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Perennial geraniums come in many different sorts for sun for shade, pink, blue, purple, white and are easy to care for, good ground cover. Veronicas, rudbeckias, campanulas, phlox, penstemons, michaelmas daisies, to name but a few. Here is a site with lots of pictures. I don't know if they are any good to buy plants from, I prefer to see what I buy in a Garden Centre or plant sale.
What a lucky lady you are with all that space to fill ! Are the beds wide enough to consider a tree or two or some shrubs to give you structure and height to your borders? because you'll want something to look at in winter when the perennials go to ground.How about an apple tree I'd love to have space for one. I have a lilac shrub which I keep pruned to about 7ft so we can enjoy the scented blossom then through it I grow clematis to give it added interest.As for perennials I would agree with Lizzie hardy geraniums are real troupers and flower for months some are evergreen too Wargrave Pink and Buxtons Blue for example. I would also add some low growing perennials ,Prunella Lovely Lilac is great for the bees all these can be devided easily after a couple of years .
Hardy geraniums are great - you can split them into bits and they'll grow away and fill space quickly. Most are unfussy about conditions and flower for ages. Some, like ger. phaeum, self seed too. The seedlings are easy to recognise, flower quickly, and transplant easily too. Daylilies are also easy - hemerocallis - and their strappy foliage is good for contrast. Sedum spectabile (ice plant) is quick to bulk up, late to flower and very popular with bees and butterflies. Again, easy to split and increase your stock. Some good-sized flowering shrubs would be a good idea too, and perhaps some grasses.
Thanks for your responses, at the moment the border is not wide as i wanted to start slowly rather than do my usual and try and do everything all at once! Its about 2 spades width right up the length of the lawn, my long term goal though is to put shape into the borders and bring them out into the lawn area so that eventually I have more flower beds than lawn. I already planted an apple tree 2 years ago about 5 foot in from the border at the top of the garden and my lovely neighbour has just bought me a cherry blossom which is going to need planting. I'm ideally looking for plants that with have both height and width to hide the horrid fence we have as i cant afford to replace such a large area, love the idea of a lilac shrub with clematis growing through it and geraniums are one of my favorites as they come in strong colours, the biggest problem I have had the last 2 years is that what i plant on the right hand side grows fine but if I plant the same plants on the left they don't do very well, mainly due to the shadow from next doors plants i think, hense why i need some new ideas, i love this site, there are so many talented people on here to give those of us who are learning so really food advice...thank you
Can you grow climbers up the horrid fence, roses, clematis, honeysuckle?
Yes, I have 2 hunnysuckles on the go and did wonder about a climbing rose
On my shady border I have a climbing rose Compassion with a yellow and cream honeysuckle growing along my fence. When I first moved in my home and began to start a garden money was tight. That first sping I dug new beds improved the soil with grit,sharp sand and well rotted horse poop.Then I sowed annuals on my kitchen windowsill cosmos,sweetpeas, and a beautiful sunflower called Moulin Rouge. The sunflowers went in my shadier border and were amazing all up the garden they were multi-headed and grew high to find the sun. If you are able to go to any summer fetes church,school,village fayres or car boot sales these are a great way to fill those borders you can get some really healthy rare perrenials for a pound or two.
I have had quite a lot of sucess in partiel shade with red hot pokers,and orientel poppies which are both supposed to like sun they have both grown really well and i have had them planted for a number of years hope this is of some help