I mentioned to Bill (for about the millionth time) that the fence border is my favorite border. The plantings in it look good 9 months out of the year. (And just a bit bare in the other 3 months of winter.)
Bill says it’s because the plants have something to play against — the fence. And I agree that’s certainly a big part of it. But the plants were chosen and positioned strategically as well. As many times as I have moved plants over the years, I can’t believe I got 90% of this border right the first time!
This border – small percentage of my borders that it is— is the one thing in my yard that I think of as being almost just like I want it.
The other borders I’ve been working on for quite a few years and am only recently realizing the need for evergreens. They’ll give everything else “something to play against” as Bill puts it.
An excellent ornamental grass, Japanese Yaku Jima Silver grass, lines most of the back and side property lines. A few shrubs that loose there leaves in winter are positioned on the right side border. They look good in bloom, but in retrospect evergreens would have been much better.
I’m in the process of choosing evergreens now to position every 10 feet or so in the middle of the back border which is about 12 feet deep. Perennial flowers and a rose bush will make their appearance between the evergreens. As they mature, the evergreens will give structure, definition and winter interest to the borders even after the ornamental grasses are cut back in February. And the borders will look grand no matter the season.
Here are some things to consider if you’re creating borders or making the ones you have more beautiful:
- If it fits in have a fence border. It can be narrow (3 1/2 feet) and as long as you have room for. It will be beautiful quickly and encourage you while you are doing other things.
- Start small. You don’t have to do everything at once.
- Plan for evergreens. They make a wonderful backdrop for everything else you plant. In addition they give structure and winter interest.
- Don’t be afraid to take things out if they’re not working. (Keep in mind it can take 3 years to know if they’re working.)
- Be sure to put in a variety of mums, because when properly pruned they look good from spring until fall. Coupled with evergreens they can carry your borders in times of drought.
- Add perennials like sedums and daylilies (early, midseason, and late), that don’t take over and don’t require a lot of attention.
- If you use ornamental grasses, try Japanese Yaku Jima Silver grass. It’s beautiful, gets about 5 feet tall, does not seed, and is drought tolerant once established.
Give some attention now to what evergreens, grasses, or perennials you’d like to add to your borders. Once you get the mental part done and make a note of it, it’ll be easy to follow through in the spring.
Organic gardening is easy, effective, efficient and a lot healthier.
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