June 17

Top 10 Planting combinations

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Creating a flower border is very similar to painting a wonderful impressionist picture – but this time we are using living colours! There is nothing more rewarding than establishing a habitat for our beloved plants, where the diverse selection of perennials can enhance each other, inviting wildlife into our garden from buzzing bees through subtle butterflies  to singing little birds.

  1. Tall Perennials

    If you really want to shine, you must stand out – this was probably the motivation for some of the stunning perennials like Digitalis and Acanthus. A really eye-catching spiky flower can make all the difference colour-wise – their flowering period is usually quite short, so make sure you even them out thorough the seasons. Using bulbs, like purple Alliums is also a good use of space in a border.

  2. Purple, white, pink – a classic combo

    Purple and white is one of the most commonly used colour combinations in a border – it is subtle yet powerful, and very pleasing to the eye. Adding some extra tones, like pinks or light blues will make it even more harmonious.

  3. Plants with the same flowering time

    This where you can really shine in planting design: make sure you choose the right colour next to each other if the plants have the same flowering period. Astrantias with Sisyrinchiums, Campanulas with Alchemillas, Echinaceas with Salvias – and the list goes on. Create your own favourite combinations, and mix up the flower shapes as well.

  4. Using wild plants

    Most garden favourites were created from their wild species. Using some of the native meadow or forest perennials can be really rewarding, as they tend to be very reliable, but moving around in your border quite a lot by self- seeding. Boragos, wild geraniums, chamomiles and forget-me-knots are all nice little additions to a border.

  5. Similar colours next to each other

    If you like a colour very much, and would like to highlight it in your border, make sure you have many different species with the same colour tones to always have it in your border. For example once the Centranthus ruber starts to set seeds, a similar coloured species,  called Penstemon ‘Garnet’ opens its beautiful bell-shaped flowering, thus adding the same tones with a little time overlap into the mix.

  6. Same species – different varieties

    Many garden cultivars come in all sorts of shapes and sizes – mixing them up in your border will give a unique collector’s vibe into your garden. Some people like creating a palette garden as well – for example showcasing all different varieties of Salvias; like the below example of Salvia ‘Hot Lips’ with Salvia ‘Caradonna’.

  7. Set a feature point

    Some plants are just born-to-be divas, like the silvery globe artichoke: Cynara cardunculus. A big block of feature plant will give a rest to the human eye, creating a natural focal point. You can also use some evergreen shurbs to breakup the pattern of a cottage style border.

  8. Trailers and Spikes

    Every border needs both vertical and horizontal interest: spiky or tall flowers will always give structural elements into your border, while trailers and other bushy perennials soften the overall look. Plant trailers at the edge of a raised bed as well to hide some parts of the hard landscaping.

  9. Mix up shades and shapes

    If you only want to use one colour, make sure you mix up the shades but also the leaf shapes as well to create an interesting mix. The human can recognize more shades of green than any other colour, so even if you only have greenery can make something unique and exciting.

  10. Complementary colours

    If you would like to create something vibrant, just stick to the basics: use colours opposite each other on the colourwheel. Purple with yellow is one of the most commonly used:  plant some shades of purple plants with a few drops of yellow in a border.

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April 12

Top 10 everlasting perennials

Created by Anna Kapuvari

Having colourful flowers is one of the best thing in creating gardens – living colours popping up in your borders and inviting bees and butterflies to your garden. Our selection consists of the most flower-full ones which will give you a prolonged colour interest whether they are planted in a border or in a container.

  1. Libertia grandiflora

    An endemic plant species form New-Zealand, which perfectly adopted the conditions in the UK, especially in London. A clump forming grass-like perennial with tall white flowers followed by berries which will stay on all winter. Requires a sunny sheltered location for it to best survive if frost occurs.

  2. Salvia nemorosa ‘Caradonna’

    An all-time favourite, this plant will spice up any garden location with its spiky purple flowers. This Balkan clary will keep on erecting new flowers if deadheaded continuously, and positioned in a sunny location. It can also tolerate part-shade but will be less vigorous.

  3. Agapanthus africanus

    The African lily is a summer flowering perennial, but the leaves stay on all year around. It prefers acid soil conditions and full sun – it will survive in the shade but will not erect any flowers.

  4. Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’

    One of our favourite wallflowers, this plant will flower pretty much all year around if you keep cutting back the dead flower heads. It is a bushy evergreen plant with a wooden base, which will require full sun for the abundance of its flowers. It is perfectly suitable for roof top containers.

  5. Centranthus ruber

    The red valerian is a Mediterranean species with slightly fragrant flowers. It is semi- evergreen with a wooden base, and will self-seed freely in your garden, if you let it. To avoid it being invasive, cut back the flower-head in late July before they set seeds.

  6. Geranium ‘Rozanne’

    One of the best trailing plants in a garden – perfect for reclaimed brick or timber raised beds. It is a vigorously spreading perennial with violet-blue flowers with a long flowering period – between early summer to late autumn. It survives most soil conditions and even flowers in part-shade.

  7. Verbena bonariensis

    The Argentinian vervain is one the tallest perennials in a garden that you can get: exceeding at 2.5 meters. Its purple clusters of flowers are highly liked by bees, but you can only enjoy them if you can this vigorous perennial back each year to the ground, and keep on deadheading it as well.

  8. Alchemilla mollis

    Another amazing trailing and ground cover plant which is perfect for raised beds. The lady’s mantle bears slightly hairy, soft-green leaves which is its best feature, as it has dewetting properties and keeps on the water beads like tiny pearls. It also has light yellow flowers during the summer.

  9. Nepeta x faassenii

    This garden cat mint will not make your or your neighbour’s cats crazy – it is not the true cat mint, although it has nice aromatic silver-green leaves. The violet flowers appear during the Summer, and if kept deadheaded will stay on until late Autumn.

  10. Erigeron karvinskianus

    Our last but not least member of this top 10 list is perennial flowering from Spring till Late Autumn – a perfect trailer and sunny ground cover that will survive in any little soil. The Mexican fleabane has daisy-lie white flower heads and will form a continuous mat during its growing season. It prefers full sun, and cannot survive in clay soil condition.

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