It has been a long haul, and it is far from over. But the perennial border finally is showing the mass and shape I want it to.
Yes, mass and shape, not just flowers. I find it interesting that while I love flowers and color, what really makes my heart sing is shapes and spaces.
When I first did the design for Timshala Gardens, I put the perennial border in the plan as a shape. It was a destination, reached by walking through the pergola, with a seating area drawing you through the perennials. I didn’t know what plants I would use, though I did know the sizes of the plants.
Because the site is so large, and because the perennial border will most often be seen from a great distance, either the plants need to be tall, or, with smaller plants the masses of color need to be large. I plant perennials by the 50’s, so even if an individual plant is delicate, from a distance the mass will give an architectural effect. Just a few (in this garden less than about a dozen is a few!) would have no effect.
Here are a couple of sections of the border, from last year. More to come.
A couple of years ago, when I planted tiny plugs of some of the perennials I want in the border, I did it with crossed fingers (and toes, too I think).
Well, it is finally starting to look like something. A few plants have done extremely well…as here, the Echinacea paradoxa, Veronicas (don’t remember which one) and Baptisia moonlight.
Because some of it is screened (deliberately) by a growing Weeping Willow, some partially hidden by the driveway trees and shrubs, I wanted the border to be visible, giving hints of its exuberance, from quite a distance. It is intended to be appreciated not only as you walk along the path, but by glimpses from anywhere. So I aimed for bright color, contrast, height.
Now that I am getting more familiar with what will—and will not—grow here, I am starting to plan the rest of the border, the places where plants did not succeed. I’ll be planting next spring, and in a couple more years…heaven.
All gardeners and gardens live in the future and perhaps this one more than most because it is so large and so new. But the sight of these Alliums in the perennial border is starting to give some definition to the border.
Last fall I planted 150 Allium aflatunense and I think just about all of them came up. They are scattered among the hundreds of perennials I planted – and more to come – but it will be a few years before they give the effect they should: a perennial border with Alliums rather than an Allium border.
The perennials and grasses that will be 3’ – 5’ tall are 3” tall. So at the moment the Alliums aren’t exactly scattered “among” anything.
They need the perennials to give structure to the design. And they need the perennials to cover their dying leaves of course.
It is so nice to look out and see them.
I’ve been working till my head is spinning designing the very complicated Perennial Border. It is about 70’ long by about 20’ wide, with a path down the center. I’m doing seven different groups of three plants each, beginning and ending with the same combination of plants. Each group is somewhat self-contained, in that the three plants in it complement and contrast with each other – in height, texture, color, seasons. And each of the groups also has to lead nicely into the next. And together they should draw you along the path.
Group 4, the center of the border is the ‘hottest’ color, vivid red and purple. The plants leading to it and from it are somewhat softer colored, growing richer and then receding.
And here is the result. The numbers after each variety is the quantity I will need to order!