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Building Better Borders

Use plant combinations that focus on complementary colors, textures, and forms

Click to enlarge image Photo/Illustration: Daryl Beyers

If you have ever visited New York City, you have most likely seen one of Lynden Miller’s gardens. From Central Park to the New York Botanical Garden, she has been instrumental in creating some of the city’s most memorable public gardens. Lynden Miller has proven that she knows what it takes to make a successful border. What is less known is that she refined her skills at home, where for the past 30 years she has worked on a 175-foot-long mixed border just outside her back door. Starting with an evergreen hedge as a backdrop, she has knitted  together a composition of relatively familiar shrubs and perennials into a remarkable design. Here are some photos of her private garden.

Click on the images below to see the full images. They will open in a new window, so you can match the plant names to the numbers.

Photo/Illustration: Daryl Beyers

1. Siebold's hosta (Hosta sieboldii, Zones 3-9)
2. Variegated bishop's weed (Aegopodium podagraria 'Variegatum', Zones 4-9)
3. 'August Moon' hosta (Hosta 'August Moon', Zones 3-9)
4. Common ladybells (Adenophora confusa, Zones 3-7)
5. Variegated Solomon's seal (Polygonatum odoratum 'Variegatum', Zones 3-8)
6. 'Blue Cadet' hosta (Hosta 'Blue Cadet', Zones 3-9)
7. 'Guacamole' hosta (Hosta 'Guacamole', Zones 3-9)
8. Masterwort (Astrantia major, Zones 4-8)
9. 'Aureola' Japanese forest grass (Hakonechloa macra 'Aureola', Zones 5-9)
10. Yellow wax-bells (Kirengeshoma palmata, Zones 5-8)

 

Photo/Illustration: Daryl Beyers
1. Persicaria (Persicaria sp., Zones 3-8)
2. Golden Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea', Zones 5-8)
3. Euphorbia (Euphorbia sp., Zones 4-11)
4. Golden spirea (Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon', Zones 5-8)
5. 'Blue Arrow' juniper (Juniperus virginiana 'Blue Arrow', Zones 3-9)
6. Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota, Zones 3-9)
7. Daylily (Hemerocallis cv., Zones 3-10)
Photo/Illustration: Stephanie Fagan
1. 'Lidakense' cliff sedum (Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense', Zones 5-9)
2. Miss Willmott's ghost (Eryngium giganteum, Zones 4-9)
3. 'Vardar Valley' boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Vardar Valley', Zones 6-8)
4. Juniper (Juniperus sp., Zones 2-9)
5. Variegated miscanthus (Miscanthus sinensis 'Variegatus', Zones 4-9)
6. 'Plum Pudding' heuchera (Heuchera 'Plum Pudding', Zones 4-9)
7. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3-9)
8. Cordyline (Cordyline australis cv., Zones 10-11)
9. 'Crimson Pygmy' Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy', Zones 5-8)
10. Golden spirea (Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon', Zones 5-8)
11. Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens, Zones 4-9)
Photo/Illustration: Steven Cominsky
1. 'Rose Glow' Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Rose Glow', Zones 5-8)
2. 'Blue Horizon' ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon', annual)
3. Juniper (Juniperus  sp., Zones 2-9)
4. Flowering tobacco (Nicotiana langsdorffii , annual)
5. 'Vardar Valley' boxwood (Buxus sempervirens 'Vardar Valley', Zones 6-8)
6. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3-9)
7. Miss Willmott's ghost (Eryngium giganteum, Zones 4-9)
8. 'Lidakense' cliff sedum (Sedum cauticola 'Lidakense', Zones 5-9)
Photo/Illustration: Steven Cominsky
1. 'Claridge Druce' hardy geranium (Geranium × oxonianum 'Claridge Druce', Zones 4-8)
2. 'Crimson Pygmy' Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Crimson Pygmy', Zones 5-8)
3. 'Glowing Embers' hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla 'Glowing Embers', Zones 6-9)
4. Ribbon grass (Phalaris arundinacea, Zones 4-9)
Photo/Illustration: Steven Cominsky
1. 'Bright Eyes' garden phlox (Phlox paniculata 'Bright Eyes', Zones 4-8)
2. Culver's root (Veronicastrum virginicum, Zones 4-8)
3. Blue oat grass (Helictotrichon sempervirens , Zones 4-9)
4. 'Claridge Druce' hardy geranium (Geranium × oxonianum 'Claridge Druce', Zones 4-8)
Photo/Illustration: Daryl Beyers
1. Drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalon, Zones 4-11)
2. 'Blue Horizon' ageratum (Ageratum houstonianum 'Blue Horizon', annual)
3. 'Autumn Joy' sedum (Sedum 'Autumn Joy', Zones 3-11)
4. Balfour's impatiens (Impatiens balfourii, annual)
5. White musk mallow (Malva moschata 'Alba', Zones 3-8)
6. 'Plum Pudding' heuchera (Heuchera 'Plum Pudding', Zones 4-9)
7. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3-9)
Photo/Illustration: Stephanie Fagan
1. Juniper (Juniperus sp., Zones 2-9)
2. Chinese rhubarb (Rheum palmatum 'Atropurpureum', Zones 5-9)
3. Queen Anne's lace (Daucus carota, Zones 3-9)
4. Golden Japanese barberry (Berberis thunbergii 'Aurea', Zones 5-8)
5. 'Fireglow' euphorbiaEuphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow', Zones 4-9)
6. 'Superba' snakeweed (Persicaria bistorta 'Superba', Zones 4-8)
7. Blue oat grass ( Helictotrichon sempervirens, Zones 4-9)
Photo/Illustration: Stephanie Fagan
1. Feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium, Zones 4-9)
2. Cordyline (Cordyline australis cv., Zones 10-11)
3. Drumstick allium (Allium sphaerocephalon, Zones 4-11)
4. Miss Willmott's ghost (Eryngium giganteum, Zones 4-9)
5. Purple coneflower (Echinacea purpurea, Zones 3-9)
6. 'Plum Pudding' heucheraHeuchera 'Plum Pudding', Zones 4-9)
7. Golden spirea (Spiraea thunbergii 'Ogon', Zones 5-8)
From Fine Gardening 123 , pp. 36-43

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