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I have a fairly new herbaceous border but struggling with what to plant to avoid complete bare area for later in year plus spring.  Currently have rudbeckia, helenium, helianthus, aquiligea, geum, crocosmia, penstemon. Up until now looked like a huge patch of dirt only - heavy clay soil, south facing.

sedums, flag iris, osteospernum, hellebores, abutilon, perenial geraniums, how's that for starters?

Great, was thinking of just yellow/orange colours but of course it doesn't matter if flowering at different times in the year does it; thank you.


A drift or two of daffs and narcissus for spring means you can have perennials in the same spot which will replace them later on. Some of the early species Tulips come in orangey/yellows and they would give early colour . I'd suggest a few evergreens for structure over the winter and early spring too. You can keep it very simple using some of the smaller Hebes  although you'd need to dig in some grit so that they're happier in the soil over winter, and, if you like them, some of the smaller grasses like Carexes will be fine there. 

Hiya jenny

For foliage colour as  well as late summer flowers check out acteas.  Womderful architectural shape and red/brown leaves.  Would love heavy soil. Aconitums too would like it there. Astilbes and astrantias like heavy soil.  

I currently have geum Totally  Tangerine in flower. It will flower for months in a delightful orange colour.  Get aster frikartii monch alongside and you will have a lomg flowering orange and blue association.

There are some fantastic orange echinaceas now but you will need to improve drainage locally for them a little.  

Coreopsis too....yellows, reds and orange yellow.  

For your orange/yellow scheme consider spireas like goldflame.  Orange new shoots on yellow foliage.  Pink flowers but I cut back a little to encourage brilliant foliage.  Yellow and even orange foliage on Heucheras all year round.  

Yellow and orange bulbs like daffodils,tulips and lilies will add splashes of colour


Many thanks to everyone...great and encouraging ideas to try.

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