Forum home Plants

Successional planting / your best combos?

SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
edited March 2021 in Plants
Started planting my new garden last summer and there is still plenty of borders to fill. I am a novice gardener and I am trying my hand at successional planting.

For example, I have a border currently filled with tulips and I will plant cosmos and zinnias and phlox when the time comes to have as seamless a transition as possible.
I also planted Salvia Black and Blue last summer, they survived the winter and I just cut them down. I have planted lily bulbs around the salvia to flower in the summer while the salvia grows back and flowers again.

Do you have favourite combinations of two, three or even four plants (shrubs, perennials, annuals) that are very successful in your eyes? I would love to read about them!

Thank you


  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    Not very exact, but my winter beds are full of hellebores and snowdrops, succeeded by daffs then fgmns and wallflowers. Then umbellifers like valerian off., baltic parsley and wild carrot, bronze fennel. Plus linaria and feverfew. For mid - to late summer - cosmos, borage and dahlias take over. In my back garden, the plants generally get taller as the year progresses. Dahlias go to the frost. Cosmos go past the light frosts and can hang on for quite a while.

    This year I am adding thalictrum and Jo Pye weed to the height mix.
  • B3B3 Posts: 25,266
    I don't know if you'd call it successional planting, but I let the spring wildflowers have their way and  plant in the gaps when they're finished. They don't do the shrubs any harm and I make sure they're not smothering the perennials.
    The first to be pulled out are the forget me nots. I soon get fed up with them. I pull them out easily after a few weeks of flowering and they leave plenty of room to plant summer stuff.
    I don't bother with wallflower as they can keep on well into June taking up space I want for other things. But that's just me.😊
    In London. Keen but lazy.
  • punkdocpunkdoc Posts: 13,741
    If you want to learn about successional planting, I can recommend the book on the subject by C. Lloyd, which might still be available. He was probably the expert on the subject.
    F. Garrett, who is head gardener at Great Dixter, under Lloyd, gave a talk about it last year, which is still available on the great Dixter website.
    How can you lie there and think of England
    When you don't even know who's in the team

    S.Yorkshire/Derbyshire border
  • newbie77newbie77 Posts: 1,730
    edited March 2021
    @SophieK, not exactly answer to successive planting, my learning is if you focus on adding garden interest between Nov to April, garden will looks good all year around. When I started gardening all I focused was on flowers and flowers but over couple of years I learnt that things that look good between May till Frost are so many that you will always have some interest during that time.
    It is the evergreens or the plants which add interest from Nov to April who actually never catch your eye in garden center, look dull and slow growing or insignificant but those are the ones which will make your garden interesting all year around. I love my elaeagnus ebbingei, nandina, hebe, choisya, hellebore niger, sarcococoa, winter honeysuckle, camellias, early spring bulbs etc.
    South West London
  • SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
    Thank you everyone for all the inspirational combos, books and Instagram accounts! Please keep them coming :)

    The book has been ordered and the notes for the Annuals and Biennials talk have been downloaded (I may wait a bit to pay the £16 to watch the video)
  • SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
    @newbie77 I agree with you and I invested in a few of those plants but will check the others you mention that I don't know. Nb: my choisiya, alas, did not survive, no idea why. It was in the right place...
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
  • SophieKSophieK Posts: 242
    Fire said:
    Thank you so much for finding it, I hadn't been very successful!
  • FireFire Posts: 17,116
    There's a pre-existing Fergus lecture on succession planting, but I can't find that online.
Sign In or Register to comment.