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Hemerocallis "Baley Hay": Apricot. 18"Tall. Mid-late summer.
Hemerocallis "Stella de Oro" Primrose yellow 1 ft tall. Mid-late summer.
Hemerocallis "Summer Wine"Deep pink. 2 ft tall. Mid-late summer
Heuchera brizoides: Scarlet. 18"Tall. Mid-late summer.
Heuchera "Beauty Colour": White. Excellent purple and silver foliage.18"Tall. Mid-late summer.
Heuchera "Ruby Veil" : Intense purple foliage. White flowers.18"Tall. Mid-late summer
Heucharella "Bridget Bloom": Lilac.I ft tall. Mid-late summer.
Penstemons have a long flowering season, from midsummer till the first frosts. The Autumn flowering is spectacular and a bright show is guaranteed.
The snapdragon like blooms come in shades of blue, white, pink, red and purple.
An easy plant to grow, the Penstemon should be planted in a sunny/semi shaded site in free draining soil.
Penstemons are normally perfectly hardy in most parts of Great Britain and zones 5 and above in North America. As an insurance policy it pays to overwinter a few autumn struck cuttings in a cool, but frost-free area.
The following varieties are reliable.
Penstemon " King George V": Handsome crimson flowers with a white throat. 3 ft.
Penstemon "Appleblossom" : Baby pink and white" 3 ft.
Penstemon " Burgundy" : Deep red. 2 ft.
Doronicum plantagineum: The Easter Daisy. Yellow blooms, late spring. 2.5 ft tall
Gypsophylla "Bristol Fairy": Babies Breath. Clouds of tiny, white, double blooms. Mid-late summer. 3 ft tall.
Helenium "Butterpat": Yellow cone flowers, Late summer. 2.5 ft tall.
Hemerocallis "Big Bird": The Day Lily. Lemon flowers, mid summer. 3 ft tall
Hemerocallis "Pink Damask": Late summer 2.5 ft tall
Incarvillea delavayi : The Garden Gloxinia. Rosy purple blooms, early summer. 2.5 ft tall
Iris sibirica "Perry's Blue": The Siberian Iris. Sky blue flowers. Early summer, 3 ft tall
Iris "Superstition": Tall bearded type with near-black flowers. Mid summer. 3 ft tall
Iris "Red Lion": Tall bearded type with crimson flowers. Mid summer. 3 ft tall
Iris "Winter Olympics": Tall bearded type with pure , white flowers. Mid summer. 3 ft tall
If your border is backing onto a wall or fence, climbing roses add a further dimension and scent to a herbaceous border by planting some climbing Roses.
Attach some fencing wire to the wall, horizontally with vine eyes. The wires should be parallel to each other with 18 inch spaces.
There are a few good late flowering Astilbes or falls goat's beards that are a real asset to the early autumn garden.
All have wonderful plume-shaped flowers and do best in a moist soil and light shade.
Astilbe simpicifolia "Sprite": A very compact 1 ft tall. Flowers are pale pink over dark foliage.
Astilbe chinensis "Superba" Warm pink plumes on an imposing 4 ft tall plant.
Astilbe chinensis "Pumila" Rose pink flowers on a compact 18" plant.
As a rough guide, imagine the width of the border as four distinct planting zones,
(1) The Rear. (2) The Mid Range. (3) The Front. (4) The Edge.
To display the full beauty of the border, the tallest plants should be planted at the rear and the height graduated down to the border edge.
The whole effect should be natural looking, this can be further achieved by planting a the occasional group of plants in the next height range down. To clarify this, plant an odd tall plant in the mid range , an occasional mid range plant at the front ... etc.
The succulent herbaceous Sedums are excellent autumn plants and are very attractive to bees and butterflies. The large heads of tiny flowers are characteristically flat-topped and look wonderful at the front of the border. Full sun and free draining soil are best
The colour range is in muted shades of red, pink and white and suits the mellow season.
These are some of the more distinct types.
Sedum alboroseum "Frosty Morn": Pink flowers over stunning green and white foliage. 1 ft tall.
Sedum specabile "Brilliant": Light pink. 1 ft tall.
Sedum spectabile "Iceberg": White. 1 ft tall.
Sedum telephium "Munstead Dark Red": Dusky crimson. 2 ft.
The Heleniums have daisy type flower with a very prominent central disk. The colour range is autumnal shades of orange, russet, yellow and reddish-brown.
Not fussy on soil type as long as it retains moisture. Sun/part shade.
Five of the best are:
Helenium "ButterPat": Rich yellow with a yellow disk. 2 ft 6" tall.
Helenium "Indian Summer": Rich copper with a yellow disk. 3 ft.
Helenium "The Bishop": Golden yellow with a dark central disk. 3 ft.
Helenium "Moerheim Beauty": Mahogany flowers. 4 ft.
Helenium "Margot" Russet tipped yellow. 3 ft.
Heliopsis scabra: The perennial sunflower. Yellow flowers during late summer 6 ft tall.
Kniphofia "Prince Igor": The Red Hot Poker. Red and yellow flowers in summer. 5 ft tall
Lathyrus latifolius "Pink Pearl": The Everlasting Pea . blooms mid-late summer. 6 ft tall
Rudbeckia laciniata "Golden Glow": A double, yellow type that grows to 7 ft tall and blooms late summer.
Solidago canadensis: Golden rod. Yellow blooms, late summer 5 ft. tall.
Dianthus "David": Scarlet perpetual pink. Fine, grey evergreen foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn.
Dianthus "Doris": Salmon perpetual pink. Fine, grey evergreen foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn.
Dianthus "Gran's Favourite": White and maroon perpetual pink. Fine, grey evergreen foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn.
Dianthus "Haytor": Pure, white perpetual pink. Fine, grey evergreen foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn.
Dianthus "Mrs Sinkins": Pure, white old fashioned pink. Fine, grey evergreen foliage. 1 ft mid summer.
Dicentra formosa "Luxuriant": Deep pink blooms. Ferny foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn
First of all, there is a lot of snobbery about herbaceous borders. Color combinations borders, single color borders, silver foliage borders. Purists will say don't mix pinks with reds.
My advice is that in your own garden , plant what is pleasing to you. The simplest and often the best effect is to go for as many different colors as possible and try not to plant patches of the same color next to one another.
It is a good idea to borrow the kids' coloring in pencils when you draw your planting sketch.When you choose what goes where , color the patch with the color of the plants blooms.
Colors aside , tall plants go at the back of the bed medium in the middle and small at the front. This gives a lovely graduated effect and means that no plant hides a smaller type.
When the border blooms the first summer, mark off any color combinations that YOU dont like and change them the following spring.
This needn't be such a daunting task as you would imagine. The tricky measuring involved in producing geometric designs or even a straight fronted border are not required at all for a curvy-fronted border.
Simply lay a hose pipe or length of rope along the lawn in the shape that you desire. Stick with a few long sweeping curves, rather than lots of little ones. Lots of "ins and outs" look very bitty and perhaps, more importantly will make mowing very difficult
Imagine a slowly meandering river: That is the effect you shold be aiming for. If you are not sure, walk alongside the layed out hose, imagining that you are mowing the lawn. If tricky manoevres are involved, lift and relay the hose to a more simple curvy shape.
The herbaceous border is best cut back in fall, around late October.Cut all the old tired flower stems and foliage down to a couple of inches and recycle in the compost heap.
One of the few exceptions to this rule is the red hot poker or Knifophia.For winter protection from the cold and wet,gather up the foliage antie it together.This prevents the crowns rotting off.
Tender plants such as the foxtail lily or Eremurus should have their crowns protected over winter, by covering them with a thick layer of sand.this can be removed in spring , when the new shoots are showing.
It's a good idea to label clumps which you want to split up later on.
The Japanese Anenomes start blooming during August and continue till October. The flowers are in beautiful muted shades of pink, white, purple and violet and can be single or semi double. Height range is from 2 to 5 ft tall depending on variety. Excellent plants for shade, the Japanese Anenomes prefer a deep soil that does not dry out.
Some first class forms are:
Anenome hupehensis " Bodnant Burgundy" : 3 ft tall. single wine red flowers.
Anenome hupehensis "Pamina": Dark red semi double flowers. 2 ft tall.
Anenome x hybrida " Andrea Atkinson": Pure white single flowers with bright orange stamens. 2ft tall.
Anenome x hybrida "Honorine Jobert" Gorgeous large pure whit single. 3 ft tall.
Anenome x hybrida "Queen Charlotte" A fantastic old variety from 1868 and still one of the best. Masses of rose-pink single blooms on a 3 ft plant.
Achillea ptarmatica "The Pearl": Beautiful, white buttons. 2 ft tall, mid-late summer
Alchemilla mollis: Beautiful foliage and lime green flowers . 18"Tall , mid-late summer
Anthemis "EC Buxton": Lemon daisies on ferny , grey foliage. 18"Tall, mid-late summer
Aquilegia alpina: Pretty, blue columbine. 18"Tall early-mid summer.
Aster "Jenny": Red blooms. 1 ft tall, autumn.
Aster sedifolius "Nanus": Blue flowers. 1 ft tall, autumn
Astrantia major "Rubra": Red blooms. 2 ft tall, mid-late summer
Brunnera macrophylla: blue Forget-me-not flowers.18"Tall spring-mid summer.
Traditionally, ramblers were used as a backdrop to herbaceous borders. There are several serious drawbacks with most ramblers. Old types such as "Dorothy Perkins" and "American Pillar" have little resistance to mildew nowadays. Ramblers generally do not repeat bloom and require a lot of pruning and training.
Modern climbing roses, on the other hand, are repeat blooming, have good disease resistance and require minimal pruning and training to get excellent results.
Choose the varieties with care, it is better to go for fairly short climbers, that won't take over.
The following are good types for this purpose and can be planted 3 yards apart .
"Aloha": Large double perfumed coral pink 7 ft tall.
"Danse Du Feu": Semi-double blooms in stunning vermillion orange. 10 ft tall
"Compassion": Large ,sweetly scented, salmon blooms on a fine healthy plant.
"Penny Lane": A beautiful and healthy climber, with "Champagne and Honey coloured blooms. 12 ft tall.
"Handel": White edged pink . 15 ft tall.
"Breath of Life": Perfect, large pastel apricot. Scented. 8 ft tall.
"Climbing Iceberg": Masses of white, tinged pink blooms 12 ft.
An easier option is to hire a turf lifting machine. Start at the straight side of the border, working your way towards the curved front. This machine has the advantage of cutting the turf to a pre set, regular thickness, in long strips. Cut these strips into 1 yard sections and simply roll them up like a rug.
Be careful not to machine cut too close to the new edge.Cut the last 12" or so nearest the curve, by hand.
Achillea "Gold Plate" : Plate- like yellow flowers mid -late summer, 4 ft tall.
Alstroemeria aurantiaca: The Peruvian lily. This type has orange flowers, flecked black.Look out for "Ligtu hybrids" which is a mix of many beautiful colours. 3 ft tall. Blooms mid-late summer.
Anthemis "Pride of Galach": Large lemon daisies. Mid-summer/fall. 2.5 ft tall
Anenome japonica "Haspen Abundance":Japanese Anenome. Semi-double pink blooms. Late summer 2 ft tall.
Astilbe "Fanal" : Rich red plumes Late summer. 2.5 ft tall
Aster amellus "September Glow" : Lavender blooms. Fall. 2 ft tall
Aster novae-angliae "Harrington Pink": The Michaelmas Daisy . Fall bloomer 2.5 ft tall
Aster novae-belgii "White Wonder": Fall blooms. 4 ft tall.
Campanula lactiflora "Blue Cross": Flowers . 4 ft tall
Centaurea macrocephala: Yellow thistle-like flowers, mid-late summer. 3 ft tall.
Chrysanthemum maximum "Esther Reid": Large, white daisies, mid-late summer. 3 ft tall.
Coreopsis grandiflora "Mayfield Giant": Yellow blooms, midsummer- fall. 3 ft tall
Traditionally herbaceous borders are either rectangular or have curved fronts.
If you are not restricted by a straight path, a border that has serpentine curves gives a very pleasing , flowing effect.
Another idea is to have an island hebaceous bed in the middle of the lawn
In general it is better to buy small pots of herbaceous perennials.
Economically plants in small pots are more cost effective- they will grow and fower well in the first year. Plants in larger pots, (5" plus), are much more expensive, particularly if yours is a large border.
The exceptions are deep rooted plants, where larger specimen plants are ttthe only way to buy.
Peonias,Hostas, Meconopsis and Hellebores , are good examples of plants where it pays to buy big.
A good practice is to go choose mostly small plants with a few larger specimens of the deep rooted sort.
Kniphofia "Percy's Pride" : A sulphur yellow form of the Red Hot Poker.Flowers late summer 3 ft tall
Kniphofia "Timothy": An unusual type with almost pink blooms during late summer. 3 ft tall.
Lobelia "Queen Victoria": Beautiful spikes of scarlet blooms and deep, purple foliage. Mid-Late summer. 3 ft tall
Lychnis chalcedonica: The Maltese Cross flower. Startling scarlet, flat flower heads during mid-late summer. 3 ft tall
Monarda "Blaukranz" : Lovely lilac form. Mid-late summer. 2.5 ft tall.
Nepeta govaniana : Yellow blooms . Mid-late summer. 2.5 ft tall.
Delphinium : The Queen of the border. Tall spires of bloom midsummer and again in September. Good varieties are: "Astolat" (Pink), "Black Knight", (Dark blue with a back centre). "Galahad", (White) and "Summer Skies", (Azure blue). all grow to 6 ft tall.
Digitalis purpurea : The foxglove. The white flowering "Alba" and "Cream Hybrids" are stunning 5 ft tall. Flowers mid summer.
Echinops bannaticus "Taplow Blue": The globe thistle. Superb spherical steely- blue flowers, mid- late summer. 6 ft tall
Eupatorium maculatum "Atropurpureum" : Large heads of fluffy small purple blooms. Purple foliage. Late summer. 6 ft tall.
Galega x hartlanii "Lady Wilson": Masses of pea-like blue and white flowers. Mid-Late summer. 5ft tall.
Removal of dead wood and faded flowers is really all that is required for climbing roses.
Training is a matter of building up a horizontal framework of branches. Do this by tying in the new growth onto the horizontal wires that you attached to the wall.
All climbing roses flower more abundantly if the branches are trained outwards horizontally, rather than upwards.
Campanula carpatica: Blue flowers. 1 ft tall mid-late summer.
Campanula glomerata: Indigo blue 1 ft tall spring-mid summer.
Ceratostigma plumbagoides: Pretty, blue flowers in Autumn. 1 ft tall
Coreopsis verticillata: Yellow blooms. 1 ft tall mid-late summer.
Corydalis lutea: Pretty yellow flowers and good foliage. 1 ft Late spring- autumn.
Geranium cantabrigiense "Cambridge": Shocking pink. 1 ft tall. Mid-late summer.
Geranium cinereum "Ballerina": Pale pink. 1 ft tall. Mid-late summer.
Geranium pratense albiflorum : White. 18"Tall. Mid-late summer.
Geranium riversleaianum "Mavis Simpson": Pale pink. 1 ft tall. Mid-late summer.
Epimedium youngianum "Roseum": Pretty pastel pink. evergreen foliage. 1 ft tall. Mid- late spring.
Erysimum "Bowles Mauve": Lilac, perennial wallflower. 18"Tall spring-autumn.
Euphorbia amygdaloides "Purpurea": Sulphur, yellow blooms and striking, purple foliage. 18"Tall. Spring.
Alcea rosea : Hollyhock 6 ft tall in a range of colours. Flowers Late summer.
Aconitum napellus: The monkshood. Deep blue flowers in midsummer. 6 ft tall
Acanthus mollis: Mauve flowers in spires. Superb foliage. 5 ft tall. Flowers Late summer.
Aruncus dioicus: Plumes of tiny white flowers. Mid summer. 6 ft tall.
Aster novae-angliae: The Michaelmas daisy. Good varieties; "Barrs Blue" 5 ft tall., "Red Cloud" 5 ft , "Hebstschnee" : White 5 ft. All bloom during autumn.
Campanula lactiflora "Loddon Anna" : Pretty bell-shaped mauve blooms. Late summer. 5 ft tall
Cimifuga ramosa: Pearl-pink blooms , purple foliage. Mid summer. 5 ft tall
Clematis recta "Purpurea": A non-climbing perennial. Small white flowers , purple flushed foliage.
The Aristocrats of the summer border will re-bloom in September/ October if the June flowers are removed as soon as they fade.
Good named varieties are:
Delphinium "Astolat": Mauve pink spikes around 5 ft tall.
Delphinium "Black Knight" : Magnificent deep blue with a black "bee." 5 ft tall.
Delphinium "Blue Bird" : Azure blue with a white "bee." 5 ft tall.
Delphinium "Galahad": Pure white. 5 ft tall.
Delphinium "Mrs Newton Lees": Soft mauve. 5 ft tall.
Solidaster "Super": A hybrid between Solidago and Aster. Light yellow blooms during fall. 4 ft tall
Thalictrum delaveyi "Hewitts Double": Pretty sprays of lilac blooms in midsummer. 4 ft tall
Verbascum "Gainsborough": Imposing spikes of soft yellow blooms. Mid-late summer. 5 ft tall.
Verbena bonariensis : A tall plant, which can also be planted nearer the front due to it's light,. airy appearance. Purple flowers late summer to late fall. 5 ft tall.
Unless you know your plants very well it pays to make ,at the very least, a rough sketch of your new bed showing the positions of the new plants.
Draw the outline of the bed and mark off a lot of irreglar drifts and patches to show where you intend to plant each type of plant.
When planting time comes, using a broom handle, mark out the patches and drifts onto the soil surface.
It makes sense to trickle sand onto your markings, to make them more visible.
The tickweeds provide a splash of bright colour to the early autumn border. Best in full sun and a free draining soil.
Amongst the best are.
Coreopsis verticillata "SonnenKind": Elegant feathery foliage studded with bright yellow flowers. 18" tall.
Coreopsis verticillata "Moonbeam": A more choice primrose cloured form
Have a look at my recommended plants for the various, height zones and when you have decided what you want to grow, sketch out the shape of your border on a large piece of paper.( Remember, this is only a guide, so a scale drawing is not necessary!)
Now the arty part, starting from the back sketch a line of inter- connecting simple "bubble" shapes,. (Make them uneven sized) , to form the rear of the border.
Next do the same for the mid range, the front range and edge.
Remember to make the bubble shapes irregular.
When your finished you should have something that resembles " Taking a line for a walk" that we all did at primary,( junior), school.
If your new border is small or you are feeling enegetic, using a half moon or spade, cut the turf into squares roughly 12" X 12", for easy handling.
Slice the turf squares horizontally with a spade held flat or, better still a turfing spade.
If you want to reuse the turf, try to slice evenly. aim to keep the turf thickness to ¼ inch to1/2 inch. An easy way of picking up the turf squares is to "Spear" them with a garden fork.
When you have cleared the area, it's a good idea to go over the new edge and give it a little tidy up with your spade.
Preparation for this old style of gardening consists mainly of good old fashioned digging.
An open sunny site ,preferably backed by a wall or hedge is best for a bit of shelter.
Dig rather, than cultivate, lots of garden compost or composted farmyard manure into the soil.
Spread a thick layer of the organic material over the soil surface.Take out a trench a spades depth deepand barrow the soil to the opposite end of the plot.
Scrape the organic matter into the base of the trench and turn the soil over to cover it up.Continue this process till you reach the end of the plot and you should be left with a trench.
fill this with the soil that you barrowed from the other end of the plot.
This is best done in fall so that the winter weather does all the hard work of breaking down the soil to a fine tilth.The new bed can be planted in spring.