It is a clever mix of perennials, annuals, shrubs and grasses that create these vivid, colorful and changing tableaux.
A timeless source of inspiration from across the Channel, the mixed border brings a rustic touch to the garden.
Where to install a mixed border ?
As the name suggests a mixed border is a mixed massif which is generally located on the edge of the garden. It is backed by a fence, a hedge or a low wall. With clump foliage and flowering plants, it blurs the boundaries of the garden and creates a green setting. You can also plant mixed border around the house, in order to fully enjoy it.
Remember to reserve a site deep enough for these massifs on the edge. Indeed, they are furnished with multiple plants of different heights which follow one another.
How to organize a mixed border English?
It's all a question of measurement! The mixed border would almost look like wild flower beds. It is not so ! This type of bed is carefully considered by a budding gardener.
If beautiful flowers emerge from the massif, it is also thanks to the presence of persistent shrubs and grasses. Each plant has its importance. Also, you have to work on the backdrop, made up of climbing shrubs and tall grasses.
Then, the massif will be animated by blooms that are spread from spring to autumn, and even in winter. These successive touches of color then form a real plant spectacle from season to season.
Which plants to choose?
For this, you can bet on a Mexican orange or a charcoal, whose evergreen leaves provide structure all year round. These volumes isolate the bottom of the massif and fill the space. If you are planting against a wall, bet on climbers to dress it up. Think of the climbing roses or the false jasmine whose fragrant flowers perfume the garden.
Punctuate your plantations with tall and decorative grasses such as Calamagrostis or Miscanthus.
Then proceed to planting a lower layer, between 50cm and 1m. Now is the time to focus on flowers that will brighten up the ensemble.
Why not columbines which will bloom in spring? They will be followed by the summer flowers of speedwells. Echinacea are also the most beautiful effect with their long blooms that extend into autumn.
Add a few bulbs here and there, like blooming anemones in spring or dahlias in fall. We animate the lower layer of a few stipas and santolines, and voila!
A mixed border in broad daylight
Many plants like a sunny exposure. What about mixed border in broad daylight ? Or even in dry soil?
For shrubs, you can plant a Grevillea with a bushy habit and original red bloom. Among perennials in dry soil, think of acanthus, whose imposing and graphic foliage is topped by erect flowers.
Yarrow are good jokers because they do well in the sun and in any type of soil. Yellow, white roses… Their colorful flowers brighten up the massif between June and September.
On the grass side, in dry soil and in the sun, you can afford the pampas grass and its large floral spikes or the Mulhenbergia capillaris and its magnificent misty pink bloom. The fresh soil will host a Pennisetum or the Carex flagellifera which likes the sun. For bulbs, think giant garlic, which likes well-drained soil and sun.
A mixed border in the shade
A shade garden is not inevitable, quite the contrary!
Here is a selection of plants for a mixed border in the shade. Aucuba japonica is an evergreen shrub that does well in a dark area. Its sometimes variegated and spotted yellow foliage then illuminates it. In terms of climbing, we put on ivy or some hydrangeas which offer summer inflorescences.
Also enjoy the small blue flowers of the Caucasian forget-me-not, a beautiful ground cover perennial. Astrance, another shade perennial, goes wonderfully with its multiple star flowers, ideal in bouquets.
Among shade grasses, count on sedges whose foliage varies from green, variegated to bluish depending on the variety. Theophiopogon is also an interesting option with very decorative black foliage that can be contrasted with white trilliums.
The lower layer is embellished by Epimedium and cyclamen and their small bright flowers in various colors.