I recently took on a new commission to bring to life a neglected bed that hadn’t been dug or planted in for over 14 years. Knowing that the soil was of the heaviest of London clay’s.. I braced myself for the preparation that would be needed. Fortunately, I enlisted the help of my brother, also a professional Gardener, to undertake some of the digging out with me. Being unfit for purpose, there was absolutely no way I could plant anything in it as it was.

Our plan of action was to dig out the clay to fork depth and restore the bed back to vitality by adding horticultural grit, sand and organic compost. It took us three hours to dig out the clay and cut into it with the sand and grit to get a reasonable planting medium. To call it ‘soil’ would be overstating.. The aesthetically enhancing element was without doubt the Vital Earth organic compost, which, when raining down onto the bed was nothing but unadulterated pleasure to look at.. dark, woody and sumptuous. I think I’ve said in another blog somewhere that I love this compost and I even love the smell, it feels like it’s doing good the minute it’s out of the bag..

My client’s wishes for the renovated bed were for it to need minimal upkeep, provide floral colour and not to fall into the garden path which the bed runs parallel to. As I said to my client, Barry, “I love a challenge” and so I set about pulling together a plants list to fit his wishes. Delightedly and with more than a large scoop of humour I decided to put Alliums in the mix, laughing to myself as I had the idea.. because, well, I am essentially planting onions for a man who sells them for a living..

The plants list
Allium nigrum
Allium sphaerocephalon
Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’
Cosmos astrosanguinius ‘Chocolate’
Gaura ‘Gambit White’
Monarda ‘Cambridge Scarlet’
Scabiosa columbaria ‘Butterfly Blue’
Schizostylis coccinea ‘Major’

Most of the plants have an upright and linear form which work beutifully together and will be fronted by a series of Buxus sempervirens ‘Suffruticosa’ (Box) to give a clean formal edge to the bed. I shall go back in the autumn to mulch the plants / bulbs and trim the Box to shape. Planting gets finished this week, delayed due too much summer rain! I shall post more photos of the finished bed later this week… weather permitting!

If you would like to talk with me about a new planting scheme in your garden, please do feel free to get in touch, my email is judi@judithegardener.co.uk. For gardening maintenance enquiries (North-East London, Essex, Hertfordshire and Enfield) please telephone 07818 005773. Always happy to answer gardening questions if I can or steer you towards resources. Happy gardening!