How to create a prairie style border

Last week on my visit to the Hampton Court Flower show there were some amazing show gardens that epitomized prairie style planting which has become so fashionable lately. This look creates a soft meadow effect which is very loose and natural looking and is easily achieved in your own garden.

The key to creating the right planting scheme is using your plants in repetition so that the same shapes repeat along the border, this willl create the effect of the plants naturally spreading in drifts. Mix grasses and perennial plants with a variety of shapes and textures of flowers and foliage to keep it interesting. Soft fluffy grasses, flat flower heads of achilleas, round shapes of alliums, spiky shapes of eryngiums…

Prairie style border

Prairie style gardens

Create the look with these plants from Crocus. Left to right: Deschampsia cespitoas tufted hair grass, Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’ switch grass, Molinia caerulea ‘Poul Petersen’ purple moor grass, Hordeum jubatum squirrel tail grass, Allium caeruleum, Eryngium bourgatii sea holly, Achillea ‘Credo’ yarrow, Echinacea ‘Sunrise’ coneflower, Knautia macedonica scabious, Verbena bonariensis, Perovskia russian sage, Monarda ‘Scorpion’ bergamot

My sunny herbacious border – a work in progress

I just thought I’d share some shots of my garden this summer as see if anyone has any comments on how to improve, I’m always looking for new ideas and combinations of plants that work well together. Here I’m concentrating on a long border down the south facing side of my garden, other areas are still a work in progress, hopefully I will be sharing those with you next year when they are a bit more developed.

The main challenge in my garden is that the soil is very dry and sandy as we live quite close to the beach, and this south facing border bakes all day so anything even slightly delicate just shrivels or gets mildew. This years disaster was the delphiniums at the back, the flowers looked okay peeping over the top but the leaves were covered in mildew.

Salvias front left also succumbed to the dreaded mildew, I have replaced these now with gaura tutti frutti, we’ll see how they fair next year. One lonely orange poppy there too, these were in profusion slightly earlier in the year and added a real splash of colour, but I’m not sure whether to replace these with papaver “Perry’s White’ for a more harmonious look.

Plant combinations – using yellow flowers in your borders

I have in the past avoided using yellow flowers in my borders, sticking to the tried and tested pink and blue pastel colour scheme. Yellow always seemed to appear a bit too brash. But on a visit to Mottisfont Abbey gardens last month I was bowled over by the stunning combinations they use with yellows blues and purples.

Here they have used nepeta, stachys byzantia and salvia with the pale yellow sisyrinchium striatum and lime-yellow achemilla mollis. Looks absolutely beautiful.