Monthly Archives: May 2011

Mixed Border Ideas

I am a big fan of mixed borders in our landscapes.  They offer so much variety and texture and have interest year round if you plant it right.  Its very simple to achieve this look in your yard.  
I have ‘Emerald Green’ arborvitea and ‘Onodaga’ viburnum as the background shrubs.  The viburnum is in bloom right now.  It has flat headed flower heads with pink flowers in the middle and white flowers that float around the middle like little stars.  In front of the arborvitea are zebra iris’ and english lavender l. angustifolia ‘Royal Velvet’.  As a ground cover, I am using ajuga which will start blooming in a week or so.  The foliage from the iris and ajuga are still beautiful even after they are done blooming.  The lavender will bloom from mid June through September.  I also have yellow chrysanthemums for fall color. 
When creating your mixed borders, think about season long interest, varying heights and bloom times, and compatible water and sun needs.  I’ll be posting more pictures of these ideas as they come into bloom in my yard.   

Lovely as the Month of May

One of the main objectives of my garden designs is to have something in bloom or have great foliage and structure in the garden all year long.  It’s easier to do than you might think.  When choosing plants, whether its a tree, shrub or perennial, think of how its going to look all year long.

Trees can have great shape or structure, interesting bark patterns, flowers, berries or fall color!  They should be the backbone of your landscape.  Choose them carefully because they are not only an investment in money but more importantly time.  It takes 5-6 years for most trees to achieve their final shape and many years more to reach their full size.  Trees that are making a splash right now in Western Colorado are Eastern Red buds, crab apples of all varieties and flowering plums to name a few.  Next up will be the hawthorns and horsechestnuts.

Shrubs are showing off their color now as well.  Lovely lilacs, viburnums and daphnes are in full bloom and filling the air with their sweet scents.  Soon the roses, brooms, lavenders and spireas will light up the landscape.  Summer blooming rose of sharon, blue mist spirea and russian sage will take you right into September.   
So the next time you’re at the local garden center looking for interesting plants choose something that will fill a “slow interest” time in your garden.  You’ll be glad you did.