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Hi I have requested to plant a border at a local school and would appreciate some advice on the use of the following as set out by the head teacher, these are some of her likes:-
and these are some of my recommendations:-
Baring in mind that she wants to be able to look out of her office window and still be able to keep an eye on the scholars in the gardens.
Acid or alkaline soil?
There are quite a few acid lovers in there, where are you?
I tested the soil last week and all came up Neutral, hence the reason I have put up this post.
Bare in mind that they need to grow alongside some Roses and behind a Box hedge approx 30cm tall.
I prefer your choices.
Roses for a school?
The Head is a little excentric if we can call it that, any other suggestions which will go well with my choices, was thinking of Photinia 'Red Robin' for colour.
I like Hebes, but how about Viburnums, Ceanothus.
Does it have to be all shrubs?
Preferably and she also wants some ground cover was thinking
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Please bear in mind the students at the school. I recently offered some plants to the infant/junior school where my son goes to nursery, and they have to be very careful what they plant, as anything that is remotely poisonous is not allowed, so that rules out things like foxgloves, lupins etc. I would use google or something like that to check the toxicity of anything that goes in there. Not so much of a problem if the students are older, but they might still 'dare' each other to eat bits of plants, so better to be safe than sorry. I'd also give roses a miss, as most varieties have thorns, and we now live in a litigious society, I wouldn't want to see the school in court if little Johnnie or Janie fell into them and emerged with scratches. Sorry to put a damper on things, but you have to be really careful where children are concerned (my husband used to be a teacher so I know some of the ridiculous hoops they have to jump through for safeguarding).
Thanks all for the bits and bobs of advice. The school caters for boys aged 11 upwards and currently has some of the plants mentioned by Julie Stakes in the Heads garden area which is a main throughfare for visitors and students alike.
This is my first school contract and thus far they are overwhelmed with what we have done at the school but I am very wary about the Litigious society we now live in and this is why I seek advice on some shrubs that would blend in well as a herbacious border and still not make the current roses etc look out of place.
The plants you mention are mainly shrubs rather than herbaceous plants (which die back in winter and regrow in spring/summer). There's a lot to be said for a shrubby border, as it can give year-round interest and colour and needn't take much maintenance. I like the ones you've mentioned already (although I have misgivings about roses, which can be a nuisance to look after). You might consider adding Cistus, Euoynmus, Berberis, Pyracanthus, Fatsia, and Hydrangeas. A black-leaved Elder could look good, and there's always good old flowering currant and Buddleia if you want some to grow fast.
I would avoid (if it wasn't already too late in the case of our garden) the more rampant cotoneasters and also Pernettya, which straggles around and puts out messy runners all over the place.
Precise plant choices may depend on the aspect and altitude of the garden and possibly where you are in the country. Inland Somerset will be very different from exposed coastal Lancashire.
Thanks to all for your help and advice, I am happy to confirm that we have made a decission on a planting scheme and will begin with the flower beds during the summer holidays, having the gardens ready for the start of the new school year in September.