Hot, Bright and Beautiful….. No this isn’t a personal ad for me its actual the latest craze to be sweeping across gardens, both show and domestic. It is of course the introduction of a hot, fiery border; what’s a hot border? Well it’s a grouping of plants with exotic foliage and bright colours, although this is nothing new; Glebe Cottage for example has had a hot border for over 20 years, what is new and exciting is the range of plants available. And now, March through to April is the time that you need to be getting out there and getting the plants in the ground ready for their emergence in June and September. Planning is key if you are to make the most of your garden so why no draw up a planting design to help you get the plants in the right place. So without further ado here are the fellas that I reckon should be included in a hot border.
Exploding splinters of fire-red, funnel-shaped flowers appear in mid July through to September among attractive mid-green leaves. This ‘hot’ bulbous perennial is a perfect specimen for a mixed or herbaceous border, it does very well in a sunny but sheltered against wind site. To see this in its full glory plant it in slightly daring large drifts. It responds well in a moderately fertile, humus-rich, but well-drained soil.
Rudbeckia ‘Little Gold Star’
This is relative newcomer, its excellent for attracting pollinators into garden. It pretty stocky and compact black-eyed Susan that will give a rather decent display from July onwards. The yellow daisy-like flowers are very vivid and they perch on top of firm branching stems rising above the profuse mounds of rich green foliage. Standing just approximately 40-50cm, it would suit a patio/deck pot, but I would suggest sticking near the front of a mixed or herbaceous border to try to stretch out some seasonal interest.
These are not the easiest of plants to have in your garden, they have rhizomes that will require protection over the winter period, this can be done by simply piling soil up around the plant prior to the cold snap. But boy are these guys worth the effort, they in a number of colours including yellows, creams, and my favourite orange. They are tall, structurally interesting perennials that are best suited at the back of the border or in jungle-themed gardens. They have large, lush lance-shaped leaves and bottlebrush-like bunches of beautifully scented flowers.
Hemerocallis ‘Frans Hals’
This pretty but unusual daylily produces an abundance of rusty red and orange coloured flowers that will continue throughout the summer. Every one of the delicate flowers has three burnt orange outer petals and three almost copper inner petals with a noticeable hot yellow midrib. Like the Crocosmia this plant looks striking when planted in drifts as part of a mixed or herbaceous border. The bright green, strap-like leaves are known to be evergreen in milder areas, but probably not this far north. They are also known to be good natural weed suppressors.
The important things is that in order to get this going its you need to a) get it done now and be don’t be afraid to experiment with combinations and trying planting in drifts for a real big impact.
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