Colourful Flowers for the Garden Borders
Most Flowers are Good Mixers
In the ordinary mixed colour border the greatest care must be taken not to associate too closely flowers of inharmonious tones. There is no need to worry if apparently clashing colours such as pink, magenta, and orange are fairly close to one another, so long as the plants are well supplied with foliage, or if they are inter-planted with grey-foliaged shrubs such as, or with white flowers such as the large Ox-Eye Daisy. As a matter of fact, too much is usually made of the possibility of disharmony in the mixed flower border. Very few flowers actually clash when they are seen growing together, and particularly if they form part of a large mixed collection.
Copy the Rainbow
A rainbow border is quite an interesting feature, and one which many amateurs would like to work out by themselves, even in limited space. To do this, the best thing is to draw a rough plan of the border to scale first, and to divide it into sections to correspond with the various colours of the rainbow, ie. red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet in succession. Then, with a list of plants at his disposal, the gardener groups these into the various sections of the border according to the colour of the flowers.
In the green section such near-white flowers as Solomon’s Seal are included. This again is a feature which is best as a part of a larger scheme, and I would not recommend the owner of awith perhaps only one or two borders to limit them in this way.
A Swell of Colour
One other point regarding the use of colour in the mixed border is this: if a border is a long one, to be approached from one end, not seen full face, it is generally better to arrange for the paler tints to be grouped at the two ends of the border and the really vivid, startling flowers to be towards the centre. This is my experience, in practice, and the reason is possibly that a swell of colour, as the border is inspected seems more impressive than if the colour gradually diminishes after the first view.
The Value of Form and Foliage
I have already suggested that the arrangement of the herbaceous border is like a jig-saw puzzle. It is even more than that. It is like a cross-word with hidden clues. In addition to the points already mentioned, the gardener must consider the general habit of each plant and its foliage effects when the flowers are absent. A bushy plant well supplied with foliage will disguise the long leggy stems of Hollyhocks andfor instance. Silver foliaged plants are valuable too, especially some of the dwarf grasses, and such plants as Pinks, Cerastium, and Arabis, which form permanent and not too formal edgings. Then there is the question of form in the foliage. Between broad-leaved plants, a few groups of Irises, Gladiolas and Mont-bretias with their sword-like leaves make a distinct break in the border, as, also, do some of the taller grasses. And where are grown in association with the perennials, as in most little gardens, a distinct character can be given to the border by the inclusion of such things as the common Maize. With so many things to consider perhaps it is hardly to be wondered at that the mixed perennial border is so difficult to bring to perfection.