Two Borders, Two Looks

This spring flower border is at its peak and is a wonderful mix of spring flowering plants

This spring flower border is at its peak, and is a wonderful mix of spring flowering plants.

This border is a progressional bloom border that does not ever all come into flower all at once.

This border is a progressional bloom border that does not ever come into flower all at once.

These two borders really show different concepts in how each was designed and how they flower. This first image is my friends Leslie and Jon’s border that separates the gravel drive from their grass lawn. It is the focal point of their garden, and right now it is in full spring bloom. The New Dawn roses trained along a low split rail provide unity to the design, as well as the repeated plant color like the fox gloves and pansies. Also note that all of the colors are in purple, pink, and pale red tones, so it give a pleasing look even though there are lots of types of plants. Once the spring flowers finish, they will add summer color including a few veggies. This is a very beautiful summer border.
My border, on the other hand, is a very different concept. It is designed with a flowering shrub backdrop, and the shrub blooms vary by season. In the image, the snowflake and harmony hydrangeas are coming into bloom. But here is the big difference: I have various plants that come into bloom at different times of the year. Now the dominant flowers are the Suzy Wong yellow daylilies. Also, daisies are blooming. Before that, the flowers were daffodils followed by bearded iris and amaryllis. As the daylilies fade the summer blue and purple salvia plus a few lilies will come into bloom, and colorful coneflowers will add a selection of yellow and red tones with the background shrub being white buckeye in mid-summer. And this kind of bloom sequence continues until frost. Then fall color and berries of the shrubs take over until winter when I covere the border with fresh pine straw.
So, the effect is spots of blooms in various parts of the border, but continuous blooms.
Leslie and Jon’s border is a great mix of annuals, biennials, and perennials with a few herbs and veggies and has a show stopping total border look, where mine is a continuous bloom look with mostly perennials. Both work well in these gardens.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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