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planning a border - where to start?


 
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:48 am    Post subject: planning a border - where to start? Reply with quote

Ok, at the moment I have a square lawn measuring about 120 sq feet. about a month ago I planted griselinia hedging on the south and east boundaries to enclose it from surrounding fields.
Now i want to do a border along the north boundary, it will be directly south facing, if that makes since, with a hedge(4' high) behind it.
I can't afford to just go out and buy plants to do 120' of a border, but where do I start to plan it.
Also what about colours? How many colours can you combine without making it gaudy? I love most coloured flowers seperately but how can I combine them without ruining it. Can I use a few colours together then make a kind of Foliage division and use different colours( even as I write that, it sounds odd looking)

Sorry for making it so long, but as you can see, I just don't know where to start.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The site search is your friend michelle M....... Planning perennial borders.
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for that, I had already read it, but it helped to read it a 2nd time. So I suppose if I make a list of what I would like and see then how they fit together height/colourwise and most importantly if they suit the soil and location. Does that seem ok to start with?
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Sive
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle, what a wonderful project! Here are my suggestions: go straight to your garden centre and buy packets of perennial seeds: go for the easier colours (white, lemon yellow, blues, mauves) and by next year you'll have a load of plants flowering that have cost you very little. If you can, go for flowers that encourage bees and butterflies ( avoid fussy double flowers etc) as they will be an important part of the beauty of your bed too.
As you love colour, I'd say go for it...nature is amazing how somehow all sorts of colours can look glorious together: the only colours that need a little more expertise are the orangey-yellows and orangey-reds. Don't forget you'll have masses of green (the most important colour of all) breaking it all up but uniting it too.
You need a contrast of soft and spikey, hummocky and vertical lines but don't forget you can move your plants around endlessly......nothing you do is fixed.....you can make improvements the following year. Be daring!
The one thing that I feel is very important is repetition.....a 120' bed is very long, and it could end up as a huge mass of restlessness....but if you repeat some plants or groups of plants, it unites the whole, pleases the eye and imparts a certain rhythm.....or punctuation.
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 8:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Sive, that is a great help. I've read loads about borders, but a bit of advice personally directed to my project, seems so much clearer.
I have to admit, i never actually thought of growing plants from seed for this. I had just imagined having to spend a fortune on plants, so kept putting it off.
I really needed something to go on, colourwise also.Its the bright colours that stand out on the pictures and I couldn't decide which one's I prefered so I was imagining a huge bright rainbow mess Laughing
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Sive
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PostPosted: Wed Mar 25, 2009 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi again Michelle, I'll just mention some plants that I grew from seed last year....lupins, foxgloves, verbena bonariensis (must-have, butterflies love them, and leave the seed heads overwinter and you'll have goldfinches feeding on them)and aquilegias.
Just remember, if you start perennials from seed, they mostly won't flower till the second year.....check the information on the seedpackets, and have patience!
Add in some crocosmia Lucifer or similar, and you get the gorgeous fresh green of the spiky leaves for ages before the flowers themselves...... and the hardy geraniums are wonderful for mounds of colour to the front of the border.
Another good idea is to visit your garden centre weekly and see what is in flower.....and if you buy, you can often divide up the plant before planting, and get better value!
The main thing is to get started, and your confidence will build up very quickly. Enjoy!
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks again Sive for the suggestions. I must google them now to see what they are like.
Am I right in thinking that the crocosmia Lucifer grows from some kind of bulb. If it's what I think it is, I remember my granny dividing plants years ago, and my mother in law has loads so I'll be over robbing some of her's Laughing . If I'm right about that, I presume autumn/winter is the time to do it.
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James Kilkelly
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 26, 2009 11:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You are right michelle M, Crocosmia is a perennial sprouting from a bulb/corm.
It has a nice "wild" look and will be colourful in the summer.

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ormondsview
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 5:04 pm    Post subject: Crocosmia Reply with quote

Are there varieties of this roadside bulb or is it the same genus or species? I'm looking at it on ebay and vendor says
Quote:
When the Greeks first discovered crocosmia in South Africa they found it smelled like saffron so they named it Krokos (saffron) and osme (smell).

The leaves are flat and look like swords and the blooms last a long time in the garden. Best of all we are fortunate to have hummingbirds that love to hang out all day in the flowers.

we tend to call the red Lucifer Crocosmia and the orange and yellow Montbretia. Napoleon was responsible for bringing many African plants into Europe. The Dutch call all of them Crocosmia. Both names are used in America.


My neighbour gave me a look when I was planting it from stealing bulbs from roadside ditches, because it is a deer magnet.

Any thoughts? Plant this or no? Free is a good price for me.



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kindredspirit
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 24, 2009 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
When the Greeks first discovered crocosmia in South Africa they found it smelled like saffron so they named it Krokos (saffron) and osme (smell).


The Greeks went to South Africa??? When???

The Crocosmia you find on the roadsides has an orange flower and likes to spread.

One nice variety that unfortunately you can't dig up in your local garden centre is "Crocosmia Lucifer". It's taller than the roadside species and has red flowers: it's quite impressive.

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A little garden in Co. Limerick.Some non-gardening photographs.
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ormondsview
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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2009 4:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Greeks went to South Africa by West Jet and Ryan Air.

I guess the red variety is the one which they advertise as being rare.http://cgi.ebay.com/Rare-Perennials-Crocosmia-Lucifer-Cut-Flower-Seeds_W0QQitemZ120505650028QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item1c0eb24b6c Greeks probably were there in the days when Greeks traveled the oceans in Ulysses' times. Fiction is often based on facts. Prerecorded history. But question is, will the deer go after the expensive type just as much and then, where's the benefit?

Why sell as seed when the other is a bulb, so will flower within just one season.
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breezyacre
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 1:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Michelle. Am interested in your project as I did something similar about 20 years ago. Can't believe it is that long ago. Some things I have discovered a long the way, that may seem very obvious to you but were not obvious to me at the time, are that taller plants look better at the back of the bed, you can plant bulbs( daffs.etc) for early colour and you can supplement with hardy annual seeds which will flower late in the same year they are planted. After a while you will get to know others who have a border and they will be happy to swap or indeed to donate divisions of their plants with you.
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michelle M
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My project hasn't got off the ground yet, the garden got too wet before I had a chance.But I've high hopes for spring. I'm still deciding on plants. There is so much to choose from, I'm having difficulty narrowing down my list.

breezyacre, I'd love to see pic's, if you have time to post them up. Or anyone else's mature borders for inspiration. Bad time of year to be looking for garden photo's, I know.
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