would look fantastic if I could get the very expensive mature ones or wait ten years for  the cheaper baby ones to grow. So theres a few possiblities, bearing in mind its west facing and also gets a little frost, and damp, yet sunny. And behind the fence is the neighbour's cabbage tree, which drops it's sharp dried leaves onto my border.

Watch this space...