We say ‘herbaceous’ but it is more of a mixed border. Each bay consists of a colour theme, perhaps the odd tree, shrubs for backdrop and a mix of perennials, some woody and some herbaceous. There are also some bulbs here and there. But to complete the design it is imperative that we also add some tender plants and a few select annuals, and we must be generous if it is to look plentiful.
With careful selection and planning for the best impact, they are positioned and planted through the existing bays, filling the hungry gaps and complimenting the permanent planting. Let’s not forget that some plants such as Alchemilla mollis will finish flowering and be cut back leaving a gap later; these are the places we will fit them in, dressing up the border for a showy summer!
Starting at the top, the hot bay offers strong reds, oranges and yellows which easily tower above the formal Yew hedge (Taxus baccata). The newly designed black, hot pink and silver bay is striking and a real favourite, and one cannot help but notice Aeonium 'Zwartkop' craving attention in amongst the hot pinks. The white, lemon and green bay’s shades are calm, simple and mellow and a welcome break in time to ease us along to the sweet style of the soft pink and blue bay which I think is simply adorable. I love the soft, wiry foliage that supports the delicate heads of Cosmos ‘Daydream’ that resemble tissue paper and the silky, waterlily flower of Dahlia 'Sascha’ is delicious.
Moving on we find ourselves faced with the luxury of the purple bay; always promising to be tall and airy, Thalictrum delavayi 'Hewitt's Double' is a firm favourite, and Tradescantia pallida 'Purpurea' - which has an AGM - grows at the front and provides a depth of colour as a backdrop to the smaller perennials that mingle around.
At this time of year our visitors may still notice how we have used natural hazel stems to support the overenthusiasm of some, but by the end of July they can no longer really be seen, other than a glimpse here and there.
In July on the herbaceous border everything is in place; there is still enough moisture in the ground so that everything still looks fresh, new and neat and alongside some dead heading, watering and of course some weeding, there is much more to come….