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Beautiful borders.

Building a border is easy if you start with a great plan and follow a few simple rules

A successful border is largely a matter of good marriages between plants. Whether you use traditional perennials and annuals or shrubs with interesting foliage, the goal is the same: combine plants whose colors and textures look good together, and plan for an extended season with a succession of bloom or foliage texture. If you long for the billowy English look but live where winters are mild and summers are warm, use Mediterranean plants better suited to your climate, as pictured at left.

On the following seven pages are plans for other beautiful borders: a traditional perennial planting in soft pastels, a sunnyhued waterwise border, a rockery for alpine plants, and an herb border in blues and yellows.

Follow the plant lists exactly or substitute your own compatible favorites.

Blooms forever

To ensure color through the growing season, set out an assortment of flowering plants that bloom in spring and summer. This border plan, designed in the English country style, makes it easy.

Two white-flowered shrubs, deutzia and mock orange, and the heirloom shrub rose 'Baronne Prevost' anchor the composition. A combination of sun-loving spring- and summer-flowering Perennials fills out the rest of the border in medium tones of blue and pink, with accents of creamy pale yellow and white. The arrangement will suit any sunny spot in the garden.

Border basics

The key to good border design is the seamless blending of plant "bones," "binders," and "bursts."

A Start with the bones (tall, long-lived perennials that give form to the border).

B Fill in with the binders (the low, rambling plants).

C Add the bursts (bulbs that have a brief but beautiful season of bloom).

Waterwise border

This island bed combines showy Mediterranean and native perennials that need no extra irrigation once established, usually after the first year.

When designing islands of low-water plants, target those areas where summer irrigation would be difficult to install or maintain.

An alpine niche

A gentle slope is the perfect setting for this group of shrubs and perennials that, together, simulate natural plantings on boulder-strewn mountain slopes. Most are suited to low elevations and coastal gardens but also do well in colder climates. Their foliage textures and flowers will supply interest throughout the year. Other "alpine" combinations are pictured at far right.

Herb border

Many culinary herbs combine beautifully with ornamental shrubs and perennials. This little herb garden, which edges a patio just outside a kitchen, was designed to look good as well as to deliver occasional snippets for flavoring soups, salads, and grilled meats. It pairs foliage and flowers in a classic yellow and blue combination. A terra-cotta pot adds a Mediterranean touch. The miniature rose 'Sunsplash' blooms most heavily from May to August.


The border plans pictured on these pages are among the many planting plans in the new Sunset Western Landscaping Book (Sunset Publishing Co., Menlo Park, CA, 1997; $29.95). Other border plans are designed to show off annuals, bulbs, ornamental grasses, shrubs, and succulents. A companion to the Sunset Western Garden Book, this 416-page book focuses on garden design. Glossy color photographs show great gardens from each region. Plans for whole gardens - designed for us by Western landscaping professionals - are included. Other chapters provide planning help, show finishing touches that make a garden special, and offer landscaping solutions to problems that affect garden design in the West, such as wildfires and erosion. The book is now in nurseries and bookstores.
COPYRIGHT 1997 Sunset Publishing Corp.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1997 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Lovejoy, Lois
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 1997
Previous Article:Flights of fancy.
Next Article:Tips & Treasures: Successful techniques, artful designs, and useful products for gardeners.

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