Smart bordering

Compact plants can be used in rich swathes of colour and texture in the foreground of shrub beds that need a quick facelift.

Attractive background and middle- ground shrubs and perennials are always important to any mixed border, but it is what you add to the front edge of the bed that immediately grabs the eye’s attention.

Here’s our selection of pretty groundcovers and dwarf plants, up to an approximate height of 40cm, that will add colour and texture to the foreground. Happy planting!

Alternanthera dentata ‘Little Ruby’

Mounding groundcover with a compact spreading habit and deep burgundy foliage. It loves humidity, is heat tolerant and handles light frost. Plant in sun to semi-shade.

Cuphea hyssopifolia ‘Southern Border’

A classic border shrub – compact and rounded with dense foliage and bright pink flowers from spring to autumn. It is evergreen but tender to cold and frost. Plant in full sun.

Euphorbia hypericifolia ‘Diamond Frost’

These excellent border plants have clouds of small white flowers throughout the year. They are evergreen, good for sun or shade, are cold but not frost tolerant, and are water-wise

Ophiopogon jaburan

A water-wise, tuft-forming grass with dark green, curved leaves, Ophiopogon jaburan is an evergreen and excellent no-worry border plant. It is cold and frost tolerant and can be planted in anything from sun to deep shade.

Acorus gramineus ‘Golden Edge’

An evergreen ornamental grass with golden- yellow to light yellow and green striped leaves. Plant in sun to semi-shade. It is cold and frost tolerant.

Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’

Beautiful yellow foliage – roundish and small. It is an evergreen, low-growing groundcover for sun to semi-shade. It’s cold and frost tender.

Juniperus horizontalis ‘Monber Icee Blue’

This low-growing, spreading evergreen has silver-blue foliage that intensifies in winter. It requires full sun and is cold and frost hardy.

Agapanthus africanus ‘Double Diamond’

This variety of the faithful aggie has lots of small, double, white flowers on sturdy, compact plants in summer. It is cold and frost hardy as well as water-wise, and should be planted in full sun to semi-shade.

Quick tips for great border design

A border of just one plant type, such as dark green mondo grass, is neat, very elegant and low maintenance.

If you’d prefer a more colourful look, plant your favourites in bold groups, taking care to pick those with complementing foliage or flower colour.

You can even double up on your border planting by using something taller, like a row of purple-leaved Ipomoea batatas (sweet potato vine) at the back, complemented by the bright yellow and very low-growing Lysimachia nummularia ‘Aurea’ (creeping Jenny) in the front.

For more border and edging solution, visit Perma Edge

The Gardener