This border which is in the middle of the garden does have that wow factor I seek, which is surprising really as it is a muddle of plants. I have just been out to count how many different things are in this bed which is about 6m x2m. NIneteen! Oh, twenty if I count the underplanting of daffodils!
A bit like clutter in the house it just creeps up on me - a self-sown seedling or three, a gift just popped in there for now, a reserve of something I didn't quite know what to do with yet, an impulse buy I didn't really have a plan for, some are so buried by more vigorous stuff the whole season goes by without me seeing them - none of these good reasons for keeping them!
Here is what I'll keep - Cornus controversa variegata (the horizontal shrub/tree) and the shrub rosa glauca, geranium psilostemnon, geranium 'Patricia', one good clump of alchemilla mollis, one plant of geranium Rozanne to continue the adjacent border, campanula lactiflora 'Anna Lodden'.
Here is what I will remove - Iris sibirica, aquilegia (Maybe. They are no work and don't crowd out other things), anemone japonica, pulmonaria 'Blue Ensign', Erysimum 'Bowles Mauve' (these last two were the ones which got buried), pink campion, angelica, a small geranium whose name I have forgotten, geranium praetense....
I'd like to plant more daffodil 'Thalia' in this bed. I shall just have to risk damaging existing bulbs when I plant them.
The plan is to cut everything hard back in autumn, lift them in spring - I may have a big plant sale! - and space the others well,. and mulch with composted bark.
A little pruning our of dead wood on the rose and cutting back the perennials late in the year should then be all that is required.
Are you making your garden lower maintenance, or is that not a priority for you just now?