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This border is one of Carole’s projects. It was started in1997 so it’s one of the more established areas in the garden. As its name suggests, this border isn’t allowed a holiday. Every day, year in, year out, it has to be looking good each month of the year, whether it be with flower, leaf colour or even beautiful, bare stem.

Carole has used shrubs, trees and bulbs so far, and it certainly works. Although the border doesn’t have the impact of the Sunshine Garden in July, or the Herbaceous Border through the summer, you can walk along the Calendar Border in the deepest darkest days of winter and find lots of interest. For instance, the mahonia will be in bud, the witch hazel flowering and the pinky white stems of the Rubus cockburnianus shining against the bark mulch. Meanwhile, both the herbaceous border and sunshine garden are bare at that time of year.

In spring the colour comes from the chaenomeles (flowering quince), ribes (flowering currant) and rhododendrons planted in the border. Come the summer and we have the laburnum for early colour and following it hebe, weigela and lavender to name a few. Its leaves and berries that provide the colourful display in autumn, Sorbus ‘Joseph Rock’ has bright golden berries, the Parrotia persica (Persian ironwood) with its glowing orange and gold leaves after the first frosts and the Euonymus alatus (Spindle Bush) whose seedpods turn the brightest, hottest pink in a good autumn.

Over the past few years, the Calendar Border has been going through a major revamp. During the autumn of 2006, all of the plants were assessed as whether to remove, transplant to another part of the garden or pot up to be re-introduced to the border in the spring. Once the plants were sorted out, the gardeners worked over the winter tilling the soil to get rid of the hard pan and adding lots of organic matter to refresh the soil.

In the spring of 2007, some of the original plants were put back into the border. Carole decided that any new plants for the border had to be either new to Beechgrove or new to the market. In fact, some of the new plants came all the way from Seattle, Washington in the U.S. Both the Amelanchier canadensis 'Rainbow Pillar' and Cornus kousa 'Galilean' made the long trip.  Their roots were pressure washed before shipping to ensure no pests or diseases were sent along with them. Since they were such special plants, Carole potted them up to allow the roots to bulk up before planting them in the border in the autumn of 2007.

After all the hard work of re-vamping the Calendar Border, it took quite a blow over the winter of 2007/2008 when rabbits got into the Beechgrove Garden. Many of the plants were damaged by the sneaky bunnies, but our gardeners managed to protect the plants before too much damage occured. However, the consequence was that many plants in the Calendar Border spent the 2008 season under wire netting.

The Calendar Border offers so much interest, and that will only become more apparent as the plants mature.

Some of Carole's favourite plants for seasonal interest include:

Spring
Rhododendron 'Creeping Jenny'
Salix weranii
Narcissus sp.

Summer
Rosa sp.
Phygelis 'Candy Drops Cream' and 'Candy Drops Salmon'
Physocarpus 'Summer Wine'

Autumn
Parotia persica
Pyracantha sp.
Hypericum sp.

Winter
Betula jacquemontii
Hamamelis sp.
Mahonia sp.