Attractive boxwood borders, beautiful lace, and expressive grain bands. For flower gardens, their own, special types of hedges have long been assigned. However, strict plant frames are needed not only for decorative combinations but also for vegetable gardens. Especially if the garden is designed in a conventional style, strict accents need to be introduced, even in the beds. Fences and wattle fences are both boring and inconvenient.
But the plant framework around the bed looks and strict and very organic. And spicy herbs are perfect for creating hedges in an herbal garden.
Small but very expressive borders that can surround any decorative composition belong to living hedges along with tall green walls and landscape fences of lush flowering row shrubs. Their small size in no way changes their character and purpose. Low fences for flower beds and flower gardens are most often associated with boxwood borders, but the choice is not limited to this shrub.
Ornamental foliage and flowering herbaceous perennials, or even colorful annuals, can also be used for borders. The incomparable clump of lycopodium, the touch of mugwort and cuffs, hostas and geraniums, weeping spears, and perennial chrysanthemums – there are many variations. And the spicy herbs are even more powerful. Fragrant, tough, resilient, and easy to cut, they like to grow in tight spaces and are surprising not only for their palette of scents but also for their texture.
It is the pungent herbs that are the best choice for hedges in the vegetable garden. The idea of plant strips in conventional-style flower beds was born, but the trend has long since transcended the garden in the strictest sense. Today, a fenced, cheerful bordered vegetable garden has become one of the interesting design choices in modern trends, as well as in rustic and bright ethnic styles. The transition from traditional gardening to decorative mixed designs, the introduction of flower beds, and the growing popularity of decorative crops in not-so-yielding vegetable gardens have made borders an integral part of garden fashion.
Pungent herbs have many advantages over other plants in the vegetable garden.
- They are hardy and unpretentious.
- Spicy herbs can be satisfied with minimal care.
- These plants combine perfectly with a variety of vegetables and traditional flower bed inhabitants, and they look organic and harmonious in the garden.
- Herbs can bring color and texture to the design of a vegetable garden without being overly extravagant.
- Herbaceous perennials create a dense but well-controlled hedge.
- All pungent herbs are edible and there is no need to worry about accidentally picking a leaf from the hedge to eat with the main crop.
- Plants can be used as a source of additional ingredients for medicinal and tea collections.
- Many herbs repel pests and protect vegetables and herbs from slugs.
Pungent herbs provide an ideal height border for vegetable gardens – low, but firm and dense. The height can be easily controlled by pruning, and the border can be made thicker, wider, and denser.
And most importantly creating such miniature hedges is very easy. All you need to do is choose the right density and don’t forget to shape it.
To create a border of spicy herbs it is necessary to.
- Make a trench around the bed for growing plants. If necessary, improve the soil with organic fertilizer and sprinkle sand or drainage material on the bottom.
- Plant seedlings of herbaceous perennials closer to the classic planting site – every 4.5-8inch (12-20 cm), so that there are at least 5 plants and no more than 8 plants per meter length of the seedbed.
- Fill the planting trench with soil. Lightly compact and water liberally.
- Cover the surface of the soil under the grass with bark or other natural types of mulch.
- Provide drought-resistant irrigation (preferably with regular treatments to keep the soil lightly moistened) during the period before the grass begins to actively develop.
There is no need to wait until the shrub is completely closed. Once the grass grows up and touches the branches of neighboring plants, forming a band, albeit a sparse one, perform the first pruning to limit the height and encourage thickening. In the first year, 2-3 prunings can be made to accelerate growth. Thereafter, prune the border only once a year as needed or after flowering (lavender in spring) to maintain the height, shape, and uniformity of the flower wall.
To make the border faster and more attractive, fertilize 2-3 times in the summer – at the beginning of flowering, in August – to prepare it for the fall (with potassium and phosphorus fertilizer). After that, you can limit yourself to one fertilization in early spring or mulch with organic matter, and only if the flowering is lusher, you can spend more money on fertilization.
If you use mineral fertilizers in your vegetable garden, you can follow your vegetable growing habits and use the same type of fertilizer, apply a standard border fertilizer or not apply it at all. Watering is only necessary when the hedge is young and only in times of drought, but this will not cause any harm to the border.
5 BEST PLANTS FOR BORDERS AND HEDGES AROUND FLOWER BEDS
If you want to find plants that will work as spicy borders in your vegetable garden, you should look for tough, unpretentious, neatly trimmed herbaceous perennials with half-cut shoots. Cutting tolerance is a very important parameter. After all, it is only with the help of pruning that it is possible to maintain the shape, attractiveness, and, most importantly, the density of this hedge. Of course, it is also possible to make spicy ribbons from parsley, mustard, lettuce, basil, annuals. However, if you want a fully functional hedge that only needs to be amended each year, not recreated, then perennials are the way to go.
Let’s take a closer look at the best candidates for creating a beautiful border around your bed.
English lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) globally known as English lavender, is the only lavender species grown in borders in the middle of the country. This perennial semi-shrub has long earned the title of one of the best companions for beautiful flowering accents and is a versatile perennial that is equally effective in hedges and flower beds. Numerous shoots just over 20inch (0.5m) tall form a dense, textured bush that is woody only at the base. The leaves are narrow, super sessile, dense, small, and silvery, giving the entire plant a unique texture.
The inflorescence spike consists of 6-10 spongy flowers in rotation, spaced up to 0.8inch (2cm) apart, which look like a blue glow in the bush and blend beautifully in harmony with the shoots. Lavender exudes a lovely fragrance and is easy to cut; it offers a selection of classic and smaller varieties, with forms limited to 12-16inch (30-40cm) in height. Lavender will do very well in dry, light soil, requiring only spring pruning and watering.
Winter hardy perennial Salvia nemorosa among the favorites, but coping with the task of creating a beautiful border can be a little more modest, but more suitable for medicinal use in the vegetable garden Salvia nemorosa. In particular, unlike Oak Salvia, it is much more controlled and can grow in strict rows. A fascinating plant whose unique texture of gray and silver leaves immediately attracts attention. Semi-woody, fairly strong shoots 10-20inch (25-50cm) tall form elegant semi-shrubs.
The elliptic-lanceolate leaves are velvety and wrinkled to the touch. The branches or spikes have intricate whorls of small pinkish-purple, spongy flowers that harmonize perfectly with the green and add a romantic tenderness to the plant. The conditions around the flower bed are ideal for Salvia nemorosa, preferring permeable, loose and nutrient-rich soil. If pruned and supplemented with extra fertilizer after flowering, Salvia nemorosa will produce equally strong flowers again by fall. And it requires little care, is easy to control, tolerates heavy pruning, and offers a selection of variegated varieties.
Artemisia dracunculus, also known as Tarragon, is one of the most underrated herbs. If you let it grow, it can create stunningly beautiful bushes that look great throughout the active season, with its stunning emerald green color and density. It is most easily self-seeded and spreads uncontrollably, and can be easily controlled by simply cutting and avoiding fruiting. varieties of Artemisia dracunculus offer a choice of medium-growing varieties from about 20inch (0.5m) tall to vigorously growing plants of 40inch (1m) or taller, but the height of the turf is easily controlled.
The narrow, lance-shaped leaves are easily recognized by their fragrance and bright, light color. And the flowers harmonize wonderfully with the densely pubescent branches as if crowning the shoots, with small panicles of lettuce flowers tucked away at the top between the leaves. If allowed to flower, it can cover the whole summer, but it is not the best choice for borders, because the attractiveness of the greenery and the shape of the shrub will suffer as a result.
Artemisia dracunculus does well in any soil except thick ones, grows well in raised beds and its care requires only pruning – preferably several times a season. Once Artemisia dracunculus has grown to 12-16inch (30-40cm) tall, leave shoots about 6-8inch (15-20cm) tall for thickening and spectacular framing.
Origanum vulgare is a great basic spice, also known as Oregano, and a completely inimitable plant that is ornamental in any season: even in winter, its dried flowers enliven the garden. A perennial herb with semi-stolons, it is often described as similar to thyme. But once you have planted Origanum vulgare, you will forget all comparisons forever. The very fragrant, rounded-ovate leaves and dense branches form a matted shrub 12-20inch (30-50cm) in height.
Light pubescence gives the leaves a velvety appearance, further enhancing the vibrant color of the greens and contrasting with the other plants in matte clusters. The inflorescence also harmonizes with the green plants and actually elevates the plants to a new level. The peltate panicles with reddish pedicels and leaflets and pale white mauve florets look like dried flowers, but instead of being massive, they are skeletonized and very smart. Origanum vulgare becomes thicker and more beautiful after pruning and is perfectly controlled. It can grow in compact clumps as well as in groups.
Today’s Origanum vulgare varieties have different shades of foliage, from the mottled ‘Variegata’ to the yellow-green ‘Aureum’. And they can come in many different colors and heights: from the 6inch (15cm) tall variety for rockery gardens and the compact 10-12inch (25-30cm) tall variety for lower borders, to the classic 20inch (0.5m) tall ‘Common’ variety. Other than pruning, they require very little care and can thrive in almost any condition.
Hyssopus officinalis is a popular plant, also known as Hyssop, which can even turn green in winter. It has tetrahedral branches much like twigs. Up to 20inch (50cm) tall, the shrub has lance-shaped, oppositely arranged leaves up to 1.6inch (4cm) long. The flowers of Tumbleweed, with their peculiar spikelets rising from the shrub, seem original due to the curved arching lines.
Its inflorescences form whorls of spongy blue, blue, purple, white, or pink flowers hidden in the axils of the upper leaves. Hyssopus officinalis
Hyssopus blooms from June to early autumn, forming a decorative border for a long time and adding to the garden even after the arrival of cold weather. Easily controlled by pruning, it requires little maintenance.
When choosing plants for the border of your vegetable garden, be sure to consider their frost resistance, durability, and personal preference. In areas that experience harsh winters, it is not a good idea to plant borders that require mulch or plants that can only survive the winter in the snow. The style of the garden and which crops are already used in the design are also important. After all, the border is the most visible part of the bed and it must blend in well with the rest of the design.
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