Tips for Perennial Border


An early autumn border – plenty of colour and interest.

The perennial border is one of the great joys of the English garden. It is like an open canvas, constantly changing and evolving. Crammed full of plants it can offer a great display throughout the year. With careful planning and preparation the home gardener can enjoy a perennial border like these photos here.

Tips for the Perennial Border

Contrast. It is important to have some interesting contrast within a border. THis doesn’t have to be opposite colours. Contrast can involve contrast of form, height and movement. Contrast gives any border more interest.

Height. tall plants help a border become three dimensional rather than a two dimensional bedding plant scheme you may see in your local park. For example, Verbena Bonariensis

Movement. Plants which sway in the breeze help give an added interest to the garden. It creates a sense of drama in the border. See: Movement in the garden


A July Border

Be Bold. For effect be prepared to plant in drifts and large groups. Don’t just plant he odd plant here and there, it can be more powerful to see long drifts. At the same time you don’t need to plant in regimented blocks, allow a plant to move throughout the border.

Focal plants. throughout the growing season, you want some plants which really make people stop and appreciate them. For example, the stately delphiniums are harder work and definitely need protecting from wind and slugs. But they are the queens of the border and will repay your hard work.


Use help of annuals. If a few annuals help provide a greater effect, don’t worry. There are no rules. For example, Nigella is excellent for filling in a few gaps in the border. They self seed so easily that they are almost as good as a perennial.

Enjoy Different Shapes as well as Different Colours
Coneflower point to the sky

Water. Don’t let all your hard work go to waste because of a prolonged dry spell. Water before plants start to wilt. See watering tips

White Lupins in border

Feeding. As you are trying to grow a lot of plants in a small space, you will need to feed but make sure you don’t overfeed with nitrogen as you could encourage too much each growth.

Pests and slugs. There is no getting away from the fact that slugs and aphids can destroy your prize perennials. Use the preventative measures in the two links above

Dead heading This is one of the most pleasant and rewarding jobs in the garden is dead heading plants. This will help more blooms come and prolong the flowering season.

Plan ahead. A perennial border can look good throughout the year. As one is dying back you can have something coming in it’s place. For example as albums die back in June you can have lilies or dahlias coming to hide their dying leaves.

One Response to Tips for Perennial Border

  1. J H Dickens August 29, 2011 at 16.03 #

    I want to re-design my garden with colourful shrubs or flowers all year round

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