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Recommendations for getting colour going in new borders?

Hi everyone, I am fairly new to this wonderful world of gardening so apologies if I am asking the obvious.... 

I recently ambitiously dug two big borders (2mx6m each) and planted up in what I hope will be naturalistic style (lots of grasses like stipa and miscanthus plus hardy perennials like echinops, verbena etc) To keep costs down most things were from 9cm pots so its going to take time...

I have a very exposed site - but it gets lots of sun and the soil is pretty good. 

I have broadcast some blue poppy seeds and sown some nigella and bunnys tail grass seeds in drifts - in hope of having a bit more going on come summer. I wanted to add cornflowers but worry the wind will just flatten them? Any other ideas? 

I would also like to add some bulbs - but are there summer bulbs that can be planted and then left there in place all year round? (and that would cope with wind plus fit with a naturalistic planting scheme) I think digging up and storing tender dahlias then filling in the gap etc is a bit beyond my skills at the moment! I feel a little more confident come autumn with spring bulbs so know I can plant lots of alliums at that point - but would really like some colour for this year. 

Thank you for reading - any advice would be greatly appreciated! 


  • JennyJJennyJ Posts: 9,551
    Summer bulbs are often a bit on the tender side (I find gladioli for example are a bit hit-and-miss whether they come back after the first year). In autumn you can add lots of spring bulbs which will add colour before the grasses and perennials get going.
    For annuals, I think cornflowers will be fine, as will the nigella. Annual poppies (either Papaver somniferum or Papaver rhoeas) would work well too but I'm not sure about the blue poppies - they're notoriously fussy and like cool damp climates. I hope they work for you.
    Doncaster, South Yorkshire. Soil type: sandy, well-drained
  • AnniDAnniD Posts: 11,905
    I agree with Jenny, annual poppies would look nice and fit in with the theme  :)
    If you haven't got any seeds and are having problems obtaining some in the current situation, try asking on the seed swop thread (you don't need to have any seeds to swop, just bear it in mind if you have any spare seeds at a later date).
    As for cornflowers,  they're pretty tough and should be fine. 
  • Thank you both @JennyJ @AnniD
  • Nanny BeachNanny Beach Posts: 8,586
    What about wildflower seeds to go with your grasses, let them self seed for next year.  Awkward year unfortunately, for buying plants in general.  Very windy where we live, cornflowers are fine, I do the autumn planting, they are just flowering now.
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