If you want to add stunning colour and eye-catching foliage to your garden, try a herbaceous border! Full of attractive perennials that flower each year and attract bees and butterflies, and fairly low-maintenance to keep looking great all year round. Plus, herbaceous plants are quite quick growers, meaning that you might not have to wait as long to get a lush and establishled look in your garden. If you would like to learn how to create a stunning herbaceous border where you live, then read on for our top tips and suggestions.
Herbaceous plants prefer to be quite shallow in the ground and to make an attractive border at varying heights, we suggest building upwards! When creating a border on your lawn, cover the grass with cardboard then layer up mulches before topping with a layer of well-rotted compost/ manure. Position tall plants, such as Verbena, Crocosmia, Delphinium and Foxgloves at the back of your beds, place mid-height varieties such as Lychnis, Sidalcea and Peonies in front of them and the low growers such as Geranium, Erigeron and Dianthus at the front of the border. You do need a decent-sized border to fit this range of plants in – at least four or five feet of space.
An easy way to help bulk up your flower beds without spending money is by splitting and dividing your herbaceous plants. It’s also a great way to ensure your garden plants stay healthy and vigorous, flowering consistently year after year. They usually have a set of fibrous roots which can be easily divided or cut to form a new set of identical plants which can then be planted next to the original or somewhere else within the border to mix up colours! Rather than one plant reaching maturity and then sitting there lazily, it encourages multiples of this parent plant to spread out and help provide even more interest in your garden.
Picking plants that flower at different times of the year ensures your border always has something eye-catching to enjoy but it’s essential to break up the colour with foliage interest that will last all year round. If your garden is shady it’s going to be more suited to woodland plants and many of these flower in the spring. If your garden is south-facing and sunny, grey-leaved plants will love this position and most flower in summer. Add one large-leaved bold plant or one in a strong colour if you can. Cotinus, for instance, will inject a blast of burgundy-red foliage that sets off neutral grasses making the border much more colourful. It’s important to mix the textures by adding plants with a vertical presence such as kniphofias, verbascums, veronicastrums and aconitums. Or you could use upright grasses such as Calamagrostis.
Many people make the fundamental mistake of planting one specimen of each plant so they end up using lots of different plants. If you do this, you will create a pincushion that will look bitty and unattractive. It’s far better to restrict your herbaceous plant choices and select, perhaps ten plants, that you love the look of. Make sure that they fit into your border’s timeline so that they overlap or coincide. Use a good, trusted supplier like Gordale Garden Centre and order in threes, fives, sevens or nines depending on your space. Then you’ll create a pleasing tapestry and your plants will mingle together in a natural way.
We have a broad selection of flower seeds that are ideal for filling borders, covering every colour palette and style of garden. Choose the border filler seeds to suit your style and look or ask one of our expert horticulturist what will suit your garden type. You can sow perennial seeds in your borders for long-lasting results that only get better with time or sow annual seeds in your borders to create a quick-to-establish cutting patch for armfuls of cut flowers. We have a wide range of varieties, colours and shapes to choose from. Browse our border filler seeds and fill your garden borders with scent, colour and texture.