The brief was to redesign an existing border to be viewed from both sides and to have colour an interest throughout the seasons, whilst being attractive to both bees and butterflies and yet still be relatively low-maintenance!
The Planting Plan for this design therefore is for a fairly traditional herbaceous border. It has a mixture of shrubs and perennials to allow the border to have some structure and interest in the late autumn and winter when the perennials have died back. Also I recommended planting bulbs like tulips and spring-flowering anemones as well to give some colour and interest until the perennials get going.
As you can see from the design the planting is very dense, as is typical of a herbaceous border. The colour palette that was chosen was purple, with accents of pink, complemented by silver and acid-green foliage plants; again a fairly traditional colour range.
The border is largely viewed from the south and hence the plants are in general smaller in stature at the front than the back. However, using flowering shrubs interspersed with Verbena bonariensis means that that the border still looks great from the ‘back’.
The general choice of plants in a traditional herbaceous border will contain old favourites like peonies, delphiniums, salvias and penstemons. But the art is in choosing which variety will go best with each other both in colour, but also stature and flowering time. This border is designed to have flowers from April/May through to October, with the shrubs providing structural interest beyond that.
We used plants in 1-2litre pots for the perennials so that they would bulk up quickly and have an impact in the first summer of planting. These plants will continue to fill up the space in this large border over time. The different colours all help lift each other, whilst the different shapes and leaf types really help the border to have interest whatever angle it is viewed from.