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What to plant this year in my flower border?

herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
I am trying to grow more flowers and started a border a few years ago. I buy a couple of new flowers each year at Hampton but fear that will not be possible this year so was wondering what next?

The border is south facing at the foot of my neighbours beech hedge with very poor soil which I am gradually improving. I have been buying light coloured flowers to brighten this edge with a few darker ones for variety.

I have:
1. A lovely deep purple hellebore for winter which looks great behind the primroses for spring.
2. The nigella looks lovely through summer and keeps coming back every year.
3. Last year I bought 2 white gaura (although one mysteriously disappeared leaving just a hole) which I am planning on propagating.
4. A purple sage which I use for cuttings for the herb garden.
5. Lovely deep red sedum (or whatever it is now called) which is great in the autumn and into winter.

I am looking for another light coloured perennial that will flower in/from May to fill a couple of gaps between the sedum and the sage. Nothing too invasive but maybe something I could take cuttings from. Any ideas? The more bomb proof the better as I am still getting the hang of flowers and they sometimes suffer for it!

"The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett

Posts

  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Not sure with the gap size, but if you have large enough gaps, Sisyrinchium Stratium would be a welcome change to leaf form. Anthemis Tinctoria 'Sauce Hollandaise' starts flowering mid-May onwards, also should do well in that situation. Baptisia Australis 'Alba' has lovely leaves and after flowering, the seed-pods slowly dry up to form further interest into the autumn months. Sometimes used for dry flower arrangements.
  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
    Thank you @Borderline some lovely suggestions and I really like the Sisyrinchium Stratium. Checked some plant websites and they all say well drained soil though and mine very much not! The plants I have are the ones that survived the beech sucking them dry and long hot summers where I had to trickle water over a period of time as otherwise it just ran off.

    I am also tempted by the 
    Baptisia Australis 'Alba' a lovely looking plant and I enjoy the sedum over winter so the seed heads are a bonus. Would it manage in a hot border on clay do you think?

    I might just risk it, maybe get one of each and see how they go. The gaps are about 20cm diameter so should be OK I think.


    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    I think it is worth a risk with the Sisyrinchium. You just need to improve the soil and it  sounds like you are doing that already. It's quite an adaptable plant. But you mention 20cm so that is quite small. Both of those plants will grow quite wide eventually. There are plants that can do well in your situation, but you said you were looking for a more earlier summer start, and they do start earlier than most other perennials. However, the 20cm diameter comment makes me think it's better to go for a more lower growing plant.
  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
    I can increase the gap by culling some of the sedum and it would be lovely to have something in flower earlier on at that end. The hellebores are lovely and are only just going over, they are at the other end (right hand as you look at the pic) so I can see them from the house. By May I'm outside a lot more.

    The sedum is there to hide the hole in the fence that the local fox uses so I could thin it a bit and move the sage along. Would 60cm be sensible? RHS says 2-5 years for height but doesn't mention spread, I'm assuming they increase together?
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Yes 60cm would be fine. They are not aggressive spreaders, but in time will need dividing every 3 years. It’s always good to have early summer perennials, and mix that with later flowering plants.
  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
    Thank you so much @Borderline I think I have a plan!  I'm so rubbish with flowers and don't have much confidence with them but I feel good about this - roll on freedom to roam a GC or flower show eh?
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
  • BorderlineBorderline Posts: 4,700
    Good luck with it. I hope you can source them and they thrive there!
  • herbaceousherbaceous Posts: 2,318
    I will post a picture next year @Borderline which might be a lovely flowering plant or a patch of bare earth - I just don't know.
    "The trouble with having an open mind, of course, is that people will insist on coming along and trying to put things in it."  Sir Terry Pratchett
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