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Border Recipe: Cottage Fiery

If you want to make a dramatic impact, then create a smouldering haze of fiery oranges, reds, yellows and bronzes. In this tiny border (2m x 2m), I needed to do two things at once: create an immediate impact on walking into the garden area and also to make the large slate monolith appear to be rising above a golden cloud!  I like perennials that dance around at hip height – they literally invite us to brush them with our hands and legs. To anchor the vibrancy, I used bronze-leaved Carex buchananii (making sure to mulch well to conserve moisture). This helps to link orange and yellow to red and scarlet. Be careful here, there isn’t a lot of room to manoeuvre, particularly with the reds - avoid pinky-reds in this kind of scheme – the jarring will make you wince! Concentrate on the tonality of the colours – the yellows, particularly need to hold their own here so avoid very pale shades.

Cottage Fiery

Cottage FieryThis border is on poor soil that was improved heavily before planting. It is also in shade during the midday / early afternoon period. I planted quite densely so that there would be impact in the first season. The border was planted up in May and this picture was taken two months later. This border will last well into autumn. Bulbs will help to cover the spring gap.

Cottage FieryPlant List

Carex buchananii – the bronze-copper foliage works well to knit together oranges and reds and provides winter interest
Stipa tenuissima – a feather grass that creates a foil at stem height through the bed
(these grasses account for 25% of the total volume in the bed)


Crocosmia ‘Lucifer’
Achillea filipendula ‘Cloth of Gold’ and ‘Walther Funcke’
Helenium ‘Moerheim Beauty’ and ‘Waldtraut’
Geum ‘Mrs Bradshaw’ and ‘Lady Stratheden’
Rudbeckia ‘Herbstsonne’
Dahlia ‘Bishop of Lancaster’

For further information: 023 8023 3768 or 07780 920 653