Armidale gardening: Beauty for your borders

Craspedia variabilis: Known as Billy Buttons, this member of the daisy family has narrow, silvery leaves.
Craspedia variabilis: Known as Billy Buttons, this member of the daisy family has narrow, silvery leaves.

Suitable plants growing on the borders of garden beds will outline the shape of beds, delineate paths and provide a boundary between beds and lawns. Usually border plants are a metre or less in height.

Probably the most widely used plants for borders are the exotic box (buxus) and mondo grass. Neither variety is known for their flowering capabilities.

Perhaps we could think “outside the square” and consider using native plants for this landscaping feature. A native border may be a monoculture using one species or a more diverse using a few different varieties. With careful species selection, a diverse border will reward you with flowers all year.

The varieties listed will survive and thrive in local gardens and will bring a range of colours to your planted border.

Grevillea “Amethyst” is a beautiful small hybrid that reaches the required border height of one metre. “Amethyst” has short narrow leaves and stunning mauve, spidery-like flower clusters in spring and early summer. Blooms cover the plants at this time. This candidate for border planting is hardy and free-flowering. The occasional tip pruning is appreciated.

Billy Buttons makes an ideal border plant with its spreading growth habit, silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers.

Chorizema cordatum, heart-leaf flame pea, is a native of Western Australia. The leaves are heart-shaped with leathery texture and wavy margins. Flowers are orange, pea-shaped, carried in sprays and appear in the warmer months.

As you walk along your border, every so often, pinch out the tip of each stem. The heart-leaf flame pea will reward you with dense foliage and a massed floral display during the flowering period.

Melaleuca thymifolia, thyme-leaf honey-myrtle, is a small, dense, mounded shrub with small, blue-green leaves that have a spicy fragrance when crushed. Flowers are carried in showy clusters. The clusters have a claw-like appearance. The usual form has eye-catching purple flowers but there are variations in flower colour. “Pink Lace” and “White Lace” are two cultivars that are available. Flowering occurs over long periods with a peak in summer.

Melaleuca thymifolia is a hardy, free-flowering shrub that will light up borders in the garden and that appreciates the occasional tip pruning.

Craspedia variabilis, Billy Buttons, is a member of the daisy family. This spreading perennial has narrow, silvery leaves. Individual plants have a spread of at least 50 centimetres. The flowers are held in yellow spheres on 60 centimetre stems. In spring and summer, plants produce numerous flower heads. Plants are invigorated if the spent flower heads are removed. The spheres have a long vase life and could be used in floral arrangements.

Billy Buttons makes an ideal border plant with its spreading growth habit, silvery foliage and bright yellow flowers.

Prostanthera cuneata, the Alpine mint bush, is a dense shrub reaching the suggested height of one metre. The wedge-shaped leaves are small, shiny and when crushed have a pleasant minty fragrance. The white flowers have the typical mint bush trumpet-shaped blooms that have a flowering period that extends from November to April.

When grown in a border, the foliage perfume is released as you brush past the plants.

These are a few ideas to enliven garden borders with hardy native plants.