One of the good things that resulted from Scottish COVID 19 being completely blocked for 14 weeks was our local council’s decision to remove the maintenance of the roadsides that are usually planted with annual bedding. The council contacted the Dollar Horticultural Society with an offer to either graze across the border at the end of our street or to put their care in the hands of the community. Well, that wasn’t a difficult decision! This particular border is on the main street through dollars and is perfectly positioned to delight residents and passers-by.
The remains of winter bedding look rather sad in early May 2020
I was contacted by a member of the Dollar Horticultural Society (and my neighbor) to see if I wanted to design a planting scheme that would stand the test of time and be relatively easy to maintain, which I really enjoyed doing!
The first task was to choose a planting style – not so high as to obstruct the line of sight for traffic entering and leaving the street. visually interesting throughout the year and with seasonal changes; good for bees and other useful insects; No requirement to stake out plants in a sunny but exposed location. My recommendations for a mixture of ornamental grasses and robust perennials, supplemented by spring and early summer bulbs, were quickly accepted and planning started. We worked on a tight budget – some funds were pledged by the council, but additional plant costs would have to be paid locally. In the end, all the neighbors got involved, I donated my expertise free of charge and we were able to afford the preferred planting scheme.
The plants were delivered by Macplants, a pretty nursery in East Lothian with a large selection of interesting herbaceous grasses, and I was happy to have a reason to travel to pick them up! A few weeks later, the plant gathering trip is still the longest trip I’ve done in 14 weeks!
The border was planted on June 12 with the help of two socially distant members of the Dollar Horticultural Society. It was a warm, windy day and I had to rescue plant pots that had blown across the main street several times! The plants were “puddled” (ie planted in a hole full of water) to counteract the dry conditions and watered several times during the next dry week. Then the rainy weather began, which is ideal for newly planted borders!
Three weeks later, when weeds sprouted on every inch of bare soil, I was able to use my hoe to remove it! Over time, the plants will spread out and some will sow so the weeds don’t look into it much, but in the meantime I’m more than happy to get a regular hoe exercise.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’, Aruncus ‘Horatio’, Alchemilla mollis and Sanguisorba ‘Pink Tanna’ bloom in early July
Stachys macrantha ‘Rosea’ with a very happy bumblebee
The new planting was well received and is already full of bees and hoverflies. Which light bulbs should I add in the fall?
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