Friday, July 08, 2011

Bordering On A Summer

Borders are tricky, they can put out lots of color and then take a rest.  That's where annuals come in keeping things interesting and colorful until the next big display.

Blue Paradise is one of my favorite phlox introduced by Piet Oudolf.  It is not as sturdy as say David Phlox, but it is well worth staking for the continual summer and fall display if deadheaded.  Note it is blue in the morning.

And Magenta in the afternoon

The Knockouts are taking a break and the phlox and shasta daisies are filling in the display.

The border is anchored by annuals impatiens, snapdragons, coleus and allysum.

Impatiens Wild Thing
I started this from seed and only had eight out of twenty-five seeds germinate.  It is a wonderful impatiens, compact, strong and very floriforus, probably not in the nurseries because of its germination habit.

I also grew La Bella Snapdragon that I saw at the Chicago Flower and Garden show.  It was difficult to find the seeds but finally did at a Chicago based seed company called Germania.

Red Rum Daylily will be cut down when done blooming to make way for the impatiens Wild Thing and the Lime Coleus to take over.

The secret to effective borders is to have many plants peeking out to keep the interest up in down flowering times.

Jack Frost Brunnera peeks out all summer with its lovely foliage, a gerber daisy, roses, snapdragons and a shasta ready to bloom.

Peeking out is really the secret for an effective border, but this is where it becomes tricky to just have something leaning forward rather than being smothered by other plantings.

Blue Sunshine Geranium is my new favorite, much more delicate than Rozanne and allows everything to peek out!

Rozanne is a great geranium but it tends to climb over other plantings rather than weaving around and through.

Intensia Blueberry Hill belongs in the garden.  I had it in my containers and it looked messy and flopped, so I took it out and let it peek out behind other garden plantings, just lovely.

Keep the borders tight with plantings, verticals help keep the eyes moving along looking for patterns.  Obelisks, trellises, fence planters and arbors keep the garden interesting.  The irises on the bottom right keep the eye going upward even though it is only foliage.

Another thing that keeps a border interesting is the use of tall and short plantings in succession.

Some plants in a sunny border are banished to the back where shade takes over.  Here is Maggie Daley astilbe with Ghost Fern very happy even though everything in front of them is part of a sun loving group.


Darla said...

What a great post with wonderful tips! Your gardens are so pretty.

Diane said...

Oh, your phlox are just beautiful. Mine will bloom a fair bit later. They are such a favourite. Your colours are gorgeous.

Happy FF.

Sissy said...

You are right about the Intensia phlox. It looks so green and healthy where you have it, but in containers it is rangy and weak!
You have a beautiful border!

Beth said...

Great post, Eileen, and I love the look at your garden and the advice in the third to the last photo.
Blessings Beth

Tootsie said...

lady!!!!! I am so excited!!! I am absolutely loving your photos this week!!! what a gorgeous garden my friend!!!
Thank you so much for linking in this week...I am so very happy you did and certainly do hope it is not the last flaunt you will do with me! Have a great weekend friend!

Tootsie said...

girl...I am doing a post on cottage gardens...I am wondering if you would mind if I used some of your photos? I would of course watermark them to your blog...and link to you and send those who read your way to oooh and aaah over your garden....let me know ok?
if you know anyone else with cottage style gardens...can you send them my way? I want to share some friendly gardens in the upcoming part of the series!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Tootsie,

Yes, you may use the photos and maybe you would like to use some from my post on the Collector's Garden Revisited.


Lona said...

Beautiful flowers and a great posting Eileen. I need you here to sort my borders out. I am not certain I even have any. LOL! I have just got to get out into the garden, have a good look and jot some changes down for this Fall. Have a wonderful weekend!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful, and thanks for the tips. I love that phlox!

Becca's Dirt said...

Beautiful Eileen. You have so much good advice. Your gardens are so pretty and the foliage is interesting. Lovely eye candy. Love that Blue Paradise Phlox.

Alison said...

Thanks for the great tips! I do try to keep my borders pretty full, and to vary the foliage so that I get a nice contrast, but I am not so good at composing a bed that keeps the eyes moving and then resting. I need to figure that out.

You have some beautiful flowers too. How interesting that the phlox changes color in the afternoon.

Michele said...

I look so forward to your posts and pictures. Maybe one day my garden will grow up to look half as good! I get so many great ideas for plants-do you usually collect and grow from seed or start with a nursery one first?

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Darla,

As the plants get bigger it is difficult keeping up with the watering.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

THanks Diane,

I am really beginning to rely on phlox more for its heat resistance and continual blooming.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I would grow it again but not in pots. I found it also needs deadheading to keep going.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Beth,

I was afraid to plant in masses years ago, but I find it works if you have the right plants.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I will be bsck again and again.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


I keep switching things around. I am already planning on moving a couple of things in the fall.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Rosie,

The phlox is fast becoming one of my favorite plants. Blue Paradise is very fragrant.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Becca,

Blue Paradise is probably my favorite. I have it planted in a few places around the house.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Alison,

I didn't realize that Blue Paradise changed colors until I read about it on the internet. I thought I was just imagining it. It is also fragrant.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Michele,

I do grow some of the difficult to find annuals but not the perennials. I go to the nursery and buy at least one gallon plants.


Zoey said...

Your borders are looking great. That Blue Paradise phlox is very interesting. I don't think I have ever heard of one that changes color by the hour.

You do seem to have a green thumb when it comes to seeds. Hardly any of the seeds I planted in the ground have survived.

Shirley @ The Gardening LIfe said...

The blooms in your garden are lovely and the foliage of Jack Frost Brunnera and the Ghost Fern are striking additions!

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Zoey,

Blue Paradise is listed as actually changing colors throughout the day. I didn't know this until I looked it up on the internet a couple of years after watching it do this throughout the day.

I start my seeds indoors under plant lights. I am not very successful either with starting them outdoors.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks SHirley,

I am really liking that Jack Frost Brunnera, new this year.


Lily said...

Your garden is beautiful.

The Tablescaper said...

Love that the phlox changes color throughout the day. Both colors are spectacular.

- The Tablescaper

Grace said...

The second to the last photo is my favorite. I love the basket of flowers on the fence, the PINK Lythrum? and daylily. Gorgeous!

Jenny Schouten Short said...

Exquisite, all of it! xo Jenny

CanadianGardenJoy said...

Eileen I love your borders girl !
I am just beginning to add some annuals .. for a very long time I kept them banished to pots .. except herbs .. those I love scattered every where. So you have given me some great ideas to use for next year : )
I have a "fear of phlox" for some reason .. powdery mildew, I just hate it and try very hard to deal with it right away .. I know there are home made sprays etc .. you can make .. but I am finding upkeep of the gardens a huge monster now .. I have to make things as easy as possible .. do you find that is a problem too ?

Karen said...

Eileen, your borders are amazing. You forgot to add that to keep them as beautiful as yours are, you have to be a diligent, tireless gardener and this fact certainly shows in your gardens.

Rosie@leavesnbloom said...

Hi Eileen your borders are looking so beautiful just now. I have a question about the daylillies. You mention that you cut them down after flowering - do you mean just the flowering stems or all of the leaves aswell as I've never cut down the leaves after flowering but it certainly would make room for other things later in the season.

Gatsbys Gardens said...


I cut them to the ground, they get all new leaves and act as a groundcover for the fall. I cut them back and clean them up in the spring and feed them an organic 5-3-3 fertilizer.

If anything, they bloom fuller each year, cutting does not affect the bloom. All of the daylily scapes I order are cut to three inch scapes and they bloom the first year. Hope this helps!


Balisha said...

I know when I come here...I'm in for a I just sit back and relax and take in all the beauty. Thanks for being a part of my day...Balisha

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Joy,

I have a little trouble with phlox every year. For many years I sprayed a fungidice when I noticed the mildew, secret is to spray it in the beginning of the season. Fungicides are preventitives not cures. So, this year I sprayed early and very little mildew.

If they are planted with other plantings in front you will not notice any yellowing leaves. They certainly withstand the heat and humidity.

I have a new one this year called Bubblegum, not one bit of mildew.


Gatsbys Gardens said...


You are correct it is a daily job! As you know, the hours go by quickly when working in the garden.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Hi Tablescaper,

The Blue Paradise Phlox is also very fragrant.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Grace, that is a very narrow strip and this is where I have the Persicaria which may have to be moved because it does not stand up to wind or storms.


Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks so much Balisha for the kind comments.


allanbecker-gardenguru said...

Superb presentation about designing fabulous borders. I have bookmarked this post to help me teach others how to do it.

Gatsbys Gardens said...

Thanks Allan for the kind remarks. I know we both enjoy doing borders.


Indoor Fountains said...

The Blue Paradide ae magnificent.