Gardens grown in narrow strips along fences, walks and on open areas are called borders. They provide bright flashes of color, fill small spaces with favorite flowers and, best of all, make every plant easy to reach.
A border is a buffet, not a smorgasbord. Choose three to five plants of each variety and limit the number of varieties you choose.
Choose tall plants for the back or center and graduate plant heights so you can see them as they bloom. Avoid large-scale plants like hollyhocks in small borders, though, and use rose mallow and foxglove for tall plants.
Herbaceous perennials are traditional for borders, but annuals like blue lobelia, marigolds and petunias allow you to fill in empty spaces and experiment with color. They also bloom all season long provided they are continually deadheaded.
Succession of Bloom
Plan perennials so that something is always in bloom; tulips in May, roses in June, lilies in July, hostas in August, mums in September. Try to have bloom times overlap for continual color.
Your borders should fit into your landscape and reflect your style. Use old-fashioned delphiniums and pinks for a cottage or informal garden. Use container gardens or arbors for accents. Create a formal border of spring bulbs and roses.
Use coneflower, yarrow and other wildflowers but check for invasive status before planting.
- Types of Flowering Plants
- Planning the Border
- Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
garden border flowers, recommended border plants, garden colors and season
About this Author
Laura Reynolds began writing professionally in 1974. She has worked as author and editor in nonfiction, professional journals and newspapers. Reynolds has also served in numerous appointed and elected local offices. She holds a Bachelor of Science in education from Northern Illinois University.