Planning a Perennial Border - Knowledgebase Question

Niskayuna, NY
Question by 1042071751
March 15, 1998
I have been trying to plan a perennial border that is 6 x 23 feet. The back of the border is a brick wall. I am looking for plants, shrubs and summer and fall bulbs that are quite hardy (zone 5), have a long bloom season and are more formal than a cottage border. This area receives full sun.

Would it be possible for you to provide me with some sort of a plan or plant list? I would like to work with the items in your current catalog, but am certainly open to all suggestions.




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Answer from NGA
March 15, 1998

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Let me suggest that you have a wonderful setup with a wall and full sun! What more could you ask?

I would suggest laying out a plan on graph paper. Plan to have larger plants in the back, gradually moving down in size to the edging plants in front. Don't use any straight lines...make "blobs", if you will, of plants. Intersperse throughout with spring blooming bulbs as they will come up and be beautiful before the rest of the perennials poke out of the ground. You don't need toworry about their size in relation to the perennials. Just don't bury little bulbs behind tall bulbs. All of this is really just common sense.

Here are some plants to consider. Before you make your decisions, I suggest you look through some garden books that show photos of different styles, so you can see what appeals to you. For shrubs, you might consider some of the smaller evergreens, like Abies concolor 'Green Globe', a dwarf fir. It grows to a height of 2 to 3 feet. There is, ofcourse, a huge selection of perennials to choose from. You might consider delphinium, foxglove, dianthus, salvia, and iris. Gladiolus is a tender bulb that lends an air of formality.

Pick a color scheme you enjoy. Plan for wonderful smells. Don't forget the butterflies and the hummingbirds. Don't try to accomplish too much the first year, a gardener should be patient. And above all remember-if you don't like the way something looks...you can always move it. A garden is SO flexible!

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