Istvan Dudas, the gardener for a private estate garden in the UK, shared his dreamy, magical perennial borders with us earlier this year, and he’s sent some more images of the same garden as summer transitions into autumn. For Istvan, gardening is not just a job, but a passion and an art form. That attitude is certainly apparent in the vivid gardens he creates.
Late summer is when many annuals are at their peak. Here cosmos (Cosmos bipinnatus, annual), Amistad salvia (Salvia ‘Amistad’, Zones 8–10 or as an annual), and tall spires of cleome (Cleome hassleriana, annual) mingle with other annuals and perennials. I particularly love seeing the tall, lanky stems of cleome reaching out over the other plants. Too often what is sold at garden centers is marketed as tidy, compact, and mounded. But sometimes tall and loose is just what a planting needs.
Perennials spill out over and among paving stones beside an outdoor seating area. The effect is loose and wild, but the smooth, clear pathways are still functional and easy to walk down.
The big, rounded mounds of Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Zones 3–11) repeated through the planting pulls this border together. Loose grasses and the tall, airy purple heads of tall verbena (Verbena bonariensis, Zones 7–10 or as an annual) punctuate the shorter perennials to give the planting lightness and movement.
Green mosses covering the path through this garden give the whole planting the feeling of a garden gone wild, a lost treasure you have just wandered into. Of course, a planting like this is carefully planned and requires a great deal of work. And the repeated elements keep the whole planting feeling unified.
Airy stems of tall verbena are a “see through” plant. Here they make a romantic purple screen through which you can look at the rest of the border extending beyond.
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