Summer yellows. In front are the flat heads of yellow Achillea ‘Moonshine’ with a towering Verbascum species in the background > Blogs > In the Gardens > Sensational second season on the Broad Walk

Sensational second season on the Broad Walk

We think the Great Broad Walk Borders are magical and it seems that you agree with us but it isn't entirely by magic that they look that good.
21 June 2017
Blog team: 
Lucy Bell and Maija Ross

It is hard to believe that we only finished planting up the Broad Walk borders last spring. It is bursting with colour and buzzing with bees.

The Broad Walk team has been busy maintaining the borders to keep them looking good for our visitors. We closely monitor the Broad Walk for irrigation, dead heading and staking needs. Here’s a little of what we’ve been up to.

After the spring bulbs

We hope you enjoyed the waves of spring bulbs this year; starting with the Narcissi in late February into April, followed by a dazzling show of Tulipa, including the hugely popular rich red Tulipa 'Red Shine'. 

A frequent question about bulbs is do we leave them in the ground? We do! 

Once over we cut back flower stems to the base to prevent the plant spending energy on seed production. We leave the foliage to die away naturally; removing it only when it is yellow. This ensures that all the sun's energy is converted to food which is stored in the bulb for next year's display. The dying foliage can look ugly but is hidden in part by the surrounding plants.

Tulipa ‘Red Shine’

Tulipa 'Red Shine' 

Know your onions!

The Alliums started to flower in early May with A. 'Round and Purple' and A. 'Purple Rain' giving way to the huge heads of A. christophii and the stately A. 'Ambassador'. 

We are leaving some of the heads on for their ornamental appeal but removing stems of any that start to lean and flop over the emerging perennials. 

A. 'Red Mohican' has started flowering. The stems resemble a swan neck or, as a recent visitor commented, 'a shepherd's crook' until they straighten out and their wine red flower heads open. Look out for this intriguing beauty around the obelisks half way down the Broad Walk.

Allium 'Red Mohican'

Allium 'Red Mohican'

We like our stakes well done

In the last few weeks we have been making cages from hazel and erecting sturdy cornus fences around the taller perennials. 

In other spots we have put in single pea sticks to support flopping stems. These supports blend into the planting and are attractive. We aim to minimise staking, but we'll use our experience this season to inform our staking plan for next year and beyond.

Telekia speciosa with Heliopsis 'Summer Nights'

Telekia speciosa with Heliopsis 'Summer Nights'