6 out of 10

Terraces 001 Wm


Had a good long look at the terraced border this weekend.

It’s not bad for a first attempt, but could do better.


Terraces 002 Wm


By my reckoning, there are three areas that need addressing:

Some of the plants are too tall for the space. Like the dark pink astilbes. As soon as they finish flowering I’ll chop them back and shift them up to the Precipitous Bank. Their proportions will be better suited up there.

Second, the border is flagging already. The hot weather hasn’t helped, but it’s in need of a few plants that will look fresh now and go on to extend the season.

Finally, the colour scheme was intended to be pink/purple, white and blue. It’s somewhat lacking in the blue. Once you have orange crocosmia, it would seem, you may have it forever. The middle level was completely choc a bloc with the stuff and I thought I had cleared it all out. Obviously not.

A border this close to the house should always impress. So I’ve decided to pick up on an idea from Jo at The Good Life. It’s simple and effective. Jo aims to visit a plant nursery every month of the year and pick out something that provides interest there and then.


This time around though there would need to be rules. Uncompromising rules. Any plant purchased to be less than 50 cms in height. And blue.


Lavandula angustifolia 'Elegance Purple' Wm


Lavandula angustifolia ‘Elegance Purple’

A dwarf variety. 30 cms.


Verbena rigida 001 Wm


 Verbena rigida

45 cms


Ajuga reptans 'Burgundy Glow' 001 Wm


 Ajuga reptans ‘Burgundy Glow’

10 cms


Eryngium Blue Hobbit 001 Wm


 Eryngium ‘Blue Hobbit’

30 cms


Echinacea Tomato Soup 001 Wm


 Echinacea ‘Tomato Soup’

80 cms


Errr ..

It’ll find a home. Somewhere.


2017-12-01T17:32:47+00:00August 4th, 2013|Tags: |


  1. My Life In Sweden August 4, 2013 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    Wow! You have such an amazing garden! So pretty, vibrant, colorful and neat. Great job! 🙂

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:36 pm - Reply

      Thanks Alex. Thank goodness the long shots hide the weeds!

  2. Pauline August 4, 2013 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    I like it Jessica, but then we are so critical of our own gardens aren’t we? I see the weeds here, others see the flowers! I like your choice of blue flowers, they will all look lovely, and your last photo, maybe this is the one to break your rule of blue, under 50 cms!

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm - Reply

      I think being self critical comes with the territory of being a gardener Pauline, it’s what keeps our gardens getting better year by year.

  3. Denise August 4, 2013 at 2:54 pm - Reply

    Wow to the echinacea! I’d pop it in with the blues, just to get the ‘WOW!’ reaction! A good tip, though, from Jo.

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      It’s gorgeous isn’t it? Love at first sight. I’ll put it up on the bank, with some blues for company perhaps!

  4. Justine August 4, 2013 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    I love how that bed looks so well established.

    We have the crocosmia issue. That and Japanese anenomes. We’re also going for the blue, pink, purple, white theme, but it does mean done plants are for the chop.

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:47 pm - Reply

      The bed is a mixture of inherited plants and new, so it does look quite mature already. I like the process of tinkering to get the combinations right. But the biggest part of the learning curve is dealing with the different levels and respective plant heights. A few years of tinkering still to come methinks.

  5. countrysidetales August 4, 2013 at 3:28 pm - Reply

    I think you’re being too hard on yourself, it looks smashing, but as Pauline says we are all too critical of our own efforts, plus it is so lovely to have an area of the garden to work on. Love all the new plants and the contrast with the orange one is fab.

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm - Reply

      The devil is in the detail, which doesn’t show up so well on the images. It’s very tempting to lob the orange one into the mix, but it will create quite a splash on the bank too… certainly draw the eye! Thanks CT.

  6. Marian August 4, 2013 at 3:30 pm - Reply

    Great new purchases. Especially love the Eryngium, wonderful colours, but I always thought that grew much larger, must be a special kind, lovely nam as well ‘blue hobbit’.
    Finally I must say, your terraced border doesn’t really look that bad to me.

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 6:57 pm - Reply

      I bought an Eryngium last year that came with no indication of height on the label. It just about shows up in the second photo, towering up at the front of the bottom bed. This one, I am assured (!) is a dwarf variety. The original will get shifted elsewhere!

  7. Chel C August 4, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    Wow! I have just stumbled across your blog and glad I did. Your photos are amazing of the work that you have already done. We are always critical when it comes to ourselves but for someone coming in and seeing this for the first time, it truly looks amazing.

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 7:05 pm - Reply

      Hi Chel, thank you and welcome to rusty duck.
      We are doing something similar to what you did with your thatched cottage and garden. Hard work isn’t it!

  8. Rosie August 4, 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Lovely border and super new plants – we have such a lot of crocosmia and like you thought we had dug out a lot of it! That along with the yellow loosestrife are taking over at the moment:)

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 7:09 pm - Reply

      It’s those little bulbs it grows from.. leave one behind and it’s back! It must have been growing intertwined with Iris sibirica. When the leaves came up in Spring they were almost identical.. it’s only now that the brute has made itself apparent.

  9. snowbird August 4, 2013 at 7:02 pm - Reply

    Hahahaha….I loved the ending!!!

    Your borders do look great but the extra blue really will look fab! Orange crocosmia…..that plant is the bane of my life, it’s trying to take over the garden and is impossible to lose. It is a lovely bright plant though.xxxx

    • Jessica August 4, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

      At first I carefully replanted it in other spots around the garden. Now there is so much of it I am throwing it out!
      The red crocosmia, Lucifer, is to my mind more spectacular and far less invasive. So far anyway..

  10. Crafty Gardener August 5, 2013 at 12:01 am - Reply

    All the hard work you put into the terraced garden is paying off .. it looks amazing.
    I haven’t been around the computer much lately, have family with 2 cute grandkids visiting so they are getting all the photo time instead of the garden 🙂

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Thanks. Enjoy your time with your family!

  11. Suzanne Dutchess County, NY, USA August 5, 2013 at 2:25 am - Reply

    It is coming along. Your at the point now where you’ve got it under control , kept some of the original plants hoping they would all play nice together. Now it’s edit time. The fun part. I like the idea about shopping for plants and buying what’s in bloom each month. Sometimes the plants are brought in to the nurseries from other areas and bloom earlier than they normally would. Taking photos at other gardens in your area if possible a good idea. Seeing them growing in the garden is a better indicator or height and width once planted. Plants at the nursery are usually a bit leggy from being grown in pots.
    Late blooming low blue plants like gentian and the dwarf platycodon are nice. Perhaps some blue foliage sedums?

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 11:08 am - Reply

      Editing is the fun part!
      That’s a good tip re nurseries bringing in stock from elsewhere. I love visiting local gardens and must carve out the time to do more of it. Gentian is a great idea. It would be very happy here today, they don’t mind the wet!

  12. CJ August 5, 2013 at 7:29 am - Reply

    What a wonderful space you have there, and so many fantastic plants. And that echinacea is amazing, it would have come home with me too I think! I’m hopeless at garden design, so I don’t have any tips I’m afraid. Except to say don’t forget to spend some time sitting on those lovely benches just soaking it all up!

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

      The echinacea is a superb colour. Even more intense than in the photo, if anything. Looking forward to having a good strong clump of it!

      • CJ August 6, 2013 at 7:39 am - Reply

        I forgot to mention that I’ve nominated you for a Liebster Award. Apologies if you’d rather not take part, but I just wanted to say how very much I enjoy your blog.

        • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 10:05 am - Reply

          I’m genuinely touched by the nomination, and your kind comment. As a rule I don’t tend to take part, just because it is so very time consuming. I’ve emailed you by way of apology, hope that’s OK. Thank you so much CJ. Jx

  13. Pats. August 5, 2013 at 8:38 am - Reply

    Well I think it’s gorgeous and you’re being far too critical with yourself….how about a slide down the slope with a watersplash at the bottom, to be taken daily at 7a.m…..that’d get you going!!!

    Happy pottering.

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 11:16 am - Reply

      It has been raining solidly for the last 24 hours… even the short walk to the greenhouse will provide the watersplash today! Thanks Pats. 🙂

  14. Simone August 5, 2013 at 11:13 am - Reply

    I think your terrace looks fantastic. I have an orange crocosmia but it failed to flower this year. I really need an Eryngium too! Don’t forget to take cuttings of non flowering shoots from your new plants and then you will have loads more to fill the border!!! x

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 11:20 am - Reply

      Thanks Simone.
      Your crocosmia may yet flower, especially if it’s in a shadier spot.. some of mine are only just starting.

  15. Linda August 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    I’ve been taking out lots of plants that have overwhelmed our small (English) garden or plan to move them. My husband, being the veggie grower, likes to pop his plants in here and there so some of my plans do not happen! I suppose ours is a cottage garden.Your terrace is lovely and I can understand why you got the ‘Tomato Soup’ echinacea. Gorgeous colour.

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 12:28 pm - Reply

      I hate having to remove plants, unless I have somewhere else to put them, but sometimes there is no choice!

  16. Anne @GtSlamseysFarm August 5, 2013 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    I like the drifts of plants and different heights in the border and I agree that you’re being hard on yourself. I photographed my border one summer with thoughts of studying it over the winter to improve it with new planting but in the photo it looked much better than reality and I convinced myself nothing needed doing to it – until the following summer.

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 9:23 pm - Reply

      I like the drifts, and the different heights. It’s just that some of the plants have assumed giant sized proportions. But I’ll enjoy tinkering with it to get it right. Taking photos is a good idea!

  17. Jo August 5, 2013 at 2:34 pm - Reply

    Thank you for the link. I have to mention though that the idea to visit a nursery each month of the year and buy something in flower came from Geoff Hamilton, always full of great advice, he’s missed by many gardeners. It will be fun seeing what you purchase, I wonder if we’ll come back with anything the same. I love that verbena, and the echinacea is stunning, such a wonderful name for it too.

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 9:28 pm - Reply

      I bet we do end up with the same thing sooner or later. Especially in the cold dark days of winter when the choices will be limited to say the least!

  18. frayed at the edge August 5, 2013 at 7:22 pm - Reply

    It looks good to me – I think you are beinng too critical!! I like the idea of plant buying each month – I was a great fan of Geoff Hamilton and his style of gardening.

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 9:35 pm - Reply

      OK, 7 out of 10. As it’s a new garden. But that’s as far as I’m going..

  19. BadPenny August 5, 2013 at 8:02 pm - Reply

    Some lovely plants here. I have some too tall plants overshadowing others & just recently extended the planting so now they have something in front of them ….and so it goes on !

    • Jessica August 5, 2013 at 9:37 pm - Reply

      For some reason I can never fathom, plants always grow taller than I expect. What happens when you run out of lawn?

  20. Wendy August 5, 2013 at 10:55 pm - Reply

    Your border is looking terrific but I understand wanting to freshen up a garden up this time of year (especially after the all the heat we’ve had). I think I’ll be using up several months’ visits to nurseries this week alone; my village nursery is (sadly) having to close – and for this week only all the plants are being sold off very cheaply.

    • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

      It is really sad to see a plant nursery having to close. I much prefer them to the big garden centres and there are few enough left. A good opportunity though.. Get in there while you can!

  21. colleen August 6, 2013 at 9:58 am - Reply

    Cobalt blue and tomato red. Next sewing project…

    • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 10:10 am - Reply

      They are brilliant together aren’t they? They’ve been sitting on the patio awaiting planting and the more I look at it the more I realise it has to be done. Just not in the pink garden..

  22. Natalie August 6, 2013 at 11:25 am - Reply

    I have that “tomato soup” cone flower and I just LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

    Your garden is lovely!

    • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 9:21 pm - Reply

      A new flower has just unfurled. It’s quite a powerful colour. Will need careful placing, but it should look great!

      • Natalie August 13, 2013 at 1:23 pm - Reply

        I have one of mine next to a sort of lime-green hosta. I love that combo but it’s quite bold!

        • Jessica August 13, 2013 at 2:23 pm - Reply

          I just planted it yesterday. A hosta would go well there too, thanks for the idea! Bold is good, especially in a large area where you need something to draw the eye.

  23. Plantaliscious August 6, 2013 at 11:26 am - Reply

    I think I am in love with “Tomato Soup”, which is doomed, as I don’t have anywhere it will fit in. All those blues will look lovely with the alchemilla mollis. I just got free seed for “hobbit”, so I hope I manage to get it to germinate, what a smashing little plant. As for getting rid of crocosmia, well, good luck. I thought I had done a really good job of digging it out of my front garden, but it keeps popping up again and laughing at me.

    • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 9:26 pm - Reply

      I’ve spent all day on the crocosmia, winkling it out and replanting it on the bank. Can’t help feeling I’ll be doing it all again next year..

  24. elaine August 6, 2013 at 5:18 pm - Reply

    Lovely border – but you know I quite like the pops of colour – stops it from being boring. And that Echinacea – wow – it would look great in my hot border.

    • Jessica August 6, 2013 at 9:33 pm - Reply

      There’s a lipstick pink azalea in there. My first thought was to have it out, but it certainly provided a pop in Spring. So it’s got a stay until next year and see how I feel about it then.

  25. woolythymes August 7, 2013 at 10:13 am - Reply

    from my vantage point, this garden looks like perfection itself!! But I do love the idea of monthly adding something to spiff it up. I know I tend to plant and then forget—-don’t all plants that look wonderful in May look great in the heat of August??? (hee, hee—i’m just glad you can’t see the mess that was once a garden at my house!)

    • Jessica August 7, 2013 at 5:59 pm - Reply

      You’ve been away, you have an excuse! I’ve always wanted a garden that looked good all year round but it’s a difficult thing to achieve. It will be an interesting experiment.

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