I have a border about 6 feet wide and roughly 18 feet long. It has been established long before I arrived and includes hundreds of snowdrops, many perennials such as veronica, pelagoniums, london pride, sedums, comfrey etc etc , ferns and a few things I can't identify yet. There are also large shrubs, including a quince, an oak tree that has been pruned to a large shrub, a spiraea and a few other unknowns.
Some of the shrubs are now somewhat overgrown and/or too close together.The border is edged on one long side and one short side by a mix of fuchsia, mock orange, elder and cotoneaster.
I would like to decongest the border without destroying it's charm but don't know where or when to begin! The added problem is that the entire bed is matted with creeping buttercups which look lovely when in flower but on the other hand are a bit invasive!
If the bed and plants/shrubs were smaller my instinct would be to take everything out and clean the bed as much as possible of the buttercups then divide the perennials, space out and/or move a few of the shrubs to give everything more space, light and air - but - this would be a mammoth task and I don't know the best times to move each shrub.
So what do I do? Is the mammoth task the only option - if so when do I do it - or does anyone have any better ideas - bearing in mind the buttercups are already up and running!
I'm not keen on chemical solutions as I have a lot of wildl visitors and have free ranging hens and a dog.