Renewing the Blue Border

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This winter the border that separates the main lawn from the courtyard lawn has been enlarged and replanted. The narrowness of the steps through the border would often create a bottleneck during the dinner interval and the temporary ramp connecting the two areas was not easy for people in wheelchairs to negotiate. Now, thanks to the generous supporters of the Garden Fund, we have been able to widen the steps and to build a new ramp through the border.

Over the years, some of the plants in the border had become tired and unproductive and bindweed had taken hold in some places, so the occasion of the building works has been used to enlarge and replant the entire bed. Over the winter it was emptied, dug over and fed with manure.

The dominant colour of the flowers in the border was blue, a theme that we decided to continue. In the new planting scheme the main interest in the spring comes from tall alliums, setting the scene for the herbaceous perennials
that follow. The principal plants, threaded through the entire border, are two forms of Salvia; Salvia ‘Caradonna’, with flowers of an inky-blue, and its cousin, Salvia ‘Blauhugel’, with flowers of a softer lavender blue. Their 40cm-tall flower spikes last throughout the summer and are complemented by the rounded domes of Geranium ‘Roseanne’, another long-flowering plant whose blue flowers have a white eye and whose sprawling habit helps mask the manhole covers that are in the border. (Every border in the Glyndebourne garden has more than a reasonable share of manhole covers.)

This trio of hard-working plants is supplemented by other herbaceous perennials, including sea-hollies, agastache and agapanthus. The Russian sage, Perovskia atriplicifolia, will be added through the middle of the border, its silvery-white stems acting as a foil to the intensity of the blue flowers.

Amongst all this, a repertoire of annual plants will ring the changes and, I hope, keep the border looking fresh and vibrant from year to year.

Plants that have been use in the border:


  • Allium ‘Purple Sensation’
  • Allium christophii


  • Salvia ‘Caradonna’
  • Salvia ‘Blauhugel’
  • Salvia patens ‘Cambridge Blue
  • Salvia guaranitica ‘Black and Blue’
  • Agapanthus ‘Black Knight’
  • Eryngium x zabellii
  • Eryngium bourgatii
  • Geranium ‘Roseanne’
  • Aquilegia alpina
  • Agastache ‘Blue Fortune’


  • Cerinthe major purpurescens
  • Linum usitatissimum Common flax
  • Didicus caerulea ‘Blue Lace’
  • Borago officinialis (common borage)
  • Commelina coelestis


  • Ilex crenata ‘Fastigata’
  • Perovskia atriplicifolia
  • Ceanothus ‘Puget Blue’
  • Clematis integrifolia