Centenary border given a contemporary design
3 May 2012
Gardeners at the Grade II registered Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Arboretum in Hampshire have finished a two-year overhaul of the biggest planting project to take place there for many years, and one of the largest double borders in the country.
The 250m (820ft) long Centenary border is more than 23m (75ft) wide and was planted by Sir Harold Hillier himself in 1964 to celebrate 100 years of the family business. The overall linear shape of the border is staying unchanged, but landscape architects Julia Fogg and Anny Evason have introduced a more contemporary design including a central ellipse and pavilions, offering views within the border and out into the wider gardens. New diagonal paths across the border also allow visitors closer to the plants and provide a way in and out to the neighbouring woodland.
Head of Collections David Jewell, formerly at RHS Garden Wisley, is overseeing the planting of around 30,000 plants including 1,000 species and cultivars, most of them new to the Hillier collection.
Among choice new additions are Choisya 'Aztec Gold' with rich canary-yellow new growth, to be planted after its launch at this year's RHS Chelsea Flower Show. New perennials include Sanguisorba 'Martins Mulberry', with large drumstick flower heads more than 1m (3ft) tall, and Crocosmia 'Hellfire', described by David as 'a richer crimson red' than C. 'Lucifer' and holding its flowers clear of the foliage.
However some old favourites have also stood the test of time and are staying in the border, among them rich claret Astrantia 'Gill Richardson' and Diascia personata, standing at a metre (3ft) tall and flowering until October.