Ideas for a Hot Border
When I started designing gardens I found myself drawn to plants in the blue and purple palette. These were the colours that I found most appealing instinctively and they make for a very calming vision – what is typically referred to as a ‘cool border’. However, even these need some contrast to make the colours come to life and so I often intersperse them with cool whites and acid greens
After designing a number of borders in this cool colour range, I wanted to do something more vibrant and challenging. The colours I wanted to work with were ‘hot’ oranges and reds. So I set myself the challenge of finding out new variations of old favourites, as well as plants I hadn’t previously used that could be used to create a hot border. Given the vibrancy of these plants and their flowers, I often use darker foliage plants and flowers, such as Physocarpus ‘Diablo’, Chocolate Cosmos, or the deep dark dahlias like Karma Choc to act as a calmer contrast. Adding in a calmer perennial like Nepeta ‘Six Hill’s Giant’ can also soften the effect
The photos show a ‘hot border’ in its first summer of existence showing what a mix of shrubs, perennials and annuals can look like about 3 months after planting out, as well as a few of my favourites from this border:
Dahlia ‘Mel’s Orange Marmalade’, a fantastic dahlia that grows to a good 1m in height and sits well in the middle or towards the back of the border and produces many flowers.
Californian Poppy – Eschscholzia californica ‘Orange King’, which is a hardy annual which is easy to grow from seed in the majority of conditions, even in poor soil
Dahlia ‘New Baby’, an absolutely gorgeous dahlia, which although small in stature packs a tremendous punch in the border or in a vase
Helenium ‘Sahin’s Early Flowerer’, a fantastic herbaceous perennial which is good on most soils and in most situations but does need full sun. Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ is another great alternative.