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16 October 2014
Gardener's Corner

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Summer 2002
John Cushnie On...

Avenue Plants
1st November 2004

If you are going to be laid up the garden path then make sure it is planted to either side with interesting shrubs.

The entrance drive is the first impression visitors have of your property. Whether driving or walking it may not say much about your house but it will provide an insight into your gardening philosophy.

Avenue with TreesYou may opt for the leafy avenue with the overhanging branches of trees forming a tunnel or the double line of well spaced matching trees set back in the lawn, one row on either side of the sweeping approach.

Shorter drives are simpler and less expensive to landscape. Open lawn in view on either side is perfectly acceptable providing it is tidy and the grass is kept short. Naturalizing daffodils to form a border to the grass can be a mistake. They look fantastic in flower but the lawn becomes an unkempt meadow of long grass while you are waiting for their foliage to die down. If the leaves are removed by the lawn mower before they become yellow then the bulbs will be under nourished and may not flower the following year.

Evergreen AzaleaBordering one or both sides of the drive with plants increases the workload of weeding but a well designed planting scheme will offer interest and colour all year. Mixing shrubs, perennials and bulbs in a narrow bed that follows the line of the drive kerb will provide ever changing flower, leaf and berry.

A selection of flowering heathers including those with good leaf colour will make a fine carpet of colour. Adding an occasional well spaced hebe, evergreen azalea or dwarf conifer as dot plants will provide height.

Spacing is important and the plants should be set back from the edge to prevent them Heather: Ericaoverhanging the drive causing damage to the paintwork of passing vehicles. Close planting of shrubs will cause them to become one sided and unsightly. It is preferable to plant at the correct spacing filling the gaps in the short term with annuals or herbaceous perennials.

Bush roses in flower are a rewarding sight but for over half of the year they look dead.

Dwarf hedges of box or the less formal hedge of lavender can be used to good effect. If low hedges are kept clipped they give the impression of a ship-shape garden.

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