RENOVATION OF OLD BORDERS
Sometimes a garden is taken over which already has an established herbaceous border. At any time when frosts are absent from the, between the months of September and March, such a border could be tackled by the incoming tenant and completely renovated. As this work is often a real problem to the novice we will describe it in detail.
The tools required for immediate use are a large digging fork with which to lift plants from the border, a heavy spade, and a trowel for replanting. With these will be required a wheelbarrow, and possibly some old sacks with which to cover the plant roots temporarily while they are out of the ground.
It is best not to lift more plants at once than can be replanted the same day, but in the case of a border which is to be completely remodelled it may be impossible to keep to this rule. If a large number of plants have to be lifted, therefore, they should be taken out, together with any soil that adheres round the roots in a ball, and laid on a vacant part of the garden with some moist soil thrown over the roots. If the garden is small, and there is no spare border available for treating the plants in this way, they can be laid on to the lawn, but it would be advisable in such a case to spread thick newspaper or sacks under the plants, so that the lawn does not get littered with loose stones and soil. As far as possible all the plant roots should be kept moist, and sheltered from frost during the time that they are out of the ground. If this is done it will not matter if the plants are not put back again for a week or two, though, as already stated, quick removal and replanting is the best.
The first step is to lift all the plants out of the soil and leave the border entirely bare. Next begin at one end by digging out a good wide trench, and taking the soil removed from it to the far end of the border where the digging will be completed. Break up the sub-soil with the large fork and turn the next width of soil over on to it. Keep raking back into the open trench any large stones or, so that as you proceed down the border the surface is left tidy, level, and ready for the reception of the plants. Lime should be dusted on the surface after digging, using from 4 to 8 oz. per square yard. Bone-meal, which is such a useful fertilizer in the mixed border, should be dug in at the late of 4 oz. to the square yard. The easiest way is to scatter the bone-meal over the soil surface before the digging is begun. In this way it will become mixed with the top soil. When the border has been completely dug the plants should be arranged according to plan.
It is in cases like these that a planting plan on paper is so useful, because it means that the plants can be much more quickly set out in their positions. As soon as the border is prepared they will be replanted just as in the case of a new border. Any plants that are known to be worthless varieties can be scrapped. It takes as much garden labour and fertilizer to grow inferior varieties as to grow good ones.
As an example of the use of variousof different sizes and colours in a mixed border, here is a list of plants which were successfully used in a border 8 ft. wide:
BACK ROW: Aster, Verbascum, Hollyhock, Heleni,max., Solidago, Rudbeckia.
SECOND ROW: Flag Irises,, Doronicums, Lupins, Sidalceas.
THIRD ROW: Oriental Poppy, Pyrcthrum, Geranium ibericum, Anthe-mis tinctoria, Erigeron, Geum, Aquilegia.
FOURTH ROW (ie. edging the lawn or path):, Armeria, Pinks, Linum, Nepeta, Arabis, Aubrietia.