Low Border Gardens
COLOR YOU CAN TUCK IN Low gardens are found alongside walkways and paths, under or along fences, or at the beginning edge of a bigger and taller garden. They also work as small pocket gardens tucked beside a porch or some nearby shrubs. These perennials can be nipped and tucked throughout the yard to add a spot of easy-care color here and there.
HOW HIGH IS LOW? Generally, we consider a low-growing perennial to be a creeper or a trailing perennial, perhaps one that only reaches 12 inches when mature. Some of the low growers will pop some blooms a little higher, but usually this is color that gathers around your ankles and shins. In most cases, low-growing color needs full sun or sufficient access to morning and evening light.
- Campanulas are wonderful trailing perennials with a long bloom life. They drape well over rocks and crevices, or down slopes or even curbsides.
- Dianthus are wonderful little power bloomers that produce flowers in waves throughout the season. When massed together, they have a nice dusky green or blue-green carpet quality to them.
- Platycodon, or balloon flowers, are a sentimental favorite. They add a novel interest to the low garden.
- Groundcover sedums, or stonecrop, are tough and water-tight—good for very hot or very dry areas where other plants scrabble to exist. Mostly purchased for their textures and foliage, they will also bloom in bright colors.
- Hardy geraniums, or cranesbill, would be evergreen, if it were not for the snow. They perk up very quickly once the snow melts, and they form a lovely loose hedge when planted en masse. A heavy profusion of flowers appears above the foliage.
- Veronicas are the candlesticks of the low garden, with a strong vertical presence despite their short stature. Plant a group of them for your own Candlestick Park.
- Creeping Phlox is another extremely low, extremely floriferous perennial that blooms very early in the season.