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02/06/2013 at 19:11

I have 4 slightly raised borders (sleepers as we are below next doors garden), each 2.4m long and 1m deep in one long row along the fence.

I have been researching what I like and don't like etc for ages and decided today to bit the bullet and buy some plants to at least start me off and I can keep adding as funds allow.

So I brought -

1 Stipa gigantea

2 Stipa tenuissima

1 Coprosma

4 Palace purple heuchera

2 Hebe, the bushier heart breaker

2 white lupins

1 white and 1 pink Salvia

They are currently soaking but I did place them out to get an idea and I have no idea how to arrange them! Do I put them all in one bed or spread them out? How is best to arrange them without it looking odd (which it did when I put them out). I would like a border that has interest all year and is not too difficult to manage, what else would go well with what I have brought?

Any tips greatfully recieved. 

02/06/2013 at 19:43

It sounds like your border backs onto a wall/fence etc.? If so then put the ones that ill grow tall at the back and the smaller ones at the front. They should all have growing instructions which will tell you eventual height, planting depth/width, conditions etc.

I always dig a whole twice the width of the pot, put some compost in the bottom (home-made or bought), water well - about quarter to half a watering can full (depends on the size of the plant), sprinkle a bit of bonemeal in and put the plant in. Firm it in by hand, add a bit more water, make a cup of tea and read a gardening mag

02/06/2013 at 19:55

It runs along a fence. I had put the stipa gigantea and the coprosma at the back, then grouped the Hebe and the Heuchera one side and the lupins and salvia the other, wasn't sure if I should intergrate them more? Or put the heuchera and the salvia along the front as its the shortest and then the lupins and hebes in the middle, it just looks odd!

02/06/2013 at 20:03

Loving the choices you made. Good luck

02/06/2013 at 20:12

I second putting the tall ones at the back. Don't worry too much about it looking odd.

It might be a good idea to get batches of mixed sizes, or get the tall ones first, and plant from end to end or from back to front, rather than just getting a few things each time and trying to predict where they'll go.

Advice on soil type, position and eventual size can often be found on a seller's website, and Crocus for one has a handy "goes well with" at the bottom for inspiration.

Bit of a difference between 2.5m and 60cm there. I'd be careful with the feather grass as it looks like permanent foliage, and you don't want to "lose" other plants behind that. I note that the first one has "pheasant's tail grass" as a recommended companion, so maybe that and the "feather grass" could go around its base. Both also recommend one Allium or another, so consider a seasonal patch of those.

Now that's spectacular foliage. It says it forms dense shrubs. I'd say allocate it some space along the back and prune it every early spring to get it to grow dense and bushy and really fill that space.

Fancy foliage and 60cm high again, so I'd put that and some grasses with your giant Stipa and both the feather grasses with the Coprosma. The recommended bugle looks like a good one for either side.

Again, colourful year-round 60cm foliage, so mix in with the others at the front.

1.2m flowering some of the year. That'd go on both sides of and between the two tall things, for me.

The Salvias look a little delicate compared to the others, so I'm not sure how 'd mix them in. Maybe what you need is a dozen of each colour so you can put a broad row of them along the front edge. You could mix it with these:

... which should take over the flowering duty around the time the Salvias are quitting.

That's another recommendation for a "purple ball" Allium as a companion. They are lovely, but I'm not sure how I'd mix them in with your selection. If you planted them among the grasses you'd get the flowers in among the tops of the grasses, which probably isn't what you want. You could mix them with the Salvias to get different flower styles together, but they've got a similar flowering period so you wouldn't be extending that.

I think you need more of the smaller plants to create areas of them. I'd go for a whole bed containing the two big ones at the back with lupins around them, the grasses, heuchera and hebe through the middle and the Salvia, Allium and/or Dianthus along the front.

02/06/2013 at 20:38

Thanks very much Charlie November, very helpful I did wonder if I needed more of the Salvia but in all honestly I brought those and the lupin because they were 4 for £10 lol, I love the dianthus, thanks for that suggestion. I had planned to put some alliums in too as I love those as well. I dug over one bed today and added a combination of compost I made and a bag of compost to improve it abit, I will leave them to soak then I will have another play aorund with the spacing etc.


02/06/2013 at 20:39

One of the best lessons I've learned about gardening is that it's not like decoating a room. You try things, if they work, great. If not, they can be shuffled about. Sensible advice to plant taller stuff at the back, but the mostimportant thing is to plant your space up with things you like, then see how it goes. Gardening is dynamic.

02/06/2013 at 20:43

and evolutionary. Yes unlike decorating if you don't the the pattern it doesn't cost a lot to move them round. Which is why I spend a lot of time gardening and not a lot of time decorating 

03/06/2013 at 00:02

love the plants.  most of those plants can be split or propagated so you will have more of them

stipa gigantea is a fabulous plant....mine is 8 feet high with loads of plumes and is wonderful in the sun. dry, warm conditions.  dont put other tall plants near it just let it be the biggest thing there.  tennuissima likes similar conditions...prob even even drier...and is a front of the  border billowing grass all summer

i would plant a white lupin behind the heuchera and the other next to coprosma.  tennuissima next to heuchera.  white salvia well away from white will "outwhite" the other

pink salvia near your heartbreaker hebe

place them out in their pots first and just see if they look right before planting.

gigantea grows wide too so obviously allow extra space for it

nice foliage and flower mkixture


05/06/2013 at 21:50

Thanks for all the replys Just thought I would update after I have planted. I put the coprosma in a separate bed to give it room and will look for friends for it soon!

I put 2 heucheras backed by a lupin in one side of a bed and the other side I put the big stipa and I will get some lavander to circle the stipa I think.

The other bed is the other 2 heucheras and the lupin one one side and on the other is the 2 hebes with the salvia, with the grasses in between the lot. I will see how they come on and how they look together.

How long do they all start to spread out? Looks so bare atm!


05/06/2013 at 21:55

It always looks bare to start with OD

Every year about April I look at my garden and think I need lots more plants. By May I'm wondering where I'm going to put all the plants I've grown/bought. 

05/06/2013 at 21:59

Ditto that nut!

05/06/2013 at 22:21

That's ok then thanks 

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