This is a perfect time of year to start planning new borders or altering existing ones.

It’s not just about creating a planting plan using plants that you know will survive in specific conditions, it is also about creating a design using a palette of colours, textures and shapes that flow together, it’s like painting with plants.

When I start on a plan, I have already noted the dimensions of the bed or borders to be planted and details such as their orientation to the sun, the soil structure (clay, loamy..) the pH and any other practical requirements.
But where I really start is in trying to picture the overall effect of what I’m trying to achieve. Inspiration is all around us here in the north of Scotland and can also be taken from the wide array of gardens belonging to the National Trust.

To create your plan, take a sheet of graph paper (1cm² representing 1 sq.metre) and mark out the dimensions
and shapes of the areas to be planted. Think of the final plan in layers, the first layer will provide the backbone of the border and continue adding in the layers right down to the edging plants at the front of the border. To assist, make a list in the margin of all the plants appropriate to the conditions/position and tick them off as you go. Consider how tall they will ultimately grow, how wide their spread, whether they provide a bloom or a berry and what time of year they do this.

Assuming the weather conditions are right and having ensured your borders are well prepared, set all of the plants out before planting. It is worth putting as much consideration into the space they will need to grow when setting them out as you did on your plan. Water plants well and then sit back and look forward to the fruits of your…planning!


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