in a garden is that some plants do really well and some fail. The failures disappear and those that thrive begin to take over. I’m a lazy gardener and it often suits me that the garden is just full of something (other than weeds). However, there gets a point when 1) the thriving plants get so big and congested they stop flowering. 2)You start to get fed up with seeing the same old plants popping up everywhere. I think left to it’s own devices my garden would eventually become nothing but Stipa tenuissima, Anemone Honorine Jobert and Aqueligia as these just self seed every and any where.
Digging up a border wholesale and replanting can be a very rewarding thing to do to a bed that is looking tired, full of a few thuggish plants and messy really from the start of the year to the end. It sounds dramatic but it can easily be done in stages and the results will be wonderful. It allows you to reassess what is actually there that you like and in the quantity you like. redoing the border by the kitchen window I must have taken out a wheel barrow’s worth of Stipa. It also means you get to grips with the weeds that have long tap roots or those that have entwined themselves in shrubs or larger perennials.
It is worth being ruthless. Often the garden is full of plants that are acceptable because they full a space but not really loved. Be brave and allow big gaps so that you have room to try some new plants. This need not be too expensive. Perhaps if a friend/neighbour is doing something similar you could swap plants or try growing easy things from seed.
When to do it: March – when the likelihood of frost is past