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Denbighshire, United Kingdom Gb

Is there a best position for a herbaceous border?
I want to create one and the place I have available in the garden is backed by a hedge. It faces East, but, as we live in a bungalow, the sun comes over the roof in the summer.



Not really, no, other than to say don't choose somewhere you can see all winter out of a window, specially a kitchen window, where you may stand a lot looking out. Herbaceous perennials die down in winter, and its not a pretty sight throughout the winter months - even if you cut everything down to make it tidy, you're looking at a lot of bare soil (which is why I always do mixed shrub/herbaceous ones instead).

Otherwise, there's a best position for certain plants, some liking full sun, most being happy with partial shade, and some liking very little sun, so what's more important is what you want to grow when deciding the position. An east facing border will, obviously, get sun all morning, so that'll cater for most plants. What's more important is the depth from front to back - make it less than 4 feet at its widest point and its very difficult to achieve a layered effect, with taller plants at the back, medium and small towards the front. Optimum depth is about 7 to 8 feet, but you can get away with 4 as an absolute minimum - five would be better.

18 Jul, 2015


What kind of hedge is it? Some hedges eg privet and cupressus take all the moisture and goodness from the soil and make growing a good border difficult. You don't say how long the border would be but if you will see it from the house in winter I'd make sure to add a few low growing evergreen shrubs as well as perennials.

18 Jul, 2015


Thanks for all the help. The hedge is predominantly cupressus.... The length is yet to be determined, anything between 20' and 40'.

18 Jul, 2015


You'll need to keep adding lots of humusy mulch under cupressus. I'd be inclined to think about flowering shrubs with some herbaceous in front and in between, hoping that the shrubs will root deep enough to avoid the surface roots of the hedge perhaps. Just a thought. (avoid camellias, azaleas and hydrangeas in that position though)

19 Jul, 2015


Thanks for that, Steragram. Your advice on avoiding planting hydrangeas etc., there possibly explains why the few shrubs which are there aren't doing very well.

22 Jul, 2015


Just mulch as much as you can and perhaps feed a bit more than you normally would too foliar feeding might be a good idea as the conifers can't pinch it!.

22 Jul, 2015


Thank you!

26 Jul, 2015

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