The Clock Border

Borders And Rockery

These are on the south side of the Hall below the terrace and south of the Tea Room in the East Quadrant. They are planted to flower mainly in the summer after Silverwood has quietened down and are meant to be at their best from late June, through July and into August.

They consist mainly of herbaceous perennials with a few shrubs, while the gaps are filled in with annuals such as cosmos and tobacco plants. They are full of geraniums, mallows, lupins, delphiniums, and poppies etc., while below the top terrace the roses are edged with giant catmint. Roses at Howick are often surprisingly temperamental due to our cool summer and we have to be selective; ‘Golden Celebration’, 'Mary Rose', ‘Frensham’, ‘Deep Secret’, 'Winchester Cathedral', and ‘Perdita’ are all planted below the first terrace, while ‘New Dawn’ is below the yew hedge west of the goldfish pond.

On either side of the main terrace steps are fine old plants of Choisya ternata from Mexico and Carpenteria californica from California, both with white flowers in June and July respectively.

The Clock Border on the south side of the Tea Room and the East Wing was completely replanted in 2005. It was fallowed in 2004 to get rid of bindweed and ground elder, both of which had taken over. The planting scheme includes climbers on the walls, a few flowering shrubs, and a lot of later herbaceous perennials to give a good show from late July onwards, with astilbe, veronicastrum, day lilies, sidalcea, kitaibela, hosta, eryngium, and romneya etc. A variety of annuals of all sizes is used to fill the gaps in the early years until the border matures.

The rockery has also been replanted in recent years. Because there is so much out at Howick in the spring, we have concentrated more on summer alpines. The upper half has species tulips and other spring bulbs, while the lower half is devoted almost entirely to later alpine and herbaceous plants. A scree-type mound in the middle accommodates some of the high altitude alpines, while around the base of a large Atlantic cedar at the top, there are a number of succulents, particularly Sempervivens and Delosperma. There are campanulas, geraniums, erodiums, aciphyllas, autumn gentians, dwarf hostas and astilbes, alpine poppies, ferns, veronicas, and a white dwarf lily from Taiwan called Lilium formosanum var pricei; shrubs include low cistus, hebe, ceanothus, andromeda, and ledum.