Colourful Summer Flower Beds and Borders


Planning for success

Many people’s idea of the perfect summer garden is one ablaze with colour. It is possible to achieve this in most situations, and careful planning of colour groups, plant sizes and border shapes is a sure route to success.

The best way to plan a border is on paper. Careful considera­tion of height, shape and flower colour will ensure a glorious display in the summer border.

With the onset of summer, flower borders really come into their own to set the garden alight with colour and interest.

Composing the colour

The main components of summer borders are annuals and perennials. Use herbaceous plants as a ‘foundation’ and ring the changes with annuals. Whether you prefer vibrant reds, pastel tints or cooler blues, you can make delightful schemes.

colourful summer bordersThere are two main ways to achieve the best colour effects:

• You can either group colours which blend well, for example, buff, yellow, orange and red.

• Or choose colours which contrast, such as blue and yellow, or green and pink.

There are also plants with ‘neutral’ colours of flowers or foliage, such as silver and off-white. By interplanting these, you can link colours that might otherwise clash.

TIP

EARLY CARE

Try not to disturb the roots of young border plants when you position them. Plants grown in fibre pots or as ‘plugs’ are safest. During the first few weeks outside, plants are at their most vulnerable, especially to drying out. Add polymer granules (available in garden centres), plus a slow-release fertilizer, to the top 15cm or so of soil. This retains vital mois­ture and nutrients.

Border shape

Consider whether the border will be viewed from one side only or both. It may even take the form of a circular or square ‘island’.

If viewed from one side only, the taller plants need to be at the back; if viewed from both sides, put them at the centre.

There are several options with the square or circular border. Plant it with species of more or less the same height to form a colourful ground pattern viewed as a whole. Alter­natively, you can place higher plants in the middle, perhaps with an unusual specimen at the centre.

IMPORTANT

All summer border plants need lots of water at planting and in dry periods. Most also need feeding with a well-balanced flower fertilizer throughout their lives.

POPULAR VARIETIES

       

Type

Colour

Type

Colour

Ageratum

Blue-mauve

Nicotiana

White/pink/green

Alyssum

White-pink

Nigella

White-blue

Antirrhinum

White/yellow/red/purple

Pansy

Multi-coloured

Aster

White-purple

Pelargonium

(geranium)

White/pink/mauve/red

Begonia

White-red

   

Campanula

White-blue

Penstemon

Cream-deep purple

Candytuft

White/pink/mauve

Petunia

White/red/mauve

Clarkia

White-pink

Poppy

White/red/mauve

Cornflower

White/mauve/blue

Rudbeckia

Yellow-orange

Cosmos

White-red

Salvia

Pink-red

Dianthus

White-pink

Senecio

Silver-grey foliage

Fuchsia

White/pink/mauve

Stock

White-red

Godetia

White/pink/peach

Sunflower

Yellow-orange

Impatiens

White/pink/mauve

Sweet pea

White/red/mauve/blue

Lavatera

White-pink

Sweet William

White-red

Lobelia

White/pink/mauve/blue

Tagetes

Yellow-deep orange

Marigold

Yellow-orange

Verbena

White/red/peach

Nasturtium

Yellow/orange/red

Wallflower

Cream -deep purple

Nemesia

Multi-coloured

Zinnia

Buff/orange/red

 

BUYING TIP

If you want to grow your own plants from seed, there are many seed suppliers. The time and conditions of sowing are clearly described on the packed according to species or variety. Alternatively, you can buy ‘plugs’. These are very young plants in compressed compost trays.Separate each plug at the time of planting: there is no risk of damage to the root system.

Most popular and least troublesome are young plants, in trays or pots, bought from the garden centre or nurserry.

Herbaceous plants do best bought and planted out in late spring.

23. August 2011 by Dave Pinkney
Categories: Flower Beds/Borders, Gardening Ideas | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Colourful Summer Flower Beds and Borders

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