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I'm planning a new bed for the front garden - alkali, west facing on good loam but a bit of a frost pocket.  The bed is going to be roughly L-shaped with a trellis 'fence' behind one 'leg' which hides the bins. The 'leg' across the front of the house will be 4m x 1.5m and  the other leg will be 3m x 2m at it's widest, but mainly 3m x 1m because of the bins behind the trellis.  

I have some plants I have been saving for this bed - one particular one is a special Bearded Iris Boxford Spice - this was hybridised by the late Ellis Carpenter whose daughter is my daughter's friend - it's not commercially available and I'm very lucky to have some rhizomes which are being kept for me   It's a wonderful mix of colours, magenta/gold/browny-bronze and creamy-tan details here .  My idea is for this to be at one end of the bed near the front door, Paeonia mlokosewitschii  will live nearby and Clematis viticella Purpurea Plena Elegans   will be behind them. 

At the other end I will have  Clematis Daniel Deronda  and Clematis Will Goodwin and possibly a pink one will look good there too along with my Rosa glauca (thank you Fidget) .

Any suggestions for other plants to go with these?

I'd quite like some height - something tall which would look good from the west facing window at sunset perhaps?  And I'd like something to give winter interest - maybe Cornus Midwinter Fire?

What do you think?

Oh, I forgot, there's also a Viburnum Bodnatense Charles Lamont to fit in somewhere 



Hi Dove, I would'nt pretend that I could give you any advice on planting plans(the veg plot is my domain) but my better half has got me to appreciate the flower borders over the years.

We make regular visits to  Wisley and one of the plants we both love is the Actaea simplex, good for adding some height.

Look forward to seeing the replies on this thread and the final result.

Bit early to get thinking cap on yet dove but it sounds exciting.

Midwinter fire is, for me, weak and disappointing and prone to die back.  Prefer elegantissima and aurea.

How about a couple of heleniums in your bronze/gold bed?  Height, long flowering and  vigorous.  

Spireas like goldflame would add solid shape and colour (orange with red tips in spring and again during the summer if clipped back)   Photinia little robin is a nice looking shrub with.....I think....less leaf problems than its bigger cousins and good red leaf colour on smaller leaves 

Echinaceas like tiki torch (orange) sunset (red) marmalade (double orange) etc too. 

For a blue element at the front of the border...amd inmthe sunniest poss spot....linum perenne provides glaucous waving foliage and delightful pale blue flowers.....great near that orange spirea (?)

For another yellow/orange evergreen "shape" how about Taxus Coppershine?  Easy adaptable plant.  Mid spring produces orange foliage with brighter oratips new growth.    Foliage changes throughout the year. 

Just noticed scroggin's suggestion.  I love acteas too.  Beautiful purple/brown foliage and scented flowers in late summer but,doesn't like strong sunshine so didn't suggest this.  A bit of shade there perhaps? 


You're right Verdun - exciting!!!  I like the sound of your ideas - will have to do some googling and drawing and colouring in 

Can't find Taxus Coppershine - sounds lovely but can't find it anywhere on the web 



And Cornus alba aurea is one that I had been thinking of but couldn't remember it's name - I thought it would probably look good in the summer in front of the violet-blue of Clem. Daniel Deronda - but what to underplant with for the spring when it's been cut back ????


Hi Verdun, I have seen the Acteas growing in the main border at Wisley and that is pretty sunny, they also grow them on the border alongside Battlestone hill which is shaded so maybe still a possibility?


Dove, no input from me, I've been poor at  planning, too many impulse buys. Things that I think look good together in this garden have arrived in location by luck.

 I've quite a few plants that need re-locating. Some will be going, which isn't something I'd have done before joining the forum and reading about all the lovely plants available. I used to try to like certain plants that I have because they had performed but now I appear to have become critical.  

Will really look forward to seeing your new bed as it develops


Ok, not a photo person...too much....but will publish one of Coppershine.  It will be at its best mid spring I guess.  Agree it's not readily available now is it?  Cant remember where I got it but it's a few years old now.   I will have to propagate it and sell it to make my fortune   I trim it at summer's end so it averages 4' high and 5' across 

Scroggin, yes, acteas can grow in the sun but then need good moisture retentive soil or those lovely coloured leaves will crisp and curl.  I make sure my acteas receive top up of water too now and then

Dove, frikartii monch, verbena rigida, even geranium rozanne in front of Cornus aurea?   Better still geranium black beauty.....almost black foliage, mound forming (so 3) and gentian blue flowers in summer.  For a bit more corneyness how about hackonochloa next to black beauty? 


Verdun, I love frikarti monch - it's on my Wanted List - and I have geranium rozanne so can propagate that for the front garden .  I don't know Verbena rigida, but having googled it looks fabulous.  And there might just be a space for hackonochloa  - and then of course, there's a certain dahlia to take pride of place   That'll look good against something with dark bronzey-black foliage 

It's really good to bounce these ideas around - there's so much choice - sharing ideas helps me to focus 

Ha ha dove    I can sense your keenness from here 

Oh, just occurred too.  Carex testacea ....lovely waving olive grass, ok, sedge.  Would complement bronze, gold,,brown etc



Oh Verdun, I don't know that carex, but it's gorgeous, thanks for suggesting it 

 It'll pick out the spicy colours in the Boxford Spice 

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