Behind the Private Gates, Design, In the Garden

Floral Borders that Inspire

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Aaaah, spring or summer (or perhaps winter, depending on where you are…), floral borders are a part of any landscape, or certainly garden! Perhaps you’re first thought is of the well-documented bountiful borders of the English countryside; many so long and deep that nothing else is needed. But these images below should open your eyes and inspire your imagination. They did mine!

Truly, there is nothing more delicious than a “border” in full plumage, with the majority of plantings designed to bloom at about the same time. The Wow! effect is instant and breathtaking; whether it be a wildly cacophonous mix of colors…

or a slightly monochromatic concept (ie. shades of blues, purples, and pink).

Or the “in-betweens” that run the gamut. Very effectively, a specific garden with borders can be introduced to an otherwise open lawn space (most often closer to the house for ease of viewing) formalized here with borders that rely on green clipped hedgings to contain the beds.

A scheme rendered even more dramatic, and effective, when a wooden lattice backdrop is introduced.

Another border style can take advantage of, and play off, an architectural detail (in this case, the half moon window in the recessed portion of the brick wall) to create an effective visual that certainly adds greatly to this walk. And note how the lattice and urn on brick plinth pairing is also used outside this contained border to act as the feature image at the head of another path in the far distance.

Another window rendered more enchanting with a border specifically used to finish off the vignette. How clever is this vine encircling the round window?

Borders also can act as a “frontispiece,” serving a purpose in drawing one’s attention to another horticultural feature or another part of the property.

Oftentimes, we may not realize that we’re looking at “borders.” Here, the formal entrance to an estate has the to-be-expected clipped boxwood, etc. plantings, but my eye goes immediately to the red berberis clipped hedging fronted by iris in the same color tones; with the iris’s sword-like leaves adding gravitas to the scene.

Borders are understandably popular for softening a geometric garden plan; the terrace portion of this image reminds us that pots are a handy means to enhance or enlarge a border (and they can be changed in an instant).

Summer is now! Hope you’ve been inspired to consider a little tweak that you’ve picked up here…

All images credit, Scott Shigley Photography.

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About Bettie Bearden Pardee

Author of Private Newport and Living Newport, garden furniture designer (The Parterre Bench), national lecturer, and entertaining expert. An honoree for the second year on "The Salonniere 100 America's Best Party Hosts", she was also the host and creative producer of "The Presidential Palate: Entertaining at the White House".

8 thoughts on “Floral Borders that Inspire

  1. Ahhh…it is so…fun…to “know what the creator was inspiring!” That piece of statuary beckoning a peek and the “ah-ha” & smile moment…enjoying. franki

  2. So gorgeous and inspiring – and sigh inducing alas for this Zone 9 gardener in southern California. I can never tire of gazing at these lush lovingly tended gardens. Thank you for this gorgeous post! Love from me and my dahlias and succulents 😘

  3. Having a large enough plot of land, plus the access to someone with fabulous design ability, and the resources to follow up on it with planting and maintenance, make for utterly amazing, wonderful, enchanting garden spaces! Borders are delicious!!!!

  4. Bettie, thank you for this post of beautiful borders! It made me swoon with desire to be able to have something so lush. This summer in San Antonio, Texas we are in a drought and nonstop 100* days so no lushness here! Just keeping my garden alive is a daily effort, but worth it. Again, thanks for the gorgeous photos to look at as I hide inside during the heat of the afternoons!

  5. What incredible gardens! Can you offer where this gorgeous estate is located?

  6. Beautiful gardens but to stay neat and beautiful it is a full time gardeners job to keep plants deadhead and tidy. Love the architecture and statues in garden. I have several placed thru out my garden. Keep posting beautiful gardens.

  7. Dear Bettie, I am awestruck by gardening and the lifelong creativity it fuels. These are such lovely examples of how much passion can be gathered, contained and enjoyed in outdoor spaces. What a pleasure it was to view your home tour and personal gardens on (YouTube) Homeworthy . Thank you!!! Clearly, the art of authentic and gracious hosting has been achieved in the architecture and furnishings of your home, they certainly mirror your sweet personality. I believe the kitchen armoire and dinning nook stole my heart the most. (And the chair closets!) It’s personality that makes our homes personal. Yours is beautiful, elevated and yet most approachable. When you feel “welcomed with a hug” even it a virtual tour… well, that just says a lot. Most inspired.🤍Subscribing to the blog and Following @privatenewport now. Although my gardens are on a much smaller, simpler scale… the joy of gardens and gardening has thankfully remained universal. I’m currently exploring my passion for lavender and probably won’t stop until my property looks like a little Provence in Maine. Perhaps one day, my small farm will be worthy of a tour. Smiles, Kathleen

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