Celebrate the summer equinox by filling gaps in your flowerbeds with happy, tutti-frutti colours that will make your boring planting schemes pop! These colours are also an excellent idea for patio displays where people tend to gather for parties and also for areas you would like to highlight such as your front entrance, or seating area. Splashes of white will cool things down and draw your attention as well as act as a foil for the most striking plant combos.
Deck out your garden party with colourful balloons hanging them from trees, beams, washing lines and window frames to create an instant and fuss-free party vibe
The trick when planning borders is to blend the colours you like into a pleasing combination. Purple at its darkest is rich, dramatic and sophisticated. It is associated with luxury and creativity and used as an accent or secondary colour, it will give a scheme depth. Lighter versions of purple, such as lavender and lilac, bring the same restful quality to sitting areas as blue does, but without the risk of feeling chilly.
Before planting it’s a good ideas to make a note of how your borders are naturally lit
If light is coming from behind the border the shadows will cast forward, creating an increasingly dim light towards the front of the bed. To prevent the front edge of your border from disappearing in the dark avoid planting cool, receding colours and select only flowers in bright, saturated colours.
Ideally, plan a scheme based on one colour or a group of related tones pick plants, which allow you to emphasize the texture and scale of different plants – do this and you should produce some delightful and unusual effects. A striking partnership for mid-late summer is Echinacea purpurea Rubinglow, Liatris spicata, and Lythrum virgatum.
The bold blooms of dahlias come in the sunniest of shades so using them in borders around sitting areas will make you feel inspired and motivated. Yellow plants will bring a smile to your demeanor right away. It’s an inviting colour!
Sunny shades of orange and yellow, which contrast well with streaks of dark purple shades, also have the power to bring on your happiest moods and stimulate the senses, so use them to make sitting areas lively and vibrant using hemerocallis, salvia, lupins and achillea.
Also aim to make a stroll through the garden, an energizing exercise by surrounding paths with beds packed with reds, orange and yellow blooms and some dark foliage. Ideal plants are crocosmia, ligularia and heleniums, which peak in late summer and look best in the afternoon sun.
Using both foliage and flowers in a variety of sizes and shapes will also create excitement
The pink coneflower, echinacea is a striking daisy bloom and an effective contrast to the flattened flowers of achillea and the spiky blooms of sea holly or eyngium, plus the vertical leaves of Japanese blood Grass and the tall, showy flower spikes of Liatris spicata, which is commonly known as the prairie gay feather.
To prevent your sunny borders becoming chaotic, you can visually cool them down by using a selection of blue and mauve flowers. In a hot spot it’s important that the plants you choose will thrive in hot dry conditions. For example, plant a drift of salvias to catch your eye and add the fragrance of lavender to leave a lasting impression.
Lavender especially, is a must-have plant in any garden as it’s bee-friendly and encourages these beneficial insects, which are in decline in UK and struggling for survival. Bees also like daisy shaped flowers such as asters and sunflowers as well as hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves, so make sure you plant plenty
As you move from sunny areas of the garden to shadier spots fill flowerbeds with light yellow flowers and lime green leaves, or plant white and silver foliage and flowers to allow your eyes to adjust to the dim light.
Finally, don’t be too eager to pull out rogue plants, as often some of the nicest groupings are the unexpected ones. A splash of yellow from a self-sown seedling, for example, may be just the contrast needed to bring out the full effect of an all-pink or all-blue bedding scheme!
Need some help?
www.crocus.co.uk offer ready-made borders with discounted plants.
This bold planting scheme is designed to give your garden some oomph. It is a blend of the sumptuous shades of red and purple to create a Persian carpet effect that will give a sunny border summer-long colour. Crocus supply a planting plan and enough plants to fill a sunny border, 3.5 x 1.5m, which costs the discounted price of £84.83
Vibrant shades are attention-grabbers. And they should be used if you love bright colours, or want an impactful border that can be seen from a long way off. In this border, Crocus have used citrus shades and to make the border even more vivacious, they have added a dash of velvet-purple. The effect is stunning and especially as they have used a pleasing mix of vertical spires and horizontal flower heads. The plants for this border are offered at £126.08, which is a saving of £22.70 on plants sold separately on the Crocus website
If you are working to a tight budget, Crocus have designed a border measuring 3.5 x 2m, which is made up of reasonably fast growing evergreen shrubs that flower and provide some colour during the year, which costs £88.36. They have selected mostly fast growing herbaceous perennials that either spread or self-seed readily, making it a good choice if you have a new garden. In subsequent years after planting you can either divide the clumps, or lift the seedlings and plant them in other parts of your garden!