Choose the best one for your yard and see how to plant for summer blooms
Rob D. Brodman
Each of these three borders will thrive in full sun (only the abutilon and hydrangea require afternoon shade).
Border 1: cool perennials
A new twist on the pink theme, a border that pairs pink-flowered plants with subtle splashes of gray, green, and maroon foliage is more sophisticated than sweet.
This triangular planting (12 feet long at the front) is a lively focal point of a backyard garden in San Francisco; it was designed for viewing from picture windows at the back of the house as well as from a raised deck at the rear of the garden.
Bark mulch covers the soil between plants; Trex benderboard finishes the front edge.
Rob D. Brodman
Many herbs and vegetables have especially colorful foliage that look great with flowers and ornamental grasses. In this 8-foot-wide planting, lime green and purple basils determine the color scheme.
We added red-flowered cuphea, blue-flowered salvias, a lime green ornamental grass, a bright red edible pepper, a purple eggplant, and an ornamental pepper with purplish black foliage and berries that change from deep purple to red.
Use flowers of yellow, orange, and red to play off bold foliage in shades of green.
A. Ornamental pepper ( Capsicum annuum 'Black Pearl'; 4 inch)
B. 'Mrs. Burns' lemon basil (4 inch)
C. 'Dark Opal' basil (4 inch)
D. Salvia ( S. longispicata x farinacea 'Mystic Spires Blue'; 4 inch)
E. Green sedge ( Carex dipsacea; 4 inch)
F. 'Siam Queen' Thai basil (4 inch)
G. 'Genovese' basil (4 inch)
H.Cuphea llavea 'Flamenco Rumba' (4 inch)
I. Red verbena (4 inch)
J. 'Cayenne' pepper (4 inch)
K. 'Listada de Gandia' Italian eggplant (4 inch)
L. Rose (existing)
Rob D. Brodman
You don't have to visit the tropics to enjoy jungly foliage and flowers. Just choose the right plants to create a tropical border anywhere in the West.
For this 9- by 5½-foot planting, landscape designer Karen Donnelly combined coral, fiery orange, red, and yellow flowers with lime green and deep green tropical foliage.
A pot filled with elephant's ear and potato vine adds height and structure to the planting. In cold-winter areas, build the border for just a season, then start over next year. Or move the most valuable plants indoors for winter. You can also substitute hardy look-alikes, such as Japanese banana and honey bush, for true tropicals.
Design: Karen Donnelly, Redwood City, CA (650/224-3476)
A. New Zealand flax ( Phormium tenax; existing)
B. Blood flower ( Asclepias curassavica 'Silky Deep Red'; 4 inch)
C. Lily turf ( Liriope muscari 'Majestic'; 1 gal.)
D. Celosia mix (sixpack)
E. 'Frau Louise Mayer' dahlia (1 gal.)
F. 'Park Record' semicactus dahlia (1 gal.)
G. Red and yellow cannas (existing)
H. 'Kelvin Floodlight' dahlia (1 gal.)
I. Mondo grass ( Ophiopogon japonicus; 4 inch)
J. 'Profusion Apricot' zinnia (sixpack)
K. Giant bird of paradise ( Strelitzia nicolai; 5 gal.)
L. 'Brilliant' hibiscus ( Hibiscus rosa-sinensis 'Brilliant'; 5 gal.)
M. Sweet potato vine ( Ipomoea batatas 'Marguerite'; 4 inch; in pot)
N. Ruffled taro ( Colocasia esculenta 'Ruffles'; 1 gal.; in pot)
O. 'Kanga Red' kangaroo paw (1 gal.)