Designing a New Border for Year Round Interest

This is a border I've planned to do all year, indeed I've also had most of the plants all year too. As the propagation and weeding duties tail off towards the end of the season here in the nursery and gardens I get a chance to design, create and develop more borders. This may sometimes seem a bit of an indulgence, a chance for me to play and try out new planting combinations, garden design and old favourites, but there is a business reason too, honest! 

In the beginning ......... there were lots of weeds
In the beginning ......... there were lots of weeds

Getting plants in the ground here in the nursery has several advantages:

~ I can propagate from them once big enough, meaning I am propagating from organic, healthy and hardy stock.
~ I can bulk up plants that I might only have a few of for use in the future.
~ Plants often behave quite differently in pots and in the ground, so this gives customers a chance to see what plants will do three, five or more years down the line.
~ Planting out borders and indeed whole gardens in the nursery inspire customers and encourage them to get creative and lets them see what can be grown and achieved in our often adverse growing conditions.

Progress, one triangle cleared and dug over
Progress, one triangle cleared and dug over and another to go,
you might notice progress in the fence at the back too as we go along

It's that awful clay soil again!
It's that awful clay soil again!

So what is this border about? It consists of two triangles, following the top of the banking around the edge of the grass stock beds. I've designed it to be a combination of shrubs, perennials, bulbs and annuals that will give interest all year round. You can find a planting list at the bottom of the blog. I've found at this end of the nursery, although the soil is clay, the plants do really well and grow amazingly quickly, despite being exposed at the top of the bankings. I've planted a Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai' in the centre of the second triangle. This is one of my favourite shrubs and will provide height and bulk over time with it's spring flowers and fiery autumn colour.

Removing the "turf" and starting to dig over the new border
Removing the "turf" and starting to dig over the new border

One triangle finished
One triangle finished

Planting, always the exciting bit
Planting, always the exciting bit

A key design element I always try to incorporate in all my borders is keeping the garden interesting all year. Be it stem, leaf, flower, shape or scent, we can achieve something to look at in most borders throughout the year. Some of the perennials carry foliage all year, even in winter, the Digitalis and Aquilegias do this and so will provide some green through winter into spring, when the Tulips will flower. Followed by the flowers of the Aquilegia, Clematis and Alliums. Then we're into summer where a shrub rose will provide mid-summer colour and scent, under-planted with Sedums to extend the season into autumn. Persicarias will flower right through mid summer until autumn, accompanied by Dahlias and Asters. Or at least that's the plan.


More progress
More progress

The finished borders, just need all the plants to grow now
The finished borders, just need all the plants to grow now

Below are some of the plants I've chosen for the borders, some we have for sale in the nursery and others I hope to add to the stock list soon. 

Persicaria microcelhala ‘Red Dragon’
Persicaria microcelhala ‘Red Dragon’

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'
Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'

Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'
Prunus incisa 'Kojo-no-mai'

Digitalis ferruginea
Digitalis ferruginea

Clematis alpina 'Columbine'
Clematis alpina 'Columbine'

Rosa 'Maidens Blush'
Rosa 'Maidens Blush'


Planting List
Agrostemma githago, "Corn Cockle" (annual)
Allium sphaerocephalon
Aquilegia atrata
Aster amellus 'Rosa Erf├╝llung'
Clematis alpina 'Columbine' 
Cleome hasseleriana 'Cherry Queen' (annual)
Dahlia 'Bishop of Leicester'
Digitalis ferruginea
Hemerocallis 'Catherine Woodberry'
Persicaria amplexicaulis 'Firedance'
Persicaria microcelhala ‘Red Dragon’
Prunus incisa 'Kojo no Mai'
Rosa 'Maidens Blush'
Salvia guarantica 'Blue Enigma'
Sedum 'Carl'
Staphylea pinnata 
Tulipa ‘Ronaldo’




Other garden / border design blogs:

Creating paths and prairie beds
Creating a Scottish natives garden
From Weedy strip to all year round interest
Starting another prairie border
Creation of the nursery entrance
Native woodland and hedgerow borders
Creating the herb and scented wedding garden
Border at the top steps


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Comments

  1. It is super to see how you've created a border out of jungle - that's what we all do, but pictures still tell so much more than words. And for new garden owners it is so encouraging to see how hopeless wilderness can really be turned into a garden!
    I'm super thrilled about your Digitalis ferruginea plant (if it is that in one planted of the pictures) - I think I recognise the rosette... I sowed them last year and all this year have been looking at the leaves and wondering if it is that or not. Now I clearly see they are the same - yay! Looking forward to flowers maybe nex year.
    The rose + sedum combination sounds really good.

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  2. HI, thanks for commenting. It's one of the things I enjoy most, carving out a new planting area from the weeds and jungle. I the nursery it really does inspire customers to try something new in their own gardens. Yes its Digi ferruginea, I grew these from seed last year. There are one or two Digitalis that are similar leaved but not quite so strong and evergreen. They should flower in their second year next year, then I need to remember and collect the seed!

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