A well-designed border garden complements surrounding plants and structures, defining key areas of your property with visual appeal. Personal preference guides the choice of which flowers to plant in a border garden. Using various colours, heights, shapes and textures at different planting times adds interest and longevity. Consider size and shape of the space, weather conditions as well as function. Border gardens serve many functions: boundaries, natural pest control or attraction of bees and butterflies.
Day lilies, heliotrope, sweet peas and sweet alyssum add colour and fragrance to the border garden. A hardy annual such as calendula, cornflower, foxglove, larkspur, pansy or viola stands up well to cold-weather conditions, but wilts in the heat. Warm-weather flowers include blue daze, four-o'clocks, impatiens, marigold, morning glory, nasturtium, petunia and zinnia. Baby's breath, bells of Ireland, blue sage, forget-me-nots and strawflowers do best in moderate weather without extremes of heat or cold. Backyard Gardener suggests cucumber sunflowers, strawflowers and four-o'clocks as temporary hedges. The varying heights of lilacs, rhododendrons and fuchsias provide additional choices for a border garden.
According to Burpee Gardening, perennial flowers such as artemisia, aster, chrysanthemum and lavender love sun and work well in low-water environments. Shrub flowers such as hydrangeas, roses and spiraea help maintain the beauty of the garden year round as they peak at different times of year and can be used to beautify fences, walls and arches. You can add texture to your border garden by using flowers such as asters, hibiscus, geranium and iris.
Natural Pest Control
OSU Master Gardener Joyce Schillen recommends calendula as a favourite food of blister beetles and cucumber beetles, so planting some in the border garden may help keep these pests off your other flowers. Marigolds and zinnias are other commonly used pest trap crops that may offer some natural protection to your flower border.
A border garden that hopes to attract butterflies should use flower hosts that will nourish the caterpillar. Depending on the type of butterflies common to your area, you may choose flowers such as coneflowers, phlox, asters, daisies, salvias, sedum and zinnias. You may consult the State Botanical Garden of Georgia's "All About Butterfly Friendly Plants" for a more complete list.
- OSU Extension Master Gardener Program: Less Toxic Ways to Battle Bugs in Your summer Garden
- University of Georgia: All About Butterfly Friendly Plants
- Burpee Gardening: Planting Border Perennials
- Backyard Gardener LLC: Annuals for Temporary Hedges
- North Carolina Cooperative Extension College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: "Types of Annual Flowers"