Bor­der Res­cue

This au­tumn bor­der could do with a re­vamp, says Ian Hodg­son. Here’s how to add some sea­sonal piz­zazz

Garden Answers (UK) - - Problems Solved -

QHow can I in­tro­duce more colour into my bor­der in au­tumn?

THIS SHAPELY BOR­DER has a lot go­ing for it: bushy ever­green Artemisia vul­garis ‘Var­ie­gata’ (our na­tive mug­wort) is flanked by a small stripy yucca and the vi­brant red berries of Co­toneaster hor­i­zon­talis. Yet th­ese three in­gre­di­ents seem a lit­tle dis­con­nected – largely be­cause the creamy yel­low var­ie­ga­tion of the artemisia has faded by au­tumn, and yel­low po­ten­tilla, prim­ula and pe­ony flow­ers are ab­sent. In­stead the hand­some ber­ge­nia picks up the red tones of the co­toneaster berries, so I’d fo­cus on boost­ing the sea­son’s reds and golds. The var­ie­gated yucca seems to be strug­gling in this part-shady spot, so you could re­place it with phormium ‘Yel­low Wave’ – a more ar­chi­tec­tural plant (H and S1.5m/5ft), it bet­ter tol­er­ates shade. I know it’s border­line sac­ri­le­gious, but I also think the tree pe­ony could be moved else­where. Its golden May flow­ers are lovely but too brief; think how much bolder a red-stemmed cor­nus would look here. Af­ter its shim­mer­ing gold leaves have fallen in late au­tumn, those fiery red stems would pick up on the co­toneaster berries to the right. I’d also rec­om­mend re­plac­ing the artemisia with a more vi­va­cious and sea­son­ally in­ter­est­ing shrub. Oak-leaved Hy­drangea quer­ci­fo­lia would work, of­fer­ing white flow­ers from mid to late sum­mer fol­lowed by dra­matic red leaves and parch­ment­brown seed­heads for win­ter in­ter­est. In the fore­ground, the tan­gle of ground­cover plants – vi­ola, prim­ula and po­ten­tilla – all look a bit non­de­script in au­tumn. How about a mix of red and gold heucheras, hakonechloa ‘Ni­co­las’ and ever­green ferns for an at­trac­tive range of fo­liage colours and shapes? For good mea­sure, pop in a pur­ple hy­lotele­phium such as ‘José Aubergine’. I’d leave the co­toneaster and ber­ge­nia in situ – they’re both good-value plants ideal for a small gar­den, bring­ing re­li­able au­tumn and win­ter in­ter­est year af­ter year with­out look­ing dreary.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.