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Garden Beds and gate
Flower Borders with  centranthus, foxglove  and stachys.

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Garden Beds and gate
 Page 28
Flower Borders Full of Colour. 

        Single-colour beds con be cool and sophisticated,  like the silver border of centranthus, foxglove  and stachys above.

Prolific Perennials.

        The Hardiest Perennials.
Perennials  thrive in difficult  conditions, and they are remarkably  long-lived. Here  are some of the most robust.
In poor, dry soils:  Valerian, erigeron,  gaura,  antennaria, poientilla,  anthemis,  achillea,  hollyhocks,  wormwood (Artemisia) and centaurea.
In shady areas:  Foxgloves  (Digitalis),  astrantia,  lady's mantle (Alchemilla),  lungwort  (Pulnonaria), euphorbia,  aconites  and giant for-get-me-not  (Brunnera).
In chalky soils: Achillea, limonium, chrysanthemums (Leucanthemum  and Dendranthemum),  anthemis,  centaurea, hellebores, helianthemum,  gypsophila,  gaillardia, valerian, aubrieta,  asters,  bergenia  and arabis.
In acid  soils: Corydalis,  potentilla,  Pasque flower  (Putsatilla)
and lily of the valley (Convallaria).
Long-flowering perennials:  Achillea,  anthemis, penstemon, verbena,  cranesbill (Geranium), gaura, bee balm  (Monarda), diascia,  bellflowers (Campanula),  centaurea, coreopsis, gaillardia,  nepeta, potentilla and delphinium.

Reduce  your workload: Cut down on maintenance  by planting  perennials in large patches  and restricting  the number of species  used.  This means  in autumn  you can cut back the
dying plants all at the same  time,  using a pair of shears to work quickly across the entire bed.
  • Wait until winter has  passed, however,  to cut back tender perennials such as verbascum  and salvia. The dead stems protect  the crown  during bad weather and can also look very attractive  covered  with hoarfrost in winter.
Successful  transplants:  Most perennials  can be easily transplanted,  so long as you prepare the planting area with a compost mixture and are careful not to damage the roots when you move them. The dormant season  is the best time to do this. If you don't have the chance to do this in the autumn, avoid  the cold  weather and wait to transplant  until early spring, just before regrowth begins.
Moving home-loving  plants: Hostas, peonies  and hellebores do not like being  moved and take a long time to become established.  If you have to move them, make sure you take up the entire rootball  and water frequently during the first  year until their roots have spread.  Flowering  after transplanting  is unpredictable  however,  so be patient.
  • Be careful not to bury peony  buds  too deeply.  Make  sure they are planted  just below  the surface,  or there is a chance that they will never  flower.
Perennials  for the vase:  Many perennials  will last well as cut stems in a vase. Pick them in the morning, just after they open and before  the sun is too high. The best species  for cutting are agapanthus, anthemis, astilbe, bee balm  (Monarda didyma), centaurea,  chrysanthemum  (Leucanth  emum),  coneflower (Echinacea), crocosmia, delphinium, dicentra,  epilobium, gaura, gypsophila,  heliopsis, liatris, peonies,  phlox, primula,rose campion  (Lychnis),  salvia, golden  rod (Solidago), sunflowers  (Helianthus)  and valerian.
 If you like arrangements  of dried  flowers,  then grow anaphalis, achillea,  Chinese lantern (Physalis  alkekengii), camomile,  globe thistle (Echinops),  honesty (Lunaria annua) and statice (Limonium).
Top tips for staking:  Tall plants, or those  with heavy  flowers,  often need staking to keep them upright.
  • Peonies and delphiniums : Insert twiggy branches  from hazel or silver birch into the soil around the clump  and slant half of them inwards  to support  the centre  of the plants. You can also buy cages or linked stakes, through which the plant will grow.
  • Delphiniums: Insert a single, sturdy  stake in the ground  near  the base when planting, being  careful not to damage  the root system,  and attach the stem to the stake  as  it grows. The fastener  should be flexible so it does  not impede  the growth of the stem.
  • Maintaining on edge:  For discreet staking along the entire length of the border,  put in a thin wooden  stake at each end of the bed and extend raffia, string  or green plastic garden  twine between  the stakes. The support  will soon be hidden by the foliage.
Clumping Perenials
  • Clumping  perennials:   Insert three or four bamboo  or plastic stakes in the ground  around  the clump  and tie a length of string or raffia around them, about  halfway up.  You can raise the height gradually  as the clump  grows.
  • Hosepipe  damage:  It is surprising how much damage you can do to flower beds by dragging your hosepipe  behind you when you water. Avoid  this when setting out your beds by putting in some small wooden  stakes to guide your hose safely  past vulnerable  plants.
  • Opt for easy-to-grow  species:  Heuchera, elephant's  ears (Bergenia),  santolina,  silene,  salvia,  phlox,  lychnis , campanula,  aquilegia, Hattie's  pincushion  (Astrantia), hellebores  and tradescantia are all relatively  undemanding.
Flower beds with good  edges:  Protect your grass and make it easier to mow by creating  a paved  path  about  30-50cm wide  along the edge  of your flower  beds. The bushy foliage of the border  plants will soon  spill over to soften the edges: much better than them spreading onto the lawn, getting in the way  when you are mowing and killing the grass.
Be Careful.
Always wear gloves
Never handle spurge (Euphorbia), common rue (Ruta graveolens)  or giant hogweed  (Heracleum mantegazzianum)  with bare  hands.  They are poisonous  and can irritate the skin. It is essential  to wear  gardening  gloves  when planting,  cutting, dividing or transplanting  these species.
In fact, it is a good idea to protect  your nails and hands with gloves  when  planting  or tending any perennials.

Prolific Perennials.

Spreading,  creeping  and self-seeding perennials  will cover walls,  banks  and other large areas in just a couple of years.
Helianthemum:  This spreading  plant rapidly carpets  large areas of sandy.  well-drained  soil, as long as it is in the sun.
Bellflower:  Campanula  portenschlagiana and C. carpatica  will cover low walls and
edge paths in record time.
Geranium:   All types  of hardy geranium spread quickly, including  Geranium macrorrhizum,
G. pratense,  G. sanguineum  and G. endresii. They can be invasive in small  gardens.
Foxgloves:  lf you are not careful, foxgloves  (Digitalis) will run riot in sun  or shade. A single plant can seed  itself over an entire garden.  To restrict it to one area,  cut the flower  stems  before they have  completely shed  their flowers and the seeds  will not mature.


Mini Index
 Skips pages. Gets you to a general area.
Garden Bulbs.
Lillies& Alliums.
Flowers until Frost.
Annuals For Summer.
Borders Full of Colour.
 Collecting Seeds.
Foliage Plants.
Garden Gate and flower borders
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