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Border planting plans, suggestions

a1154a1154 Posts: 749

This year i have done 2 new borders, both quite large areas.  For the scheme for one, i asked for a plan from a garden centre that had it as a display.  This has largely worked, its certainly not finished and there are some plants i cant get hold of and have used alternatives, but its taking shape.  

The other one was my own invention based on a limited colour scheme and this one has been a disaster really! Things i thought would go together dont flower together,  and i have concentrated on flowers, and not structure, things that will be there all year.  Sigh.

so....where can if find something like a picture of a border and theN the list of plants in it?  Its the combining im having problems with being quite new  to it.  Websites? Books? any of you guys got some winning combinations? 


  • rosemummyrosemummy Posts: 2,010

    I aways have my eyes open, magazines, tv, books, neighbouring streets, then google or look in rhs book if I don't know what something is, I like to make my own combinations, but do move things round if they don' t work

  • The user and all related content has been deleted.
  • There are lots of gardening books that have gardens plans with details of plants in them. Some that I've got are:

    • Rosemary Verey's Garden Plans
    • Penelope Hobhouse's Garden Designs
    • Penelope Hobhouse's
    • Tony Lord - Best Borders
    • Roger Harvey - Designing and Planting Borders.
    • Stephanie Cohen & Nancy J Ondra - The Perennial Gardener's Design Primer
    • Noel Kingsbury - Designing Borders

    I enjoy reading these and do get inspiration from them but would give a word of caution that they do not automatically transfer to your garden. You may have different type of soil (clay rather than sand) or climate (South facing rather than North). Also have to be aware that someone like Rosemary Verey might have designed a garden for a client that has very deep pockets indeed. I'm inspired by a rainbow border she designed for a celebrity. It has about 1300 plants. That must have cost a bob or two!

  • Third book in the list should say Penelope Hobhouse's - On Gardening. 

  • a1154a1154 Posts: 749

    not got any of those books, so will have a look, thanks. 

    gosh the border,  well im embarrassed really.  It was foliage and red and white flowers as an idea.  i got lots of all the following

    hostas - done quite well, also solomons seal, doing well.

    daisies - 3 different kinds.  No flowers yet

    poppys perrenial.   Not doing well, no flowers yet. And red annuals.  

    Red geum.  Got flowers woo hoo

    Crocosmia lucifer.  no flowers yet.   Quite late flowering that. 

    The shrub / structure was supposed to be a white spirea.  This has been got good style by rabbits.  But nothing else has.  My rabbits are very selective.  A solution is being worked on.

    also what has happened is the bed is invaded by self seeded lacy phacelia.  This is taller than the hostas etc and purple so it doesnt go, on the other hand its better than bare earth, and the bees like it, so am leaving them until I decide what to do.  



  • Bob BobBob Bob Posts: 61

    Next time your down the shops have a quick flick through the gardening mags - one or two of them usually have a few border designs telling you what's what, where it'll grow and very often suggest alternatives.

    My approach has been to let my borders evolve as I've learned - it's taking a few years and it's not finished by any means but that for me is part of gardening. Like a lot of people I started off with an empty garden and ran around a garden centre picking up whatever looked nice and then throwing it all in. It's only with time that I'm developing a sense of structure and theme and learning what works in my garden. There's very little in my borders which hasn't at sometime been dug up and moved about and there's quite a bit that's been dug up and replaced.

    If you like red & white then I'd definitely suggest some Dogwood for structure - I don't think there's a better sight in the winter than bright red stems sticking out of the snow.



  • Gardener's world mag has some nice ideas for borders in different situations. I'm in the middle of renovating my garden - has been left by prev owner to do it's own thing! I've found visiting gardens to help as you can normally get some great planting combination ideas - just remember your camera!

  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 28,438

    If you have problems with rabbits that will largely determine what you grow unless you rabbit-proof the whole area image

    The spireas would make a nice structural shrub -arguta 'Bridal Wreath' for spring and then one of the summer flowering ones for this time of year but you'd have to make  a protective cage with wire till they establish. A good alternative would be Potentilla - the whites are readily available and bunnies tend to leave those alone. Long flowering period too. They don't touch rhodies and azaleas on the whole either so if you can grow those in your soil they would give you more structure and there's plenty of whites and reds for spring . Repeat planting of something that works for your colour scheme is a good idea. Hardy geraniums are very useful too - plenty of white varieties and long flowering season, and bunnies don't touch daffs and snowdrops so you could put a load of the whiter varieties of Narcissus this autumn to start your white planting off next year. If you add a bit of 'red' foliage' Cotinus, Berberis etc that will set off your white and red flowering plants. I found they left Phormiums alone on the whole - plenty of reddish/dark ones as well as the greener varieties. If you can get a few vertical spires planted in amongst the shrubs for this time of year they will be a bit better protected. Foxgloves are useful. Cimcifuga ( now Actea) is a great vertical for later in the year if you can protect it a bit from the munchers. Nice dark foliage. Hope that's of some help image

    The list of supposedly 'rabbit proof' plants is mislaeading - the little b*****s eat pretty much anything  image

    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....

  • a1154a1154 Posts: 749

    I have just completed the rabbit proofing....but they are now on the inside!  I have 2 dogs but they seem to have lost interest in the whole chasing business.  Need to borrow a terrier i think. 

  • a1154a1154 Posts: 749

    Scott i have ordered 2 of the books you suggested, so thanks for that.  The red and white border, i think ill have to start again! 

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