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Ideas for a dry sandy stony border

Hi all you experts!
I've just cleared an area that used to be part of the lawn, and I'm looking for some ideas of what to grow there.
The soil is dry, sandy and pebbly and dries out after a few days without rain (although I will be adding 3 bags of farmyard manure and a bin full of homemade compost), and it gets sun until mid-late afternoon this time of the year (later in summer).
I have some shrubby salvias, and I'm thinking maybe eryngiums, verbascums, sedums (hylo..something-or-other), maybe lavender. Whites and pale colours look good against the dark hedge.  Any other ideas? I prefer herbaceous and small shrubs, but I'm not too keen on ornamental grasses.
Here's the area pics taken facing North-ish, one from each side of the "lawn" (recently scarified and overseeded so looks a mess at the moment).

Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained


  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Lovely shape border there. I recommend Anthemis Tinctoria EC Buxton or Sauce Hollandaise. Tough plant that needs no staking. Coreopsis Verticillata Moonbeam will also do well in those conditions.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,562
    Thanks Borderline!
    I've had Coreopsis Moonbeam before (in a different part of the garden that has slightly less dry soil) and it only lasted a couple of years before the hard winter of 2009/10 put an end to it.  I might give it another go though - it's really pretty.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • I love Moonbeam, but I don't find any of the coreopsis reliable here. Moonbeam has so many flowers though that it is worth it even for one season :)
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,562
    Probably best to hold off buying any Moonbeam until spring then! I'm further East and lower altitude than you Buttercupdays (and maybe further South depending on where in the Pennines you are), so probably less cold and less wet in the winter, except when we get an Easterly blast off the North Sea, but it's still best to avoid Autumn planting for anything that's not bone-hardy.
    I'm off to Harrogate tomorrow for the Autumn flower show, so hopefully I'll get some inspiration (and just maybe some plants :)).

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    JennyJ, if it's quite wet in winter in your area, it is probably best to plant in the spring time for many things. You can store your purchases in a greenhouse or against a warm wall by your property.

    To be honest, you can grow many things, but it is all about what you like and the type of look. If that was my border, I would go for Caryopteris Clandonensis. It's a shrub but really treated like a perennial, where you can cut it down each spring. Flowers from late summer into Autumn and then decorative seedheads that can be left on or cut for dried flower arangements.

    A Nepeta can create a similar look but lower growing. Strappy leaves to contrast against mounds, Sisyrinchium Striatum. Knautia Macedonica to create airy height. Goes well against blues and pale yellows and whites. Finally, not to everyone's taste, but I like it, and don't find these plants as thugs, Centranthus Ruber and Linaria Purpurea Canon J Went.
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,562
    @Borderline, great minds think alike :D. I already have two different Caryopteris in the back garden (which has a blue and yellow theme, mostly) and all of the things in your last paragraph in various places around the garden! My knautia (both the red and the pastel mix), linaria (mostly purple but they occasionally throw a pale pink one) and Centranthus (pink/red and white) all self-seed very well. In fact that's the remains of a pale pink linaria growing out of the hedge bottom next to the mauve aster in my pictures. Perhaps I'll get the manure & compost in and then leave it until spring and see what appears.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,562
    Here it is this week (I posted this on another thread where someone was asking about planting on rubbish soil, but it'd be better here). It still needs work, but I'm quite pleased with it so far.

    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • GreenbirdGreenbird Posts: 237
    Turned out really nice. Love the depth of the border. 
  • Dirty HarryDirty Harry Posts: 1,047
    edited May 2020
    I do love a good before and after picture.

    Amazing how much a bed/border can come on in relatively little time.
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