Let it be…
Amateur Gardening|November 14, 2020
Don’t put the whole garden to bed in autumn, says Val
Val Bourne

I’ VE learnt a lot since I began making gardens some 50 years ago, and I cringe at some of my mistakes! I made a narrow crescent and planted 12 different hybrid tea roses in a variety of bilious colours. They were all different heights and they all flowered at slightly different times, so they looked awful. There was no space around them to plant anything except for an edging of white alyssum and blue lobelia. The alyssum and lobelia both packed up quickly, although there are better long-flowering lobelia to be had today.

It taught me that 12 of the same rose would have looked far better and never to plant upright hybrid teas in a narrow bed again. I also try to avoid pink and yellow, ever since I planted a golden leaved ivy with a cool-pink Clematis montana – a mistake that stared me in the face for several years before I finally moved house and left some other poor soul with it.

However, the one thing I have done well over the years is to put plants in the place where they’re happiest. Aromatic plants go in full sun, woodlanders get shade, and autumn grasses and taller perennials get afternoon sunshine. I have always avoided the border that gives you something throughout the year, because while something else is thriving another thing is going over.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AMATEUR GARDENINGView All

Learn from a top tipster

Here are my notes on the best veg for 2021, says Peter

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

What to plant for Peony perfection

The florists’ favourite offers high returns for very little in the way of care, and many add interest long after their flowering period. Louise Curley explores the different types

7 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

The heat is on…

Toby is keeping a close eye on a feisty horseradish – luckily, he knows how to keep this flavoursome firebrand in check

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Re-use potting compost

Transform your used, dry potting compost into a nutritious feast for new crops and blooms – Bob shows you how

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Tips and tricks for a New Year refresh

Sometimes a few simple updates are all it takes to revitalise the garden – and the good news is that January is an ideal time to make a start, so jump to it, says Hazel Sillver

5 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Keep up with winter tasks

Ruth stays busy and preserves her first lemon crop!

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

The aphid eaters

Val discovers a lot of hoverfly activity on her kale plants

3 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Keeping houseplants thriving

Keep your home greens in the pink this winter, says Ruth Hayes

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Doing an environmental audit

Taking stock of how ‘green’ your garden is can reveal a great deal, says Tim Rumball

5 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021

Best pruning for wisteria

Our old Wisteria sinensis took a hammering after a hard winter but has regrown valiantly. We need to do more training and pruning to fill the spaces where mature stems rotted at the base

2 mins read
Amateur Gardening
January 09, 2021