Colourful Flower Beds and Borders

Beds and borders are inevitably focal points in any garden and to start the season with a bright and pretty and colourful effect, spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, hyacinths, tulips, crocuses and other smaller bulbs are unparalleled.

Flower beds are basically formal and temporary. Bulbs and other plants are removed at the completion of the spring-flowering season and the spaces are then replanted with decorative summer-flowering subjects.

Borders, on the other hand, are usually completely informal and less stylised than bedding arrangements. While some may be replanted seasonally with fresh later-flowering stock, the majority of borders tend to be continuous displays of mixed subjects — shrubs, perennials, annuals, biennials and bulbs — to provide a longer succession of bloom without complete clearing and replanting.

Formal arrangements in beds and some borders, primarily those without shrubs and evergreens, can be most attractive and effective in enclosed gardens laid out geometrically and in association with architectural features. Informal arrangements are best limited to lawn beds, locations near pools and beside terraces, borders along walks, and against retaining walls.

Wherever possible avoid straight lines and formal squares. Plant in groups or clumps of three or more and if such spring-flowering bedding plants as wallflowers, forget-me-nots and polyanthus are also being used in the beds and borders, place the bulbs irregularly between the plants. Even when using only bulbs, plant so that each sort gradually merges into the next, rather than have severe demarcations.

Hyacinths and tulips are the chief formal bedding and border bulbs and they can be most spectacular when planted in blocks of a single colour or in patterned designs of various colours and shades. Narcissi and the taller irises can also be most effective when planted formally in beds and borders and so can Florist’s or Poppy Anemones, but most miscellaneous bulbs like muscari, crocus, chionodoxas and scillas are of minor importance in this type of planting. Bulbs planted alone in beds and borders may be of one or more varieties, or more than one type of bulb may be used in a single bed, for example, bright blue muscari with golden daffodils.


As the mixtures become more complex, skill and taste must be carefully exercised to select types and varieties that will not only provide the desired colour combinations but will also flower at the same time.

Bulbs in formal beds can be used with other spring-flowering subjects for lovely effects. Pansies, violas, aubrieta, alyssum, forget-me-nots, polyanthus, primroses and wallflowers set out as ground cover beneath hyacinths, tulips and daffodils can be delightful. Hyacinths and pansies make a very attractive combination whether the colours harmonise or contrast, whereas forget-me-nots look splendid either with golden or white trumpet daffodiIs.

The gardener with a limited amount of space may not want to go in for the very latest varieties, especially when he is catering for cut flowers for the house. Some of the finest sorts for this purpose have been in cultivation for many years and continue to give good results.

07. July 2011 by admin
Categories: Bulbs and Corms, Flower Beds & Borders, Gardening Ideas, Plants | Tags: , , , , | Comments Off on Colourful Flower Beds and Borders


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