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New to gardening

I'm wondering if any of you experienced gardeners may be able to help. We have recently moved into our first home and have two large borders to fill, both get sun all day. I would really like a colourful flowery border, cottage garden style, but would also like to make sure that there will also be enough going on to keep it interesting throughout the year. Would you be able to recommend some plants that would fit the bill?

I also have no idea really of how many plants to buy to fill the space, should I go for more or less? I know they will establish over time but I don't want to have to wait too long to see my results.


lucy :)


  • ButtercupdaysButtercupdays Posts: 4,501

    There are two ways to tackle this. You  might enjoy the research and have fun looking up evergreen perennials or winter flowering shrubs or anything else you feel you need. This is a good way to find out if the plants you like will also provide enough long lasting interest or grow well in your conditions.

    You can also ask questions on this forum if you need more information. For instance: peony flowers only last a short time, though they are glorious when they bloom, but they also have lovely red leaf buds early on and attractive foliage all summer, so might still find a place in your border if you have enough room,as they make large plants.You have to decide if it is worth it.

    The other way may be easier if (and only if!) you have a good garden centre you can visit. They will display plants appropriate to each season, so if you make visits throughout the year you will gradually acquire plants that cover the whole time span. It is hard not to be tempted though, so it may prove expensive, and you will need to read labels carefully, so you know  you are getting what you need.

    Herbaceous perennials give great impact from spring onwards and some continue well into autumn, but most make little or no winter contibrution, though some have good structure or seedheads that persist unless flattened by the weather.

    For winter you need some structure and some evergreen foliage.

    The structure can be from design elements like hard landscaping or hedging , from plants, like tree  and stem silhouettes  and from things such as a statue or urn, topiary, or an eyecatching specimen.  

    The foliage can be from trees, shrubs or perennials such as Heucheras, some hardty geraniums, Lavender, Rosemany and. some grasses.

    To this you then add early flowering plants and bulbs.

    Some varieties of snowdrop and Hellebore begin flowering in November, and there are winter flowering shrubs and winter berries too.

    There are many more bulbs that flower in spring and early perennials such as Pulmonaria and Primulas and once you get to early summer you are overwhelmed by choices!

    You can also add annuals and summer bedding plants for extra colour. Some annuals and perennials flower later than others and these will take you almost  up to the time when your early winter flowers start.image

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