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The Hot Border

Turning up the heat of summer

 Perhaps the greatest inspiration however comes from Nature herself.

With the summer well underway, how about experimenting with some daring colour and setting your borders alight with flames of fiery reds, golds and oranges. Put your shades on and go wild with the dangerous side of the colour spectrum.

Throwing in lots of colourful plants with garish colours is easy but getting right takes practice. If you’re a beginner to gardening, you can’t fail too easily with the robust, fanned leaves of Phormium ‘Rainbow Queen’ with its striped foliage of red, amber and subtle green. It’s perfect for using as a focal point between other plants which will come and go with the seasons.

Other low maintenance plants include the larger smoke bush, Cotinus coggygria ‘Grace’ with deep burgundy leaves and whispery, soft flowers and the cheerful Spiraea ‘Goldflame’, its new bracts burning through with reds and oranges above gold foliage.

For the more adventurous, try the bold tongues of Cannas, available in a range of delicious fiery colours. Their large leaves act as a wonderful backdrop to more delicate foliage plants like the golden Carex elata ‘Aurea’. One classic favourite is the stunning Rudbeckia ‘Goldsturm’, with works exceedingly well with a few purple splashes like Verbena bonariensis.

Of course, the excitement doesn’t have to end when the summer sun goes down in autumn because then if you’ve planned right, the border changes to show off one more glorious display as the smoke bush shifts into its autumn tints and the Rudbeckia heads dry to a sculptural black.

Mind you, if you’re more into literal fire than visual effects, you can always settle for Dictamnus albus. In hot weather, it’s leaves produce a volatile oil which can be set alight with a match!

Experiment with your hot border and don’t be afraid to mix and match. Try to contrast different foliage shapes and textures as well as colours and you’ll soon be glowing with pride.