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My rainbow border

josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
I've mentioned my rainbow border a propos on other threads, now I'm just interested to know if anyone else has the same or similar?

Three years ago I built raised beds in the back garden for the veg, thus freeing up the long border in the front garden which I'd been using as a veg plot.  I wanted some sort of themed planting in the border, rather than just a random assortment of things I like.  After some thought I came up with the idea of a rainbow, zoned by flower colour.

The border is 39 feet long, ten feet wide at the street end, tapering to six feet at the house end.  It is bounded at the back by a white-painted wall.  Part way along is an elder which is neither a bush nor a tree but something in between, and further along, a beech, which is probably too big a tree for an urban house garden, but it came with the house and I love it.

From the street to the elder, I've planted red flowers, between the trees, orange and yellow.  Around the beech tree I'm trying to create a semblance of woodland glade, I've "planted" four tree branches (from conifers I'd had felled) around it and planted ferns, ivy, wood anemones and garlic mustard.  Then there's a strip of native bluebells, and beyond that the flowers are all blue and purple.

There's still some re-arranging to do, but in this its second summer, the results are encouraging.


  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,797
    I'd like to see pictures!
    I have a border which is mainly yellows, reds and oranges and another which tends a little more to the purples, blues and pinks, so I suppose if you put them together they might be a bit rainbow-like. But they are small.
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • NollieNollie Girona, Catalunya, Northen Spain.Posts: 5,565
    I have seen the rainbow effect in a grand house with an enormous herbaceous border on telly, but can’t remember where, sorry. 

    Not rainbow, but my main back garden border is purple, orange and red (in theory, but a few red roses are more pink and some oranges a bit peachy), plus a secondary border opposite it is orange and yellow. Both are still fairly new and still in the re-arranging-adjustment phase!

    Love to see the development pics of yours, warts and all are really helpful!
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532

    As requested, before and after pictures.  The middle section has been great, these pictures were taken as the tulips were going over and the marigolds and Welsh poppies were getting into their stride.  The red zone still has lots of gaps and the green and blue sections look scruffy.  I'll take pix of them when it stops raining.  Pity the rain butt is such an eyesore, but it takes the rain off the neighbours' roof and I can't expect them to relocate their down pipe.  At least it's green and in the green zone.  I'm hoping I can get ivy to stick to it.

    The wooden fence at the street end has been replaced with a row of big rough stones, local limestone.  Behind those I planted a row of red-flowered chaenomeles, but I think I've lost all but one of those.  Probably should have watered them more in February when it didn't rain for weeks.

  • Busy-LizzieBusy-Lizzie Posts: 18,382
    That's lovely. I love before and after photos.
    Dordogne and Norfolk
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,216
    So do I. That looks very good @josusa47. One idea to disguise the water butt would be to wrap a roll of brushwood or bamboo round it which I've done for a water butt in my front garden. On another, I planted euronymus 'Emerald Gaiety' 
    (the green/cream one) in front. As it grows, it 'leans' against the butt which helps to hide it
  • LG_LG_ gardens in SE LondonPosts: 3,797
    Thank you @josusa47
    'If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.'
    - Cicero
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,216
    I've just remembered the famous 'rainbow' garden. It was at Hadspen House in Dorset with Jan and Nori Pope? Probably back in the 80's/90's. A circular walled garden if I remember rightly with a spectacular coloured border round it. I only went there once with my mum but have never forgotten it.  Unfortunately the subsequent owners/ gardeners made headlines when they ripped it all out. 
  • josusa47josusa47 Posts: 3,532
    I've done a fair bit of ripping out in the five years I've had this garden.  I think the people who had it before were "low maintenance" enthusiasts, fair enough, they worked full time, and I had a lot of massive shrubs removed.  Ironically, the people before that were the family that run a local nursery (plants not babies), and they had covered half the back garden with concrete. :s
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 7,724
    That looks lovelly, I have a similar sort of "thing" going on in my big border, drifts of different colours,will have to get my daughter to take some pictures.  I think you mention the word "nursery" on here Josus we all think of plants not babies.  Did I see on another thread you were in your 60s, I got it into my head you were in your 30s.
  • Lizzie27Lizzie27 SomersetPosts: 9,216
    We had nearly the same experience @josusa47 when we moved here. The previous owners had been nursery folk, but mainly for vegetables and bedding but this garden was practically a blank canvas. All it had in it of note were some old hydrangeas, a young magnolia being very leaned on by a thick hedge, a Spanish broom and the forsythia I'm currently battling to remove. It's about a third of an acre and it was empty! To be fair, I think the owners were so busy running their business, they had no time to garden here. Great news for me though.
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