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The Gardener's Year


Making a planting plan

It is all too easy to buy a selection of attractive looking plants and then position them in the garden without taking into consideration their eventual height and width. How many plants do you need for a given space, what to choose to give colour all summer long? Having looked at perennial plants for a dry sunny border in and plants for a dry shady border in , now it is time to design the planting arrangement. Taking varieties that thrive in a heavy clay limestone soil and are able to handle Burgundy’s hot summers and cold winters, Lucia sets out her plan.

Choosing your structural plants for a sunny border

Taking a bed 5m by 2m as an example:

For the back of the border, choose big eye catchers from the - showy plants that keep a good structural shape after flowering and throughout the winter. From the sun lovers , starting at the back of the border I have chosen: Achillea filipendula ‘Parkers Variety’, Panicum virgatum ‘Shenandoah’, Perovskia abrotanoides ‘Little spire’ and Phlox amplifolia. This Phlox is known to be the best to endure drought.

Now we move on to planning the middle and front area of the border. Plants that have good shape and all round interest: Salvia nemerosa ‘Caradonna’, Hemerocallis ‘Sammy Russell’, Sedum telephium ‘Matrona’, Rudbeckia missouriensis, Amsonia orientalis and Aster oblongifolius ‘October Skies’.

The backbone of our border is now complete with special attention paid to the structure and species variety, next we concentrate on colour.

Plants for the ‘in-fillers of the border

For the ‘in-fill’ between our structural plants, choose flowers for a flowing and long flowering period, such as Geranium ‘Rozanne’ (flowers from May until October) and Asclepia tuberosa. And as an extra, I love the Aquilegia; ‘Ruby Port’ is particularly attractive. This plant is a short living perennial and will self seed, dying back after flowering allowing the perennials to take a more prominent position.


To learn more about border design, I recommend the books ‘Designing with Plants’ and ‘Planting Design’ by Piet Oudolf and Noel Kingsbury.

I live in Burgundy at Le Pontot in Fontenille, near Brosses and am able to supply plants of your choosing.  Please do not hesitate to get in touch before April 1 to discuss and make an order for collection at our ‘Dahlia and Perennials Market’ April 18-21.  Do check out our blog and website for further ideas or get in touch directly for ideas for a planting design for a shady border.

Next month: How to realize a border.

©Lucia Latenstein
Hameau de Fontenille
19, Rue du Ponceau
+33(0) 386 18 19 44 +33(0) 6 4015 4793