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Plants for this border

Hi, just looking for some pointers really.
As you can see it is empty apart from 2 butterfly bushes(left hand side one is out of shot)  I've had these for years and they sort of took over so I had them cut back fully last year, they have both flowered again this year and I intend to keep them (but more under control!) Border is narrow, 7ft by 2ft approx
It's what else to plant? I would like a selection which makes the border nice and full with different heights, creams, blues/purple, maybe pink here and there. Would a rose shrub go here? 
Many thanks 


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  • What is in front of the border? If it's a path, then you haven't much room to manoeuvre as anything that spreads sideways will quickly obstruct it. In that case you'd be looking mainly at short-growing climbers that will go upwards. Clematis viticella varieties are good for late summer, and Clematis alpina or macropetala for spring. Honeysuckles (Lonicera periclymenum) would also be good, as would climbing roses. Things like the climbing hydrangea and Trachelospermum japonicum are large climbers but move slowly enough to be kept under control.

    Likewise, though, bushy shrubs are going to be a perpetual problem for you if what's in front is a path. The butterfly bush will regrow to the same size every year even if you cut it down. And almost all roses will get big enough to attack you when walking along the path, so I'd recommend sticking to climbers.

    Assuming that this is a reasonably sunny spot with reasonable soil, there are lots of things you could put in at the lower level. For spring, the obvious ones are bulbs (Crocus, Chionodoxa, some shorter Narcissus like 'Thalia' or 'Jack Snipe' that are long-flowering), but you can plant those beneath and between perennials that will come up later and fill the empty space. Also Bergenias, Heucheras and London Pride to give you a neat edge. Things like Oriental poppies, Aster, Sedum, Salvia, the smaller Nepeta forms and a wide range of other things are good, though you'll want to pick smaller-growing perennials to avoid the overspill problem. You could have a look on the Claire Austin site which allows you to search by colour.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,857
    It'll be difficult keeping that buddleia under any kind of control and it will affect the other planting.  
    You can get a bit of height as well with the taller , narrower perennials in between the plants @Cambridgerose12 suggests, but it will take a bit of planning and careful choice.

    I'd agree about a climber - a clematis on the fence would be ideal. Hundreds to choose from whether dry, shady or sunny etc. One of the early alpinas or similar would be ideal, as they like drier conditions, and need virtually no attention once tied in. They're happy with other planting around too, and would give a nice spring display with the aforementioned bulbs. The later perennial plantings will then extend the season. 
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • SydRoySydRoy Posts: 166
    Have a look at Hebes or Podocarpus.
  • GrasslyGrassly BucksPosts: 66
    edited September 2020
    Fantastic, thank you all for your suggestions and really good advice. @Cambridgerose12 yes that is a path as you mentioned.
     I will certainly now  look at the climbers suggested and some of the perennials such as the  Aster, Sedum, Salvia would be lovely I'm sure. I would love a honeysuckle too, I had never thought of that, great ideas.
    Not sure now what to do re the butterfly bush, even when cut down as you can see it grows back, I was very 'green' re plants when I put those in about 10 years ago, it's only lately I've been taking more of an interest and trying to make a bit of a plan, I do always look at spread and sizes now.
  • GrasslyGrassly BucksPosts: 66
    edited September 2020
    This is the crazy butterfly bush in all its glory a couple of years ago...before the cut down, I kind of miss it but it was way too big I know 
  •  You can buy dwarf varieties of buddleia if you really like them, which could replace the two large ones you have. They can be grown in the ground or in pots. That would give you a bit more scope and space for your other planting, particularly as you are restricted by the footpath running alongside. Lots of good ideas suggested for planting already. Pansies also look pretty in borders, as do lavenders and heathers and hardy geraniums which are easy to tidy back if they start to spread across the path - though maybe some edging along the path in front of the border would help to reduce spread onto the path, too. Have fun planning, whatever you choose to do.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,857
    I think it would be helpful to know what aspect this border has. Most of  the suggested plants are for mainly sunny sites, but buddleias really grow almost anywhere, so you'll need to pick plants accordingly if that isn't the case.
    Plants needing a lot of sun will just lean all the time to get enough light  :)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • GrasslyGrassly BucksPosts: 66
    Thanks Red Maple, some great suggestions there, I like the idea of geraniums, bee friendly again.

    @Fairygirl the border gets sun only in the afternoon so West facing? I will keep that in mind, I've only ever grown the butterfly bush and some mealy sage (which I moved elsewhere) in that border, so will need some thinking about.
  • FairygirlFairygirl west central ScotlandPosts: 40,857
    The main thing to remember is that, if you grow some taller plants which like a lot of sun, you'll either need something more shrubby or substantial in front of them for support, or another type of support - canes or a purchased metal support, or similar, just to stop them flopping forward too much. 
    It's easy enough to do, but always best done early on before the plants get too big  :)

    One of those things we've all probably experienced at some point though  ;)
    It's a place where beautiful isn't enough of a word....


  • GrasslyGrassly BucksPosts: 66
    Thanks Fairygirl, that's really interesting about them leaning to the light, makes a lot of sense...lots of food for thought there and really helpful to know.
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