Jo Arnell strips back the foliage to put in the groundwork for beautiful borders

When we look at a beautiful garden border, packed full of shapely shrubs and perennial colour it’s hard to imagine that they haven’t always been there and even harder to imagine that we could create such a thing in our own gardens. Few things (let’s make an exception for Mary Poppins and Father Christmas), appear fully formed and we all have to start somewhere. The soil is the best place to start, as this will dictate the basic growing conditions, but there are other considerations too and it pays to think about these before you start planting. It is daunting if you’re looking at a bare patch of earth right now, or worse; an inherited space filled with brambles and wayward bushes, but time and tide – and all those weeds – wait for no man, so grab your fork and spade and let’s get started.

Adding a mulch in spring will help the soil structure, conserve moisture and help to keep the weeds down

Adding a mulch in spring will help the soil structure, conserve moisture and help to keep the weeds down

A joyful jumble of cottage garden plants

A joyful jumble of cottage garden plants

A lovely combination of spring flowering plants beneath a canopy of trees and shrubs; Annual Cosmos ‘Purity’ is a great border filler

A lovely combination of spring flowering plants beneath a canopy of trees and shrubs; Annual Cosmos ‘Purity’ is a great border filler

A lovely combination of spring flowering plants beneath a canopy of trees and shrubs

A lovely combination of spring flowering plants beneath a canopy of trees and shrubs

(Instant) Climbers

Sue Whigham explores a need for speed...

A Courting Couple

The courtyard gardens at the Chelsea Flower Show this year were, as usual, incredibly popular with the public. Once the Show was in full swing it was hard to get near them to admire the sheer ingenuity, imagination and love...

A Garden for all Seasons

Follow Jo Arnell’s spring tips for a gorgeous garden all year round